News Release Article from  Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Amherst Transforming Old Town Hall into Innovation Centre

New Facility to Host both Business and Community Activities

February 10, 2016 - Amherst, N.S. - Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The 8,200 square-foot Confederation Memorial Building in Amherst is being repurposed. The former Town Hall is set to become an innovation centre for local businesses and community groups. Work on the project is expected to begin this month.

The Government of Canada will invest $750,000 in the project, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA)’s Innovative Communities Fund. Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester,  made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Science, Innovation and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. The Town of Amherst is contributing $524,921 and the Government of Nova Scotia is contributing $100,000 through Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Once completed the innovation centre will house offices as well as conference and boardroom spaces for business meetings, entrepreneurship and skills development training, workshops, community activities and events. There will also be incubation space to support new startups, while encouraging creative collaboration to grow businesses in the area.

The centre will result in increased capacity to host both business and community activities and events that will support economic growth in the Town of Amherst and surrounding area.

The Government of Canada’s investment supports architectural and engineering services, drywall, millwork, flooring and painting as the Town demolishes the building’s interior walls and constructs new interior spaces. The project also includes the installation of an elevator for accessibility, purchase and installation of IT and communication infrastructure and fixtures including seating and conference tables.

Quick Facts:

  • The Town of Amherst was incorporated in 1889 and has a population of approximately 9,500 residents.
  • Amherst serves as a gateway community into Nova Scotia through New Brunswick, providing a major service centre for visitors.
  • The Confederation Memorial Building is owned by the Town of Amherst and located in the downtown core and served as the Town Hall until 2012.
  • The new innovation centre’s first floor will be approximately 5,800 square feet and will include a reception area, lobby, a large training room, community meeting room, catering kitchen and up to seven offices.
  • The second floor, approximately 2,400 square feet in size, will include a large boardroom, two meeting rooms and a business centre with multiple workstations.
  • The centre will have the capacity to accommodate groups as large as 135 people in its large training room on the main level and smaller groups in its two other meeting rooms.


“In a world defined by innovation, businesses and communities must find new ways to grow and succeed. It’s great to see the Town of Amherst’s innovative repurposing of its former Town Hall into a place where businesses and community groups can embrace new ideas, new technology and new opportunities for growth and success.”

     - The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Science, Innovation and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“The Town of Amherst’s forward-thinking innovation centre will benefit our community for many years to come. It will provide a place for young businesses to develop, existing businesses to collaborate and community groups to strengthen local connections. This community-led initiative will continue to flourish as it draws on a strong base of community expertise and support.”

     - Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester

“It is extremely encouraging to have innovative partners, who are focused on the future and growing our community, willing to step up and lay the ground work necessary for positive change. As the regional business service hub, this facility will encourage the incubation and mentorship needed for new business start-ups in the Cumberland region while providing new and existing entrepreneurs with access to communications technology that will strengthen their competitive profile.”

     - Rob Small, Mayor, Town of Amherst

Associated Links:


Alex Smith
Director of Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: 902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Roger MacIsaac
Director, Community Economic Development
Town of Amherst
Phone: 902-667-2562 / 902-694-0295 (cell)

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