Pictured at the announcement on December 16 in Inverness were (from the left): Rob Burbach, President of the Inverness Development Association; Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso; Judy McNamara, Operations Manager at Dundee Resort and Golf Club; Monique Aucoin, President of Société Mi-Carême; and Gillis MacLeod the Owner of Macleod’s Beach – Campsite Ltd.

INVERNESS: Four tourism-related projects in the Strait area will receive funding for upgrades to help improve the visitor experience in the region.

On Saturday in Inverness, Cape Breton–Canso MP Rodger Cuzner announced the Government of Canada will be investing over $730,000 in four infrastructure projects in Inverness and Richmond counties.

“In 2016, Nova Scotia had the highest tourism numbers in the history of the province,” Cuzner told The Reporter on Monday. “Although the 2017 numbers haven’t been presented yet, it is anticipated that they are going to be even greater.”

In order to capitalize on the visitor traffic, the government has announced funding in the form of repayable loans for two private projects: Dundee Resort & Golf Club and MacLeod’s Beach – Campsite Limited in Inverness. The total contributions amount to over $525,000 and are provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program.

“Those projects are focused on the refurbishment of their sites,” said Cuzner.

Dundee Resort and Golf Club will use the funding to redo the interior and exterior of their cabins, as well as improving WiFi and cellular service on site. MacLeod’s Beach – Campsite will be expanding their seasonal sites, and will replace 40 to 50 fully serviced campsites.

In addition, non-repayable contributions totalling $205,000 will be given to two community initiatives through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund. Société Mi-Carême will receive $55,000 to upgrade its heating (HVAC) system.

The Inverness Development Association (IDA) will also receive $150,000 to improve the Inverness Village boardwalk that connects the Inverness beach and the Cabot Links golf course. Cuzner said that the improvements will allow the boardwalk to be accessible to wheelchairs and will help protect the sand dunes along Inverness Beach.

“It will be one of the most accessible beach areas in Atlantic Canada,” said Cuzner, adding that the work on the boardwalk has already started.

Cuzner feels that investments in this type of infrastructure are crucial to the local economy.

“When you upgrade the quality of your accommodations and you invest in the visitor experience with amenities like WiFi and cell coverage in these areas, then you’re able to cater to that tourist that has more discretionary income and in turn enhance your yield.”

Cuzner noted that he is pleased with recent growth in the region and that workforce recruitment has become a new challenge with many local business owners now searching for cooks and other workers to fill vacant positions.