Renovations ordered for historic courthouse

ANTIGONISH: The local courthouse is getting a facelift.

During the regular meeting of council for the Municipality of the County of Antigonish on March 9, councillors voted to issue a tender for repairs to the Antigonish Courthouse.

Deputy Warden Hughie Stewart said a number of repairs are needed, including new steps leading to the entrance, new doors, windows, and siding.

“We are doing the courthouse all over but this is what they’re working on right now and it’s going to take a little time because it is in use,” said Stewart. “It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished. We don’t have a time limit on the finishing but it’s not going to be that long.”

When asked for a ballpark figure for the cost of the work, Stewart said it is in the vicinity of $250,000. Part of the agreement the county has with the province includes the province chipping in for capitol repairs.

In July of last year, after the municipality issued a call for proposals from parties interested in purchasing the courthouse, council members voted to accept amendments to the lease between the province and the county for the courthouse.

Warden Owen McCarron said the provincial government is increasing the rent it pays the county for the use of the building. The province also offered an allotment of money earmarked for necessary capital improvements for the courthouse.

In June of last year, the Antigonish Barrister’s Society made a presentation to council asking that the facility remain in use, as it is the only courthouse in the county capable of hosting a jury trial. The society also spoke with the province’s attorney general.

There are about three years remaining on the lease for the building.