Un­der­stand­ing the plan

Res­i­dents learn more about project to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Syd­ney

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

Change is com­ing for the Syd­ney Wa­ter­front Dis­trict and res­i­dents had an op­por­tu­nity to learn more about the down­town re­vi­tal­iza­tion project on Satur­day.

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Syd­ney Wa­ter­front Dis­trict and the Na­tional Trust for Canada hosted an open house for res­i­dents, held on the bot­tom floor of the for­mer Smart Shop Place, oth­er­wise known as the for­mer Cape Bre­ton Fudge Shop, on Prince Street in Syd­ney.

Res­i­dents learned more about plans to re­vi­tal­ize the down­town Syd­ney area and also had a chance to voice their opin­ions on what they would like to see hap­pen to im­prove the down­town core.

The event ran through­out the af­ter­noon from 1-4 p.m. with a steady flow of res­i­dents vis­it­ing the lo­ca­tion and meet­ing with mem­bers and staff of the Syd­ney Wa­ter­front Dis­trict, the CBRM, and the Na­tional Trust of Canada.

Phil Irons has been liv­ing in the Syd­ney com­mu­nity for over 40 years and at­tended the open house. He likes the idea of re­de­vel­op­ment for the down­town core.

“Look­ing at the Ek­istics plans, I think it’s a good idea,” said Irons. “I think, speak­ing with coun­cilor (El­don) Mac­Don­ald, one of the things that needs to be done in re­gards to the Ek­istics plan is that it needs to be made public in the sense of be­ing pub­lished on­line, so peo­ple can look at it.

“I was look­ing at the 100page plus doc­u­ment here, which is very good, but I don’t have the time to sit down and read it here and that’s the only copy avail­able, so if they put it on­line, it al­lows ev­ery­one to see what’s go­ing on.”

Last week, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity en­dorsed in prin­ci­pal a plan from Ek­istics + De­sign to re­vi­tal­ize the down­town core which calls for $10.5 mil­lion in in­vest­ments for the area. The $10.5-mil­lion fig­ure will not in­clude the cost of any re­quired land ac­qui­si­tions but would in­clude $7.5 mil­lion to re­design Char­lotte Street from Dorch­ester to Townsend Street. It also out­lines about $973,00 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 me­ters.

Bradley Mur­phy, the down­town re­gen­er­a­tion co-or­di­na­tor, be­lieves it’s im­por­tant to re­de­velop the down­town com­mu­nity.

“It’s more of a move­ment — it’s just hap­pen­ing now,” said Mur­phy. “I think it’s not that now is the ideal time, to­mor­row or next year you could do it, it’s just hap­pen­ing now, peo­ple are look­ing for it and there tun­ing into it — It’s about mak­ing pos­i­tive change and hav­ing more peo­ple help that move­ment.”

Iron thinks the re­de­vel­op­ment of the down­town core will draw more busi­ness to the Char­lotte Street area.

“I think if this had been done 40 or 50 years ago, the Mayflower Mall wouldn’t ex­ist be­cause there wouldn’t be a need for it,” said Iron. “It’s not go­ing to hap­pen to­mor­row, I ac­cept that, it’s prob­a­bly not go­ing to hap­pen within the next five years, maybe 10 years, I would ex­pect it to be 15 years for sure, but the re­de­vel­op­ment is some­thing that has to be done.”

Mur­phy said dur­ing the open house he did re­ceive a lot of feed­back from those who at­tended, some­thing he was happy to see.

“There has been a lot of peo­ple ex­press­ing their opin­ions on things they would like to see changed and things they would like to see hap­pen — there is pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive feed­back,” he said. “We’re try­ing to en­cour­age pos­i­tive think­ing, not that neg­a­tive feed­back isn’t im­por­tant, but we’re try­ing to look at things we can build on that are al­ready good in­stead of fo­cus­ing on things that are bad.”

Irons fully sup­ports the project and hopes the com­mu­nity will sup­port it as well.

“If I was able to stand up in front of coun­cil and say I en­cour­age you to get on with this project, I would do so,” said Irons. “As a cit­i­zen, I will just sit back and wait and see what hap­pens.”

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Phil Irons of Syd­ney is shown sign­ing a com­ment board dur­ing an open house for the re­gen­er­a­tion of down­town Syd­ney on Satur­day. Res­i­dents learned more in­for­ma­tion and had an op­por­tu­nity to voice their opin­ions on plans to re­vi­tal­ize the down­town core.

Mur­phy

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