The Access Nova Scotia building on Walker Street no longer has the space that is required for parking and driver testing, says local MLA Lenore Zann. FILE PHOTO
TRURO - Relocating several government offices into one Access Nova Scotia building will provide both efficiency and cost savings, Truro Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann says.
"They need to grow, they want to be able to put all three together," Zann said, of the pending relocation of the Land Registry, Department of Motor Vehicle and Landlord and Tenancy offices from downtown Truro to a site in Truro Heights.
"It will be better for the employees, it will be better for the public, for the taxpayers to have everything all under one new roof," she said.
Not everyone agrees, however, as Truro Mayor Bill Mills and Chamber of Commerce president Don Hay have both spoken out against the move, saying it takes more services away from the downtown core.
But with $25,000 in savings per year anticipated in rental costs by bringing the three offices under one roof, Zann sees the move as being financially responsible while also meeting the growing needs of the services involved.
The existing landlord and others in the downtown area were invited to bid on the new multi-faceted building, Zann said, but the winning tender was "the best one."
That went to Parson's Investments Ltd., which is to construct a 6,790 square foot building that the province will lease beginning in December 2013 for $26.35 per square foot.
Both leases have been extended to expire next November so there will be no penalties involved.
"They own that land out there and they offered to build a beautiful big new building," Zann said, of Parson's Investments.
"There's more space for parking, there's more space for the driver testing, which is important of course for the DMV, and apparently the majority of the clients that come to both places actually have cars."
The land registry office is currently located on the Esplanade, while the existing Access Nova Scotia building is one Walker Street.
The Walker Street building was constructed about seven years ago to meet the needs for Access Nova Scotia services, but Zann said that is no longer the case and more space is required, especially for driver testing and parking.
The new building will be about four kilometres away.
Hay has also expressed concerns that the new building will be harder to access for people who don't drive.
To that end, Zann said two transportation services in the area should help ease that burden.
For people with disabilities, she said, the Disabled Consumers Society of Colchester operates ABLE Transit, which charges $1.75 each way from downtown Truro to the new location.
As well, she said, Colchester Cooperative Transportation Ltd., now operates a bus service in the Truro area and charges $4 to travel from downtown to the new site, $6 for up to 10 kilometres and $8 for up to 15 kilometres.