New Glasgow sees potential as businesses move

Adam MacInnis
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CAO still sees value in vacant buildings throughout town

Editor’s note: This story is related to the “On the move” story in Saturday’s edition of The News on businesses moving from New Glasgow to the Albion Power Centre.

The John Brother MacDonald Stadium is one of the vacant buildings in New Glasgow that the town owns. CAO Lisa MacDonald said they have to remove some of the equipment from inside the building before they can look at repurposing it. 

NEW GLASGOW – It’s true there have been a lot of vacant buildings that have crept up in New Glasgow, from the empty Co-op building, to the mostly unused former Central building and former Home Hardware building.

But if you ask New Glasgow CAO Lisa MacDonald if that concerns her, she’ll say no.

“I think it’s a transition point,” she said. “I think there’s still obviously value in some of those buildings.”

While the town would love to see those buildings bustling with activity, they understand that it takes time for buildings of that type to find the right tenant or buyer.

She said the main thing is to keep the buildings maintained. While the town has little control over private properties, she said the town does their best to make sure that the infrastructure as far as quality drinking water, roads and other factors are well maintained. She believes the services they provide such a strong police force also are significant factor.

“We’re well positioned with our infrastructure and we think that makes really good business sense,” she said.

She said they also like to keep things in perspective. While several large businesses have left New Glasgow, a number of those have relocated in the Albion Power Centre. While it’s not within their town boundaries, they see it as a positive because it’s business in the region, which helps to attract other businesses.

“We would like people in Pictou County to stay and shop in Pictou County,” she said.

MacDonald is quick to admit that the way people shop today is significantly different than it was in the past, but she believes that by watching those trends, businesses can stay ahead of those. Examples would be downtown buildings taking advantage of being able to sell their product online or simply adding more awnings to downtown business fronts and improving walkability.

While most of the buildings are out of the town’s control, the John Brother MacDonald Stadium is one that they do own.

MacDonald said at this point they have to get some of the equipment out of it, most of which is still in good condition.

“Everything in there would have a useful life in another location,” she said.

There’s flooring, glass, the plant room and the Zamboni.

Once they get the bulk of that out, they’ll look at repurposing the building.

“It would probably lend itself well for some type of residential or senior development,” she said.

She said there’s been no expression of interest from the council to pursue purchasing the former YMCA building which is located near the John Brother MacDonald Stadium, but if there was an opportunity for the two properties to be packaged together for some sort of arrangement, she said they might consider it.

Overall, she believes the town is still in a strong position for attracting and keeping businesses.


Related story:

Retail landscape looking a bit different in last couple of years

On Twitter: @NGNewsAdam

Organizations: Albion Power Centre, YMCA

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Pictou County

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Recent comments

  • KidOnABike
    January 03, 2014 - 14:26

    The rink or another empty vacant building should be turned into an indoor bike/skatepark for winter months and might actually attract people from away to bike or skateboard in the county. There's lots of successful indoor parks it's just a matter of charging a fee to cover maintenance and the cost to keep the building open. The recently redone skatepark is beginner level as well as Trentons skatepark. It would be nice to see more local talent come out of the county for something other than hockey. Kids can't progress without giving them a challenge to overcome and bikers can't build up the dirt jumps in new glasgow bigger because the town thinks people will get hurt while there is a sign that says use at your own risk. If you want less kids and teenagers staying out of trouble then it's a great way to do that, it keeps them off the streets and it's close to the hospital if anyone gets injured. New Glasgow has potential and is slowly getting there but it needs more employment opportunities for younger people and this would give a few people jobs if it ever happened.

  • Craig
    December 30, 2013 - 12:25

    The stadium would make a great greenhouse. Imagine the employment.CAO,CEO,CFO,assistants for the CAO,CEO,CFO,assistants for the assistants and so on. Also,a PR person,advertising person,of course with assistants and assistants of assistants.After that we would have to bring in some temporary foreign workers to do the actual work. Flourish

  • alex
    December 30, 2013 - 08:30

    only my opinion, but I would be worried if I lived in New Glasgow- when tax paying businesses leave, the infrastructure does not go with them, it stays, still needs repairs, roads need to be maintained, and empty buildings don't bring a lot of taxes- have the owners tear them down instead of leaving them behind if they don't sell in a year- I hope I am wrong but I think I see higher taxes in 2014 for NG property owners- who will be next to leave for the power center? a bank? Cineplex? maybe the post office or the News?- Its way overdue for amalgamation- wait- lets study that...again....

  • Townie
    December 30, 2013 - 08:27

    Seeing a business move several kilos for expansion reasons is not a bad thing. New Glasgow and area have much more than similar towns like Truro and Antigonish. As long as business stays in Pictou County, we all benefit.

  • watchdog
    December 30, 2013 - 06:10

    Maybe Ms. MacDonald should take on the job of repurposing the Titanic for a day cruise ship on the East River.

  • Basic Fax
    December 30, 2013 - 05:48

    "New Glasgow not concerned about businesses moving" ... because it plans to be in the driver's seat after amalgamation!

  • New glasgow resident
    December 30, 2013 - 04:55

    What about that awesome concrete floor that skaters would love to use all year for inline and roller skating. Among alother activities that could be done in there that are not being offered or allowed in other buildings such as the wellness center. The jbs is the perfect spot for it but the residents are are not being allowed to take advantage of it. Such a shame for the town and people that could be using it. But residence dont seem to have a say in the matter.