UPDATED: MacFarlane says HST is to blame for Pictou Lodge receivership

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Parker says MacFarlane is simply toeing party line

Charlie Parker, MLA for Pictou West, says Progressive Conservative candidate Karla MacFarlane is toeing the party line with her recent comments about the Pictou Lodge.

"It's unfortunate that Ms. MacFarlane would use the lodge's troubled circumstance to try and advance her political agenda," said Parker.

He said the NDP government is committed to supporting small business and tourism in the Pictou area.

"It wasn't long ago that we committed $450,000 to the lodge," said Parker.

 

He said the lodge is an important employer in the Pictou area. I understand that the Department of Economic and Rural Development is committed to working with the company to find a solution to the current situation to ensure these employees get back to work.

 

PICTOU – Pictou West Progressive Conservative candidate Karla MacFarlane is blaming the fact that Pictou Lodge went into receivership on the closing of the Yarmouth Ferry and the increase of the HST.

“With the canceling of the Yarmouth Ferry and the hike to the HST making Nova Scotia’s taxes the highest in the country, the NDP government has made Pictou West’s tourism suffer,” MacFarlane stated in a release.

While manager Wes Surrett said that business has actually been good last year and was promising for the coming year, he did say in an interview with The News last week the closing of the Yarmouth Ferry cost them about 700 room nights a year.

“It’s not just the people in Yarmouth,” he said. “That had an impact right across the province. You don’t recover that quickly and easily.”

Surrett said their business has come to rely more on conferences and weddings than on tourism.

“It’s just not an easy business in rural Nova Scotia,” he said.

The resort usually employs between 60 and 70 people during the peak summer season and brings hundreds from across Canada and beyond to the local area.

“The Pictou Lodge has been a staple in our community for over a generation. From attracting tourists to our shores, to international gatherings, to a simple wedding on the beach - the Pictou Lodge has played an important role in our local economy,” MacFarlane stated.

She pointed out other businesses that have closed at least temporarily including Scotsburn’s Stonehame Chalets, which closed for the first time last winter. Owner Jeff Gunn did not say when it would reopen.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Pictou West, Yarmouth Canada

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  • Billem Smith
    February 18, 2013 - 06:25

    I don't think that one can necessarily blame the host increase or the Yarmouth ferry for the closure of the lodge. I have gone there a few time over the years and have been far from impressed. Alain Bosse did a phenomenal job designing a new menu, however from menu to plate is a different story. The Sunday brunches are overrated and I think they must have dried up the market on new comers to their brunch. Diversification is key really and the lodge didn't do it. With a provincial campground within walking distance down the beach as well as being on the water, I bet people would have loved to dock their boats and come in for lunch or dinner before a sunset sail. But alas, they did not. If this business is to survive it will need diversification. Tim Hortons doesn't sell just coffee and donuts any more. Who would have thought 25 years ago you could get a grilled cheese there.

  • Are You Serious
    February 18, 2013 - 02:37

    Where are these PC candidates in Picou County getting their play book? The stories they are digging up to put their names in the paper are just ridiculous. The Liberals and incumbent NDPers must be rolling on the floor laughing. It is one thing to show concern for local businesses, but to suggest that the Yarmouth ferry and the HST increase caused closure of a local hotelier is a stretch! First of there is no empirical evidence that 700 rooms were lost. Second, the normal flow for people lodging in Pictou County from the USA would be the 104. If we are talking about USA tourists,what about the downturn in the economy, the strong Cdn dollar, the price of gas on this side of the border, the fact that most US citizens do not own passports (which until recently was not a requirement for cross border travel), etc., etc. As far as the HST increase, that is less than the added fees tacked on in the HRM (which tourists do not need to pay here). Given the poor understanding and analysis skills of these candidates, how do they ever hope to govern this province in the foreseeable future?

  • James MacDonald
    February 17, 2013 - 22:38

    I respect Ms. MacFarlane's commitment to rural economic development in the Northumerland region, but this strikes me as a bad case of political opportunism. Using this unfortunate event as a soapbox to recite partisan talking points doesn't do a service to our economic realities. Yes, the high HST is hard to swallow, but in reality it is the offspring of decades of poor economic management by all parties. Similarly, the Yarmouth ferry situation isn't a recent revelation; chronic under-funding by successive provincial AND federal governments (who manage the port) should be carrying the can on this. We all want a more sustainable rural economy for the Northumberland region.