Nearly two years since Le Chateau Bathurst was shuttered amid a lengthy labour dispute, Bathurst city council is pushing for the prime piece of real estate in the city to be sold.
Bathurst is continuing to advance its $2.5-million waterfront redevelopment project, but across the street from a new tourist village, Le Chateau Bathurst remains boarded up.
'It needs to be reopened, simply because we need more people in the city.'— Lorne Daigle, Bathurst restaurant owner
The hotel's owner shut it down after employees picketed outside it for 27 months, one of the longest labour disputes in the province's history. The 30 workers were looking for higher wages, but the fight was never resolved.
The building remains vacant and unused, leaving what Bathurst Mayor Stephen Brunet calls a frustrating eyesore.
"Every time I walk down the street and somebody talks to me, they say, 'Look, it makes us sad when we go by and see it all boarded up,'" Brunet said.
"And to see the city trying to develop the waterfront area, develop downtown, and business owners doing the same, and yet we have this problem … right in the middle [of the city]."
Lorne Daigle, who owns a restaurant a few blocks from the shuttered hotel, said it's about time the hotel finds a new owner.
"It needs to be reopened, simply because we need more people in the city," Daigle said.
"We need more tourists coming in here. The conferences coming here were very important to the city, to all businesses in the city."
The Department of Labour said it's willing to help a new owner mediate with the employees union.
But as of September, that might not be necessary because after two years without a collective agreement, a new owner could apply to decertify the union.