Louisbourg resort stalled by recession

The development of a $300-million resort and housing complex near Louisbourg, N.S., is inching along.

The development of a $300-million resort and housing complex near Louisbourg, N.S., is inching along.

The Louisbourg Resort was announced in 2006 as one of the biggest private tourism investments in Cape Breton. It was to include a world-class golf course, spa and more than 400 luxury homes.

But four years later, only 10 houses are up.

Henric Bauermeister, one of the European developers, said the world recession took its toll. However, he's seeing signs of a comeback and is optimistic the resort's fortunes will turn.

"There are signals … that it is getting better," Bauermeister said. "Certainly in Germany and in England, in Spain and other areas we will attract more visitors to come here. But it certainly takes time."

The plan called for the first 40 homes to be built in 2007. The entire resort was supposed to be done by 2012, and funded completely through private investments.

Today, the water and sewer system is prepared for 125 homes. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation paid for half of it — a contribution of $1.5 million.

"Obviously a lot has happened in the global economy since 2006. Things have not gone according to plan in terms of the size of the project or the number of sales or the construction that was supposed to take place," said D.A. Landry, a spokesman for the Crown corporation.

The water and sewage system can be expanded to accommodate more houses, but Landry said ECBC has no plans to get involved in a second phase.

Under the agreement, the completed system must be turned over to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Ron Delaney, the CBRM's manager of waste water operations, said running the system won't cost a lot of money.

"The concept is that we would start off with a low loading on the system, which requires low electricity and things like this. And usually the costs are offset by the taxes generated by the property values," he said.

Bauermeister said the homes are valued at between $400,000 and $1 million. He said another 20 houses have already been sold and will be built next year.

He said the 10 houses up now are not connected to the water and sewage system.