Council approves capital funding for new Cultural Hub

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PICTOU — Town Council has tentatively approved its share of funding for a Cultural Hub at its regular meeting on Monday.

The recommendation to approve came at its monthly committee meeting on Sept. 9 after hearing a joint presentation by chief librarian Eric Stackhouse on behalf of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library (PARL) and deCoste Performing Arts Centre’s executive director, Troy Greencorn.

“This is a legacy project for our community,” said Coun. Dan Currie, who represents council on the PARL board. “I think it’s an amazing project that will change our town and Pictou West for years to come.”

Stackhouse outlined the three-year process undertaken by the working committee to devise a business plan for its cultural hub concept. The new building will be attached to the existing deCoste centre so that the library and entertainment centre can utilitize each other’s commom areas, staff and equipment.

“We saw the possibilities and we all worked together,” he said. “We believe the project is absolutely doable.”

The working committee includes Currie, Coun. Malcolm Houser, Mayor Jim Ryan and town CAO Dan Troke, as well as councillors for the Municipality of Pictou County Debi Wadden and Larry Turner and county CAO Brian Cullen.

Construction would start next year, pending funding approval from all sources.

Greencorn broke down the funding sources for the $7-million project that will include $2.7 million each from federal and provincial sources, plus $500,000 from ACOA, as well as $550,000 in municipal funding.

There are also $200,000 sums from a major donor and a corporate donor to go with a community campaign.

Stackhouse drew on the current Antigonish Library’s success story as a gathering place and a hub of activity that he said will occur on a different scale in Pictou. He envisions traffic being nearly triple what it is at the current Pictou library.

Greencorn said the deCoste centre is overdue for upgrades that will include more storage and more efficient heating and cooling of the centre that can coincide with the new construction.

“This facility will empower both the library and the deCoste to do more and do it better,” he said. “There is a need and an opportunity to create a facility for the next 40 years.”