Exploring the old, getting ready for new

Community Featured

PICTOU — A building shrouded in mystery that sits in plain sight became the centre of attention in downtown Pictou last weekend when the doors to the former post office were opened for the first time in years for the public to take a look.

Having been vacant for a number of years after the post office closed, with parts renovated by those who bought it after the post office moved, the building had not been touched in a number of years and had become a nesting roost for pigeons who made their way in and out of holes and broken windows.

Two years ago as he was purchasing a car from an online auction and buy and sell website, David Elliott, who works in property maintenance at Heathrow Airport in England, saw the ad for the large stone building on the same profile he purchased the car from. Elliott decided to visit the property at Christmas time and ended up buying it.

“I want to make the top floor a flat for me and my family,” he said.

The second floor Elliott is hoping to turn into rental rooms, like AirBnB as they are split up into rooms that would suit this already. The main floor is something that Elliott has loose plans for but nothing definite yet. Although he is taking suggestions for it, he mentioned that space would suit having something like a community hall there. The basement had been redone by the previous owner and is in better shape than the rest of the building and Elliott added that he would love to have someone put a pub or restaurant on that floor. He noted that this isn’t something that he would do himself but would rather just rent out space for it.

Elliott realized that opening the doors for the community to tour the old building might be unconventional, however, he was more than pleased to do so as a sort of thank you for the warm welcome that he said he has received from the community.

“This isn’t my town, this is the Pictonian’s town; it’s just that I wanted to give back,” he said. Laughing, he added that he really only thought that five or 10 people would stop by but as of noon, the traffic of people filtering in and out had been steady and showed no sign of slowing.

With the building being cleaned over the next couple of months, Elliott is hoping to return periodically to do work and have the roof fixed within the next two years. As he is still working in England, he will be returning occasionally to fix up the building until he retires in a number of years, in which time he is planning on spending more time in the area.