Fortress of Louisbourg's admin offices looking for new digs in town
Parks Canada wants to move its administration offices for the Fortress of Louisbourg into the town of Louisbourg from their current home in a wooded area.
The government agency has been in negotiations with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality for the past year to purchase Louisbourg's town hall, which is currently being used as a police station and municipal building.
It's located next to the fire station, restaurants, motels and near the Louisbourg Playhouse theatre.
Administration offices are currently located a few kilometres from the fortress. Many of the buildings in the compound are more than 60 years old.
Connecting with the community
"It's really important for Parks Canada to have that presence in downtown Louisbourg ... as well for visitors to see that presence as they go through the modern town," said Maria O'Hearn, external relations manager for Parks Canada's Cape Breton Field Unit.
"I think it will tighten the connection with the community of Louisbourg."
Offices would include human resources, finance, external relations and field unit superintendent, among others.
"There are a number of steps that need to be taken so we're looking at things like the cost, the budget, the building condition, assessment values, those sorts of things," she said.
"We're talking about taking a number of buildings here, reducing that footprint, rationalizing our operation. I think in terms of dollars that's a good thing."
Plenty to discuss
As far as negotiations go, O'Hearn said there are still a number of issues to deal with.
"The purchase price of the building would be dependent upon the assessment value," she said. "We'd be looking to ... retrofit the building to our needs so there would be a cost to that, as well."
Shannon Kerr, a spokesperson for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said talks are ongoing.
"We continue to have discussions on the town hall in Louisbourg and when we get to that point in the process, the next step will be to bring it to council for a deliberation."
O'Hearn said it's not yet known when a decision will be made.
"We certainly would love to be in there in 2018 but it depends on all those factors," she said.