Waterfront Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre project complete
LITTLE CURRENT—The Northeast Town municipal office officially moved into its new location in the Little Current Post Office building on Water Street earlier this week as the renovations to the office concluded along with the new Waterfront Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre.
“We are very pleased with how the building has been developed,” town CAO Dave Williamson told The Expositor on Monday. “We are now occupying the space, but there are still a few things to finish off and we are still moving things over from the old office.”
Though the project was slated for completion three months ago, Mr. Williamson said that staff is still pleased, despite the delays, at the overall look of the new facilities and that the delays did not come with any increased costs.
“The employees are adjusting to the new office—everyone is very happy having more space,” said Mr. Williamson, noting that all town managers now have their own individual offices.[divider]
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As for the Waterfront Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre, the new space will serve a double purpose, as both the centre and the Northeast Town’s new council chambers (council meetings were formerly held in the Lions Den at the Northeast Town recreation centre).
“The focus of the project was really the artisan incubator and technology centre,” explained Mr. Williamson. “It is a beautiful gallery space with lots of natural light, track lighting and a gallery hanging system.”
The centre also features its own entrance (separate from the town offices), washroom and kitchenette.
It will provide a venue to the Island community to stay connected with the world interactively through DSL Internet, smart boards and an interactive business space, while also serving as an open space for the Island’s artistic community to showcase work, hold shows and workshops.
“There will be limited costs for artists wanting to utilize the space initially,” continued Mr. Williamson. “We really want to develop the space and promote and foster local art. From an economic development angle, we are really working towards developing that sector, not just for Little Current, but for artists from all across Manitoulin and the region.”
Another element of developing the art sector and promoting artists on the Island will be creating an online presence for the centre in conjunction with the municipality’s website.
The Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre will initially be managed by Heidi Ferguson, the town’s events coordinator and curator of the Centennial Museum in Sheguiandah, but Mr. Williamson revealed that there could be a possible position with the town in the future in running the centre. Also looking ahead, Mr. Williamson said staff hopes that an outside deck could be added to the channel side of the building, “with available resources and council’s approval.”
The building still houses the post office and Child and Family Centre on the west side, with the new town offices and artisan and technology centre on the east.
The construction of the new centre and town office came at a cost of $439,000, with $200,000 being provided by a FedNor grant and the remaining funds from the municipal capital reserves.
“I am very happy with the new building and that we stayed on budget,” Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin told The Expositor during its tour of the new facility on Monday. “Everyone was really crammed into the old municipal office (which is currently for sale) and the public had no way of really having private conversations with staff when needed. The new office is great and the artisan and technology centre will be great for both council and user groups.”
To see the new office for yourself, visit the Little Current Post Office, with the entrance to the town office to the left of the Canada Post doors.