© Guardian photo
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.''