Carbonear assesses hotel potential
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.