City Council has confirmed its approval to sell the former Pictou Academy to shipyard owner CME Inc.
His decision was made at a special council meeting on August 2 and allows the company to proceed with a site plan to convert the school building into a residence for employees.
Council members passed the motion after it was tabled at a special meeting following an appeal hearing on July 18.
Mayor Jim Ryan said he recognized nearby residents’ uncertainties about the project and people’s attachment to the old school, but weighed them against the project’s benefits to the city.
“It has the potential to welcome new people into the community,” he said.
Council tabled the motion previously so they could get more information on the site plan and receive approval from the Chignecto-Central Regional Center for Education (CCRCE) in light of the proximity of the future residence. with the current home of Pictou Academy.
Ryan said he consulted with CCRCE Superintendent Gary Adams, who he said expressed support for the project.
“I’m happy with what I heard,” the adviser said. Dan Currie said as he moved to accept the proposal.
The decision also follows answers to a series of questions that lead planner Roland Burek shared with the council.
Burek recited the answers provided by Daniel Russell on behalf of the company.
Burek said the project is a good use of the building and addresses the need for affordable housing in the city and gives employees a place to live in Pictou and eventually relocate to the city.
He relayed Russell’s assertion regarding the construction schedule that there is no reason to wait.
The design of the renovated building is expected to complement the neighboring school building.
In response to advice. Nadine LeBlanc’s suggestion that council’s choices are to sell the building or demolish it, Ryan said: “It’s getting closer and closer to that option.”
City Manager Kyle Slaunwhite also updated council on numbers indicating a 2% vacancy in Pictou County.
Meanwhile, council passed first reading of a development agreement to convert the former golf club to residential use at its special meeting.
Burek said the land will have 72 semi-detached units in 36 two-unit buildings.
The deal would require a public hearing before second reading at a regular or special council meeting.
There is not enough time for public notice to schedule the hearing and decide whether or not to approve the deal before the next regular council meeting on August 15. The actual scenario is a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on September 6 in the council chambers.
Council has decided on a special meeting immediately following the hearing and prior to the council committee meeting.