Easier to go ‘green’ with a brand new library building, Colchester Mayor says

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO – A newly constructed library building could offer heating, lighting and other modern advantages that might not be available by refurbishing the former Normal College, Colchester County’s mayor says.

Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor

“I guess the more I think of it too, I think a newer building would serve us well, ” Mayor Bob Taylor said, of his revised preference regarding the site of new regional library in Truro.

“It’s been pretty well proven over the years and, unless there is a lot of nostalgic value to a building or whatever, you are better to go new and put new things in. You’ve got to make your buildings green today … and it’s harder with an older building there’s no doubt about it.”

While Taylor said he had previously “been an advocate” along with Truro Mayor Bill Mills that the former Normal College would make a preferred site for the library, the consensus of the county committee, which includes two other councillors, is that a new building would be a better investment.

Mills expressed frustration during a town council meeting Monday over the change in the county’s position, given the length of time it is taking to reach consensus on replacing the existing library, which has been in service since 1968.

“I thought we were making headway but, here we go again,” Mills was quoted as saying, during the meeting.

His sentiment was echoed by town councilor Raymond Tynes.

“It seems every time we get closer, we go three steps back,” Tynes said.

No actual cost has been attached to constructing a new library because the size has yet to be determined.

Area contractor Leo Rovers of L&R Construction said in a Truro Daily News article last March that he could renovate the 132-year-old Normal College, which is owned by the town, for a cost of $6.5 million spread over 20 years.

“I have all the faith in the world with Leo Rovers and L & R Construction of doing the job over there but, I guess when you look at the end of the day, the operational costs and so on, I think we better look at a new one,” Taylor said. “So I guess that’s where I am.”

Given the degree of green technology available for new construction, from a heating and natural light perspective, and the difference in operational and maintenance costs between a new building and one as old as the Normal College, Taylor said the money would be better spend with a new structure.

“It’s created a lot of discussion lately … and if you asked the public, I think they would be split on it,” he said. “But that’s where I’m leaning now for sure.”


Organizations: Normal College

Geographic location: Truro

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Recent comments

  • Homer Simpson
    January 09, 2013 - 22:27

    Bill Mills is frustrated as well Raymond Tynes, yet both probably have not studied the actual requirements for space ( sq ft.) for a new library. These representatives are to spend the public tax moneys wisely however have a narrow vantage point of what they think are the options. Look where the renovations of the old town hall ended? Investigation and study in this case should make the decision for us of the available options and then determined by logic. Put your emotions aside gentlemen and instead of complaining about someone asking a sound question. You have a present library that is close to 50 years old and inadequate. This brings to mind questions of how long will this renovation be good for? Will its life expectency be shorter because of the already aged building? I believe that as well is a sound question yet by your agenda that would be two steps back.

  • Julia Fielding
    January 09, 2013 - 20:34

    I agree with those who think a new building would be more cost effective and "greener". Of all the buildings to try and save, the normal college is beyond restoration. The town has taken down buildings that have been in better shape than the Normal college. Tear down the normal college, build a new library , in it's place and then tear down the current library. Town council should tour the Antigonish public library , it is possible to have a library in the "heart" of downtown, all on one level accessible to all.

  • Skeptic Al
    January 09, 2013 - 07:26

    Brave statement by Mayor Bob..and a good reminder that this is not just a Town of Truro Council decision.

  • Go green
    January 09, 2013 - 05:57

    Ever been in the old Normal College lately.It will take a lot more than $6,000,000 to renovate that building.The potential for future problems even after renovations are still very high.Let's be realistic ,it is a dingy ok building that is 150 years old.It can hardly be seen from the street.I know it is a heritage building but I personally don't think it's suitable for library.Maybe renovate as a professional building and make some money off it and still maintain its heritage value.I agree with the Mayor of Colchester County.Go bright and new,better for the future in the long run,as I think we could all agree the UTown of Truro is growing.My opinion still is tear it down.Build some modern buildings in the town.

  • Joanna
    January 08, 2013 - 23:18

    Why would you move them into another old decrepit building? Yes renovations will be done, but that still doesn't make sense to me. Also, what does management and staff of the library think about using the Normal College building? They haven't been mentioned in recent articles.

  • Wayne Faulkner
    January 08, 2013 - 19:02

    Mayor Taylor is not correct, unless he is proposing a new site that will use groundwater for heat and air condition. The Normal College is setting next to the same well that is heating and providing air condition for the new fire hall. Cheers Wayne

  • rob
    January 08, 2013 - 16:39

    I believe we missed a big opportunity to bring natural gas into Truro when the hospital and new centre were built. The industrial park could have also tapped in and it would have created an opportunity to encourage and recruit new industrial companies to establish here. This also been extended into downtown core...too bad...

  • Go New
    January 08, 2013 - 16:00

    Tear down the old eyesore.You cannot be spending that kind of dollars on old buildings that in the future still have the potential for problems even after a restoration.