Cavendish de­vel­op­ment

Rasp­berry Point oys­ter com­pany wants into food tourism, but for­mer neigh­bour has con­cerns.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY NIGEL ARM­STRONG NArm­strongTheGuardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/NigelPEI

This past sum­mer is the first time in decades Arnold Smith wasn’t tend­ing to his Bay Vista mo­tel, but Mon­day night he was still fight­ing with the neigh­bour, Rasp­berry Point Oys­ters.

Rasp­berry Point wants to ex­pand its busi­ness by adding education and in­ter­pre­tive tours on site, of­fer­ing an on-the-wa­ter oys­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for tourists and putting up a retail shop.

Smith, who was the only speaker at a re­zon­ing meet­ing, said dust and un­sightly heaps of equip­ment were con­stantly both­er­ing the va­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence of his mo­tel guests.

That went on for years, and re­quests for im­prove­ment never brought any change.

He said he dreamed of the oys­ter plant burn­ing down.

“My prayer ev­ery night as I went to bed was that the fire that con­sumed it didn’t de­stroy my trees,” Smith told the meet­ing.

“Very lit­tle, if any­thing, was ever done,” he said. “For years we suf­fered neg­a­tive ef­fects.”

He sold the ho­tel in the spring of 2015 to Asian in­vestors who were not com­fort­able at­tend­ing the meet­ing, said Smith.

The mo­tel in Bayview, just west of Cavendish, used to in­clude a dance hall and lounge called the Bayview Yacht Club un­til Scott Lin­klet­ter bought the prop­erty in the early 1970s, di­vided the prop­erty and sold the mo­tel to Smith in 1977.

Lin­klet­ter turned the dance­hall into a restau­rant called Fid­dles and Vit­tles and added a few tourist rooms.

In 1999 and 2000, the tourism op­er­a­tion closed, and slowly, the build­ing turned into its present use, a wash and pack plant for Rasp­berry Point Oys­ter Com­pany.

It also in­cludes stor­age for that aqua­cul­ture com­pany, said Smith.

Now Rasp­berry Point wants to ex­pand, but that re­quires re­zon­ing, which was the sub­ject of the pub­lic meet­ing Mon­day.

Coun­cil will take com­ments from the pub­lic un­der con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore the mat­ter comes to the Fe­bru­ary coun­cil meet­ing, said mu­nic­i­pal­ity chair­man Matthew Jel­ley. Writ­ten com­ments will still be ac­cepted un­til Jan. 25, he said.

Smith was one of five mem­bers of the pub­lic at the meet­ing.

Sheela Bren­nan, a mar­ket­ing and sales man­ager with the Lin­klet­ter group of com­pa­nies, told the meet­ing that a fence will be put up be­tween the mo­tel and oys­ter plant.

That’s not much good, said Smith, adding that piles of oys­ter crates are smelly and will only grow as the com­pany grows.

“There needs to be some se­ri­ous thought to the ef­fect on the prop­erty next door,” Smith told the coun­cil.

The tours are just evolv­ing from the ar­rival of more cu­ri­ous tourists, said James Power, man­ager of Rasp­berry Point.

“More and more peo­ple were just stop­ping in, ask­ing what we were do­ing,” he said. “This year we are go­ing to do more for­mal tours.”

The retail shop and on-wa­ter tours will come next year, he said.

NIGEL ARM­STRONG/THE GUARDIAN

Sheela Bren­nan with the Lin­klet­ter group of com­pa­nies ex­plains de­vel­op­ment plans Mon­day for bring­ing food tourism to the Rasp­berry Point oys­ter plant in Bayview near Cavendish. She was at­tend­ing a pub­lic meet­ing hosted by the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity as part of a re­zon­ing re­quest to al­low for the pro­ject to pro­ceed. The meet­ing was held in North Rus­tico.

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