The Town of Pictou won't open its floating museum this tourism season, leaving up to 17 people without work.

The Hector Heritage Quay commemorates the arrival of Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia in the late 1700s. It includes a replica of the Hector, the ship that carried the first wave of newcomers.

The waterfront site may be a major attraction in Pictou, but Mayor Joe Hawes said there isn't enough money to run it and upgrade the town's sewer system.

"We just find ourselves in a financial bind," he said Wednesday. "You have to set your priorities and make choices. And in this case we can't afford both."

Hawes said the town has to find the money to run its new sewage treatment plant, set to come online next month, as well as future upgrades required under upcoming federal wastewater regulations.

In addition, the insurance on the Hector runs out March 31, 2011, Hawes said, which means the town will need money to haul the boat out of the water for an inspection.

"That comes at a cost because we can't get it up in our local yard anymore because the slip is not running," he said. "We would have to haul it maybe to Pubnico or Shelburne. Just the towing back and forth would be well over $100,000."

Hawes said town officials will lobby the federal and provincial governments for help to keep the Hector afloat while they cope with the cost of the water treatment program.