NEW GLASGOW – Karl Crawford claims the Town of New Glasgow is blackmailing his business.
Crawford, whose family owns Adventure Motors, said the town is denying him access to a boat ramp he’s used for years to test his boats because he won’t sign an agreement to give them permission to put docks in front of his shoreline property, which stretches for 465 feet.
But Adventure Motors needs to be able to use the boat ramp to water-test their boats in order to complete sales. Without the use of the ramp, he said he’ll have to take the boats to Pictou. This comes as the business is moving into its busiest point of the season with boat sales.
“They’re using the boat ramp as leverage to obtain a lease to put the docks in front of the property,” he said.
CAO Lisa MacDonald said that there is no blackmail happening. She said Crawford discontinued his agreement with the town, which gave him access to the ramp. She also said that the town owns the rights to the water and can continue to have their marina stretch in front of the land owned by Crawford regardless of him signing an agreement. She said the town has the rights to the shoreline up to high water mark.
Crawford however believes they shouldn’t be able to use his shoreline for their own purposes without paying him something. He said since he bought the property in 1979 he has allowed the town to use it and had formal agreements with them but that he was lied to and agreements were violated.
“Every day I get an email, ‘What can we do downtown to make it better? How do we attract new business?’” he said. “Not this way.”
Adventure Motors employs about 20 people and attracts thousands of people from throughout the Maritimes each year to downtown New Glasgow, Crawford said.
Unless something changes – and changes soon – he said he’ll be moving his business entirely out of New Glasgow. He said Thursday he was out looking at a piece of property in Pictou.
“I’ve just had it. This is the last straw,” Crawford said. “They’re power-tripping. It’s no good for anybody.“
MacDonald denies any ill intent on the part of the town towards Adventure Motors.
“Our boat launch isn’t ready for opening. The town owns the boat launch and it’s associated with the usage with respect to the Marina,” she said. “Our issues with Karl Crawford are a legal issue that we wouldn’t be interested in speaking to. But the accusations he is making are completely inaccurate.”
Asked if the town would let Adventure Motors use the ramp later, MacDonald said the ramp is for marina users.
“Bottom line is he terminated the agreement he had reached with the town so in order for us to have arrangements for the future an agreement has to be reached,” she said.