In 2015 Pictou Town Council approached the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library Board to replace their public library, a well utilized facility, but inadequate in terms of space, design, and accessibility. The Council had recently visited the People’s Place Library in Antigonish and took notice of the rich mix of activities, sharing of spaces, and the use of placemaking principles in the library’s vision and design.
With this in mind, Council approached the deCoste Entertainment Centre Board, knowing there was an appetite for growth and a need to upgrade structural elements in the 37 year old facility. The centre is owned by the Town and operated by the deCoste Board. The town asked the deCoste team to come together with PARL for exploratory discussions. The common objectives, cross-over of constituents and many sharing opportunities were immediately obvious and a joint vision began to emerge.
A Project Committee was established with representation from the Town of Pictou, the Municipality of the County of Pictou, the deCoste Centre and the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library. With funding from the Town of Pictou, Municipality of the County of Pictou, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Department of Communities, Culture, and Heritage an architect was selected and a preliminary design created. Public consultations using placemaking principles were conducted with over 200 interested citizens and a unique design was developed for the facility.
The project has moved steadily forward through extensive planning over the past 36 months. In 2018 the working committee determined that a strong, well-detailed business plan was the next step in the moving the project forward to the funding/financing stage.
A key placemaking principle is that “you are creating a place, not a design”. Design is an important part of the process, but the true magic lies in the community outreach and the collective visioning of activities, programs and services that the new place can facilitate.