Regenerating Sydney on agenda
Open house will let residents give feedback on what they want in community
Change is ahead for the Sydney Waterfront District and on Saturday residents will have a chance to learn what could be done and voice their opinions on what they would like to have in a revitalized community.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Sydney Waterfront District Association and the National Trust for Canada are joining together to host an open house this Saturday at 15 Prince St., bottom floor of the former Smart Shop Place (former Cape Breton Fudge Shop), from 1-4 p.m.
“It is to let people know that the project is underway and what the broad goals of the project will be,” says Rick McCready, senior planner for the CBRM. “The project is really starting. This open house is kind of the project launch and what’s happening is the Sydney Waterfront District Association and the CBRM and the National Trust for Canada, which is a national heritage organization based in Ottawa, we’re partnering on this project and it’s basically a little more than a two-year project and it’s really just getting started.”
A staff person will look after the project and was just hired to do the job, according to Deputy Mayor Eldon MacDonald.
“So it’s the first time that we’ve actually had someone wholly hired by contract to work on the redevelopment of the Sydney waterfront district so that’s exciting for us, and to hopefully realize some opportunities there,” said MacDonald.
Those who attend the open house will have a chance to meet him, as well as members and staff of the Sydney Waterfront District Association, the CBRM and the National Trust for Canada.
Last week, CBRM council endorsed in principle a plan from Ekistics Plan + Design to revitalize the downtown core that calls for $10.5 million in investments for the area. The $10.5-million figure wouldn’t include the cost of any required land acquisitions but would include just over $7.5 million to redesign Charlotte Street from Dorchester to Townsend Street. It also outlines about $973,000 for parking lot enhancements at the Capri Lounge, $585,000 for two-way street conversions and intersections, almost $744,000 for George Street linear parks, $327,000 for signage and wayfinding, $285,000 for a façade program and just over $100,000 to install modern parking metres.
McCready says the project may include working with individual building owners on ideas for what they can do with their buildings.
“We have a lot of second and third floor space that’s just empty, just being used for storage and obviously just trying to fill the empty storefronts will be part of this,” said McCready. “That’s why it’s really a partnership — it’s not just about rebuilding the street or preserving heritage buildings, it’s very broad. It’s all aspects of trying to revitalize the downtown.
“It’s also to hear about people’s ideas about what they would like to see in the downtown.”