Car­bon­ear as­sesses ho­tel po­ten­tial

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY MELISSA JENK­INS COL­UMN Melissa.jenk­

With a grow­ing econ­omy and plenty of tourists in Con­cep­tion Bay North, the Town of Car­bon­ear wants a fea­si­bil­ity study done to see if it can sup­port an­other ho­tel.

Coun. David Kennedy made a mo­tion at the reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing Mon­day, Nov. 2 for the to town hire a com­pany to de­ter­mine if the lodg­ing needs of vis­i­tors are be­ing met.

“In coun­cil’s de­vel­op­ment bud­get, we have so much money al­lo­cated to pro­ceed and to en­gage dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties that can ac­tu­ally help us de­velop the town as a whole,” Kennedy told The Com­pass late last week. “So what we’d like to do is we’d like to know is there a mar­ket in this area for an ad­di­tional ho­tel or mo­tel. And, you know, it’s hard for us to gauge it.”

The fea­si­bil­ity study has been ap­proved at a cost of no more than $12,000.

Right now, Car­bon­ear has two mo­tels that have 15 rooms each and four bed and break­fast lo­ca­tions. Neigh­bour­ing Har­bour Grace also has a mo­tel and sev­eral B&Bs. Kennedy con­firmed the re­sults of the study could go either way. Where is the de­mand? One thing Car­bon­ear and area does have that may pro­vide a need for ex­tra ac­com­mo­da­tions is sport­ing events.

“I don’t care if it’s a soc­cer tour­na­ment, soft­ball tour­na­ment in the sum­mer, or you look at a hockey tour­na­ment, swim meets, etc. — is the de­mand there for that,” Kennedy said.

An un­der-16 male and fe­male soc­cer tour­na­ment took place in both Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace last month with hun­dreds of kids par­tic­i­pat­ing.

In Au­gust, the lo­cal soft­ball as­so­ci­a­tion hosted 19 teams and over 200 chil­dren for a tour­na­ment.

And each year, Po­sei­don Swim Club and the TriCon Gen­tle Gi­ants Spe­cial Olympics team host events at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex and swim­ming pool.

Th­ese are just a few of the sport­ing events that the town has the po­ten­tial to host. But Kennedy sees more than just sport­ing events be­ing con­sid­ered, like union con­ven­tions and Knights of Colum­bus gath­er­ings.

“Of­ten times, you can’t house th­ese dif­fer­ent things if you don’t have the space to ac­tu­ally do it.” Com­pet­ing with other towns The Town of Bay Roberts will have a new ho­tel — Red Roof Inn — buillt soon. The ad­di­tion of more rooms could be ben­e­fi­cial or a hin­drance to Car­bon­ear po­ten­tial plans. But Kennedy sees the ho­tel project in Bay Roberts as a driver for more con­ven­tions, vis­i­tors and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in all lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“When you look at some of the big­ger con­ven­tions, you need even more ho­tels,” he said. “So if you take the num­ber of rooms that are cur­rently avail­able in the Con­cep­tion Bay North area, and you add on what the Red Roof will bring, there could still be the po­ten­tial and the de­mand there for ad­di­tional ones.”

He has seen this re­cently in St. John’s, where sev­eral ho­tels have been built in the past few years.

“Some­times more rooms will draw more rooms,” he said.

But it’s not in­tended to be a com­pe­ti­tion. Kennedy, who chairs the hous­ing and de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee, knows that many things are re­gional. He wants to en­sure the whole area can be sup­ported, and hav­ing the fea­si­bil­ity study will help re­in­force it. Pub­lic re­acts A Com­pass reporter reached out to the pub­lic through Face­book to ask if they felt Car­bon­ear could suc­cess­fully sup­port an­other ho­tel. Re­sponses were split, with some won­der­ing whether rooms could be filled all year.

One re­spon­dent wanted to see growth in the town to help sup- port a ho­tel, in­clud­ing, “more sub­di­vi­sions, strip malls, res­tau­rants and chain stores.”

Some feel a bed and break­fast isn’t suit­able for those com­ing for a sport tour­na­ment, and other op­tions should be pre­sented.

With the in­flux of work in the re­gion, in­clud­ing projects in Long Har­bour and Bull Arm and lo­cal in­dus­trial projects, some­times rooms are booked for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time. One re­spon­dent said hav­ing an­other ho­tel could en­cour­age vis­i­tors to ac­cess ac­com­mo­da­tions in the im­me­di­ate area.

She also be­lieves the de­mand will con­tinue to go up.

“Par­ents find prob­lems get­ting rooms,” she said. “Now with new sta­dium, look out. Let’s face it, a lot of what we have here is lim­ited. A new ho­tel with mod­ern ameni­ties could serve our com­mu­nity in a huge way all around.”

It is ex­pected the fea­si­bil­ity study will be com­pleted in the new year.


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