Nova Scotia

Meat Cove tourism hurt by slow repairs

Residents of a small community on the northern tip of Cape Breton say they've waited too long for repairs after being hit by flash floods last August, and it will hurt tourism this summer.
The Meat Cove Beach is inaccessible to tourists after the bridge was washed out last August. (CBC)

Residents of a small community on the northern tip of Cape Breton say they've waited too long for repairs after being hit by flash floods last August, and it will hurt tourism this summer.

Torrential rains hit Meat Cove on Aug. 21 and 22, 2010. Flash floods damaged several buildings and wiped out the only road into the community.

Roads and culverts in Meat Cove were washed out by flash floods last August. ((CBC))
The force of the water twisted the main bridge sideways, cutting off the community and stranding more than 100 tourists. They were ferried out by boat.

The province carried out some temporary fixes, but not enough to save the tourism season.

Hector Hines, who rents accommodations, said the tourists never returned after the storm last August.

"There was no tourism at all after the flood and most of my taxes and stuff didn't get paid," he said Wednesday.

Hines said he hopes to make up the lost revenue this year, but he's not optimistic. The bridge to the beach has not been fixed yet, and it's the main attraction.

Inverness County is responsible for replacing the beach bridge. Officials say they are redesigning the tender so local people can get part of the work. It's uncertain when the tender will be called.

The delay frustrates Hines, who said his business at his lodge is down by 35 per cent.

Hector Hines said business is down drastically at his tourist lodge. ((CBC))
"Everything in government is slow, for sure. I mean, it shouldn't have took this long. It should have been done by now. It's not a big project, it's just people dragging the feet, dragging the feet," he said.

"I mean, it's great that we're getting all this help along and it's good they're going to do it, but it should have been done in the spring before tourism season came for sure."

Derrick MacLellan, who owns the community centre and restaurant, said tourist traffic is down 50 to 60 per cent so far this year.

"We thought that we could have been up and going and constructing and working by May or June, but that didn't happen," MacLellan.

"So we'll wait and see what will happen the next couple of weeks to a month."

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