ANTIGONISH: Representatives with the Municipality of the County of Antigonish are looking to carry out some upgrades to the local courthouse.
During council’s regular monthly meeting on September 8, Warden Owen McCarron indicated senior staff accepted a tender from Bird Construction for over $74,000 on the completion of concrete work to the historic courthouse.
“So that’s going to be the first phase of the renovation project at the courthouse,” he said. “That’s going to detail concrete work in the entryway, and additional things of that nature to make it [more] accessible.”
The county previously set aside approximately $175,000 in this year’s budget for the repairs.
Hopefully, McCarron suggested the work will get started within the next few weeks and would be wrapped up by the end of fall.
Part of the agreement the municipality has with the Province of Nova Scotia surrounds the province chipping-in for capitol repairs to the Court Street facility.
McCarron said council will be using a portion of their funding from the provincial government to put towards laying the concrete.
The county is also adopting an arranged approach towards completing the actual renovations, meaning the vital and necessary upgrades are made first.
In July 2019, councillors approved a motion to decline proposals for the purchase of the 165-year-old designated national historic site and retained ownership in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) the municipality issued earlier in the year.
The courthouse’s RFP was subject to a restriction on the demolition of the building and/or significant alteration to the exterior façade, or building footprint.
In 2016, the municipality sold the 70-year-old jail, which is attached to the courthouse, to Pat Smith, an Antigonish-based property developer, who turned the former 17-unit jail into apartments and rebranding it as “The Big House.”
The lease between the municipality and the provincial Justice Department – with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court serving as tenant for the courthouse – expires in 2023.