GUYSBOROUGH – Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway announced a $1,326,420 investment in 13 projects through the Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) on Cape Breton Island and in Guysborough County last week. One of the projects to receive funding was an expansion project at Seawind Landing Country Inn located in Charlos Cove.
The inn received a $100,000 non-repayable grant in matching funds for the project which according to the news release issued on Sept. 6 includes, “building an accessible year-round en plein air type experience and event centre, including an outdoor cooking and fire pit area, electric vehicle chargers and power generators for full power backup.”
David DeJongh, Seawind Landing proprietor, spoke to The Journal last week about the expansion plans for the inn.
“We’re currently working on drawing up some plans. We’re looking at some different options in terms of building design. We’re hoping to get underway sometime late this fall with anticipated completion in the spring,” said DeJongh.
Speaking to the thinking behind the expansion, DeJongh said, “I think a lot of it has to do with the movement towards the expansion into experiential tourism and the growing market for that. We’ve had some success with a few of our offerings; from the dark skies experience to beach walks and various other outings with a naturalist that helped provide some of these services. And, certainly, it is something that has been coming from some of the guests that are interested in this type of thing and are looking for opportunities to explore a little more in some of the environment that they find themselves in when they are here.”
The expansion, said DeJongh, is “going to give us an opportunity to expand to some more off-season offerings as well. That’s something that we’ve tried to expand on over the years, looking at April, May and even into June as being kind of dress rehearsal months for the busy season and into later October and November. If we can do something to expand those shoulder months, that would be a major reason to try and develop some new experiences and it will give us some space to host events, meetings, and workshops – those kinds of things. We’ll have a lot of programs accessible for people, kind of a tourism experience launch pad is what we see it as.”
Asked if he anticipated difficulty in finding workers for the construction project, given that many industries are having difficulty filling vacant positions, DeJongh said, “As far as the construction side goes, we’re pretty lucky in Guysborough to have a pretty large talent pool available. I am not anticipating any real problems.”
Kelloway said of the federal investment in projects such as the one at Seawind Landing, “Eastern Nova Scotia’s tourism experiences and accommodations reflect the diversity and wonder of our region. From tours of land, sea and sky—to stays at golf resorts, cottages and geodomes—there is truly something for everyone here. Creating and maintaining these assets contributes to a strong regional economy as we draw in visitors from near and far.”
Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal