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.
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