Councillor to pitch idea of downtown CBC move to director

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CBC Prince Edward Island's headquarters located in Charlottetown

Coun. Rob Lantz is going to get a chance to sell his idea of moving Charlottetown's CBC headquarters downtown to the managing director of the public broadcaster in the Maritimes.

Andrew Cochran is coming to P.E.I. next week and his schedule includes a meeting with Lantz.

"He plans to meet with Coun. Lantz next week during his visit to Charlottetown and wishes to discuss Coun. Lantz's email communication directly with him before commenting to the media,'' Nadine Antle, manager of communications, marketing and brand for CBC Maritimes, told The Guardian in an email on Thursday.

Last month, Lantz wrote Cochran and James Moore, federal minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, about the idea of moving CBC Charlottetown from its current location on University Avenue "to a more visible and public-friendly location in the core of our city''.

Lantz said he's already discussed the idea with council about doing such a thing as a legacy project in 2014 when the city celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.

Lantz points out the current CBC location is not pedestrian friendly and its physical location makes it hard to engage with the community. He added, however, that it would be an ideal location for a central fire station.

Cochran responded to Lantz in an email, telling the Ward 3 councillor "your interest is very timely''.

"We are always looking at ways to increase our operating efficiency,'' Cochran said. "One area is CBC real estate, because every dollar saved on infrastructure is a dollar that can be devoted to programming and jobs.''

Cochran points out CBC has recently relocated to smaller facilities in Sydney, N.S., and in Saint John, N.B.

"Both of these were moves to leased premises in their respective downtowns. We are now in the final planning stages in Halifax for a major relocation in 2014.''

Cochran said the Halifax relocation involves selling its two downtown buildings, together comprising 140,000 square feet, in favour of leased space of just over 40,000 square feet.

He notes in all three cases the new space is significantly smaller and less costly to operate.

"I hope we might have an opportunity to meet and discuss your ideas in more detail,'' Cochran tells Lantz in an email. "I would be pleased to share with you the key business parameters that inform any decision for us to relocate.''

Lantz said downsizing in terms of broadcast locations and moving into downtown cores is part of CBC's Strategy 2015. The broadcaster states on its website it is looking to "reduce costs of production, consolidate activities where possible and reduce our overall real estate footprint''.

Lantz said moving the Charlottetown station makes sense.

"The building on University Avenue was built for another era in broadcasting,'' the councillor says. "It's too large and costly and it's only a matter of time before they move.''

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: CBC, The Guardian, Canadian Heritage

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I., Halifax Sydney Saint John

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Recent comments

  • impressed
    January 08, 2013 - 12:59

    Have the CBC spend more money.......................wow. good one

  • XComa
    January 08, 2013 - 07:00

    Should read: Councillor pitched for the idea of moving CBC downtown... The City Councillors, like the Provincial Government, are also out of touch. They both look like they are dreaming of new ways to waste money.

  • Gabriel
    January 07, 2013 - 14:35

    There are definite problems with discussing this idea as an expenditure under 2014. And in this way Mr.Lantz's proposal is a lot like the new MLA building also pushed as a 2014 project. We should make these legacy investments on ideas that are truly heritage oriented or of real economic value. Better yet if we are talking about downtown services we should make some kind of a provision for community outreach for addictions or women's health or some of the other truly ' human' needs we are ignoring. These legacy ideas put forward by politicians smack of some kind of behind the scenes set up. Let us do things that are truly good for people instead of these ' deals'. Lantz is ending up in the wrong place here because he is starting out from the wrong place.

  • Perfect Sense
    January 07, 2013 - 12:35

    This right here is why PEI will forever be a decade behind the rest of the country. Some of these comments are just laughable almost making PEI out to be a third world country. Get with it. Moving CBC to the downtown area is an amazing idea, stop whining people. Not everything in a councillors/officials agenda has to do with corruption.

    • IslandProud
      January 07, 2013 - 12:57

      Posting twice with the same points.... really? That being said you have valid points. I think the city needs more balance in it's priorities and budget. To jump on Mr. Lantz for a creative idea is a little overboard. I no longer live on the Island but am home 6-7 times a year as I have property here and see the same thing every time I come home. Someone with an idea which gets shot down before a good look is taken at it. A little more open-mindedness is what's needed.

  • Perfect sense
    January 07, 2013 - 12:21

    Having a location in the downtown area makes perfect sense on every level, people need to wake up and shake their heads. Mr. Lantz clearly has locations he has in mind and their's nothing wrong with that whatsoever. It's not always "shady" business! PEI will forever be a decade behind the country if we listen to people like the majority of the ones commenting on here. Taking a brand like CBC and planting it in the downtown area will only encourage positive investment into the area which as of right now is filled with restaurants/bars and mom and pop shops. The current location is certainly old, unattractive and perfect for a fire station. University ave is hardly that busy, go to Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto and then complain about a 4 lane street.

  • questionable
    January 07, 2013 - 12:04

    This whole idea coming out of Lantz makes zero sense. For that matter, PEI as a province makes zero sense too.

  • makes ya kindda planb squirmy, what?
    January 07, 2013 - 10:27

    If this isn't just plain embarrassing, what is? Has Coun. Lantz just graduated from the Robert Vessey school of Business?

  • expatislander
    January 07, 2013 - 10:26

    "Lantz said moving the Charlottetown station makes sense. "The building on University Avenue was built for another era in broadcasting,'' the councillor says. "It's too large and costly and it's only a matter of time before they move.'' What broadcasting experience have you had Mr. Lantz? What dou you possibly know about the CBC' s real-estate requirements? Does a friend have a building he's lookin to lease? This is a bone-headed suggestion to say the least.

  • Bertie
    January 07, 2013 - 09:25

    I would like to see Lantz as PC leader. Lantz vs. Ghiz. Nice NDP victory on the way. I love it.

  • Justine Thyme
    January 07, 2013 - 08:56

    Lantz wants to use the present CBC site as a new location for a super fire station. Can you imagine emergency vehicles trying to gain access on a busy 4 lane location like that? I am all for the fire station upgrade, but it is a poor location choice.

  • Mr Chen
    January 07, 2013 - 08:04

    I think Lantz has been watching too much Much Music. I think he hope the audience will be able to join the cbc broadcast daily. How about worrying about getting a proper side walk to connect Stratford before someone is killed. How about having the city following the directions given or your expensive traffic study years ago and synchronize the traffic lights like every other city does and guess what it works. How about leaving CBC where it is, unless you have a hidden agenda with the property it's located on?

  • Very Foolish Idea
    January 07, 2013 - 05:33

    This is a very foolish idea. Where it is now is in the heart of the City. To waste money on such a move is a shameful idea. And to suggest moving the fire department to the already very busy University Avenue shows that this fellow is totally unaware of the already very busy nature of this major entrance to our City. Let him pitch all he wants but this idea should be clearly rejected by City Hall.

  • mrgrizzly
    January 06, 2013 - 22:35

    Stupid idea and a big waste of money

  • Mr Lantz
    January 06, 2013 - 21:41

    There are homeless and hungry people in Charlottetown-drugs run rampant in this town and this is the best thing you can come up with? I cant believe this is even newsworthy

  • Truth Sayer
    January 06, 2013 - 20:58

    "public-friendly location in the core of our city'' . . is an oxymoron to be sure. Have you tried to park downtown recently . . especially during business hours?

  • don
    January 06, 2013 - 20:46

    is not where CBC is now not in ch'town? what benefit is there to lantz or who wants him to push CBC to move into older places that means tax payers dollars to repair them? i think there should be a investigation into the ownership of these property's. to me some thing smells here and it is not the sewage plant.

  • peiman
    January 06, 2013 - 20:07

    OK' if its moving anyway' why not move it to Alberton, or Sour is or someplace other than Charlottetown. No reason why it has to stay in town!

    • huh
      January 07, 2013 - 10:26

      other than that its central, the capital, has the largest population base and the provincial legislature, yes, there's no reason at all to keep it in Charlottetown.

    • expatislander
      January 07, 2013 - 10:28

      " No reason why it has to stay in town!" How about the fact that Charlottetown is the provincial capital and over half the Island's population lives in a 20 km radius?

  • Tobias
    January 06, 2013 - 13:29

    Lay off this please if you would Mr. Lantz. And get some sense of the real priorities. Drugs in the schools. Crap in the harbour. Not enough cancer doctors. Runing out of water. Liberal and Tory neighbours of yours grabbing and grabbing like crazy. Other people freezing and going hungry. Get a grip on youself, sir. Come in for a landing any time.