A British Columbia couple is bucking the trend in southwestern Nova Scotia by getting set to open a new bed and breakfast as other tourism-based businesses close their doors.
Paul Jespersen said months after he and his wife began the construction process in Yarmouth nearly three years ago, the CAT ferry — which used to run between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine — stopped running.
"I never thought of cutting and running, so to speak, because we fell in love with the area," Jespersen told CBC News.
"Yarmouth, the Acadian shore, has something very unique, very special to offer."
Jespersen said the couple continued to spend money — more than $500,000 — to renovate Churchill Mansion, even as other tourism-based businesses collapsed in the wake of the ferry cancellation.
The original plan for a large inn was downsized and Churchill Mansion is now a five-star bed and breakfast.
Susan Jespersen said she believes it's possible to operate a successful tourism-based business in the area with attention to detail and making sure the product is ready before it's taken to the market.
"We need to do more to support businesses, tourism businesses and we really need to make sure we're prepared that when tourists come here, that we have something to offer," she said.
Last week, the provincial government announced the creation of a team of local community, tourism and business leaders to improve and promote the tourism experience in southwestern Nova Scotia.
Jespersen said the new committee should shed any political involvement and add more small business owners. Every business person in the industry has suggestions on what to offer, she said.
The CAT ferry stopped running after the provincial government cancelled a subsidy that had kept the Bay Ferries Ltd. ferries running, effectively ending a service that had lasted more than a decade.
After months of negotiations and reports, the Nova Scotia government rejected proposals from two bidders interested in restarting the service and said last month it would not give up on finding a new ferry service for Yarmouth.