Bathurst could soon be getting a new multi-million dollar hotel and convention centre in the city's downtown, which city officials say would bring in some much needed tax revenue.
But with a long-boarded up hotel just down the street, some people are questioning whether the city really needs to build a new one.
City council says it has found an Alberta-based company that will develop the property, which is currently used for parking and as a Saturday's farmer's market, into an $8 million-complex.
Right now, the city gets revenue from the site, locally known as the Kent property, by charging $2 for a day of parking.
But Coun. Bob Anderson estimates the proposed development could generate more than a couple hundred thousand dollars in tax revenue.
So while the city plans to give the property to the company, 610634 Alberta Limited, based on a guarantee that it will develop the land, the city could make back its money within two years, he said.
In addition, a new facility is desperately needed, said Anderson.
"We can't bring any significant conventions, we don't have the hotel space to even accommodate even a good hockey tournament," he said.
"And the studies have been done, the needs have been detailed, and this will fill the needs."
Bathurst resident George Willett is thrilled. "I think it's great," he said. "You get the downtown area of Bathurst revitalized, get some interest, get some business, get people going down here again. I think it's wonderful."
But another local resident, Diane Coombs, is skeptical since the long-dormant Le Chateau Bathurst sits a couple of hundred metres away.
"We have a hotel just a little ways down that they can renovate and use. And they could keep the farmers market and put other little shops in it and make it a nice little community gathering for everybody," she said.
Renovating Le Chateau Bathurst was considered, said Anderson, noting officials from the company even toured the old hotel. But the parties couldn't reach an agreement, he said.
The final details of the proposed project will be worked out when company officials visit Bathurst again next month, said Anderson.
Meanwhile, the city plans to put down straw at the site to keep the ground from freezing so construction can get underway as soon as possible in the spring, he said.
Plans are also in the works to move the farmer's market to a nearby location, he added.