AFTON STATION: Rose Paul has always swung for the fences with a go big or go home mentality.
Her latest venture, the new Bayside Travel Centre, which officially opened in June on the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, has been nothing short of a homerun and something she couldn’t be more proud of.
As the CEO of the Bayside Development Corporation, Paul oversaw the development of a 16,000 square-foot, multi-business centre at Exit 36B along Highway 104.
“It means a great deal to me – it means the world to me to see this through,” Paul said proudly of the Bayside Travel Centre. “And I had every intention, and every passion and ambition I could hold on to, to see this come to fruition.”
Paul suggested it’s been a professional vision of hers, so for the project to transition from her idea, to what it is today, has been simply amazing.
“I think I just want to see something big and new and exciting, but I guess my priorities ensure that we’re developing something that would have long-term sustainability, not only to support the revenue generation of it – of course, that’s a big part of it – but to also accommodate jobs and new opportunities.”
Since the Bayside Travel Centre has opened its doors about three-months ago, they have been gaining traction and have seen a steady stream of traffic, something that will increase in the near future, especially after the opening of Tim Hortons and Mary Brown’s Chicken occurs, following border delays on equipment orders due to COVID-19.
Offering a long list of services including; a commercial Cardlock operation as a convenience for long-haul truckers travelling the Trans-Canada Highway to and from Cape Breton and Newfoundland and Labrador; retail gas; an electric charging station; a convenience store; a tourism kiosk; and an NSLC agency store – the only one in a Mi’kmaq community in Atlantic Canada – and the Bayside Entertainment Centre, a VLT gaming operation owned by the band, is also on site.
The Bayside Travel Centre will also cater to professional drivers offering a driver’s lounge that includes a rest area with TVs, free WiFi and large showers with a secure change area.
The idea behind Bayside Travel Centre came to Paul while she was travelling throughout Canada and she noticed how in other jurisdictions with the similar infrastructure, people enjoyed the convenience of a one-stop-shop for a variety of services.
“I saw a lot in the Quebec and Ontario regions, and for Atlantic Canada, I said ‘geez, you don’t really see that,’ and thought that it would be nice to do everything in a one-stop-shop,” she said. “And that’s what we ended up doing. We ended up putting all our resources under the travel centre and we ended up developing six partnerships out of it.”
Acting as an economic boost for Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Paul highlighted how the Bayside Development Corporation will support services and programs in the community with money generated from lease agreements with restaurants, fuel and alcohol sales.
In terms of employment, about 100 jobs will be created and most positions will be filled by Paqtnkek community members.
Paul is thankful her community supported her idea of the state-of-the-art centre in their community.
“The community said yes to doing this and we’ve definitely been working very hard to make sure that the community is happy with what they felt was going to come forward for the benefits of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and their membership.”