Nova Scotia

Sale of Ben Eoin inn criticized

The owners of The Birches Country Inn in Ben Eoin say they've been lambasted by online commenters criticizing them for selling the property because of their connection with Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation.

Inn's connection with ECBC called into question

The Birches Country Inn in Ben Eoin is up for sale. (The Birches Country Inn website)

The owners of The Birches Country Inn in Ben Eoin say they've been lambasted by online commenters criticizing them for selling the property and for their connection with Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation.

The inn and its four hectare property are being sold for $1.7 million.

ECBC has been under fire from the public recently because of a decision to put $4 million into a new marina at Ben Eoin while simultaneously buying the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club building to possibly demolish it.

The Birches has been mentioned on the Cape Breton Post website, in response to recent stories about ECBC's investment in the Ben Eoin marina project.

One unnamed commentator states the inn was built by a best buddy of ECBC's former CEO.

Larry MacPherson and his wife own the Birches.

He said he takes exception to those comments.

"This is typical Cape Breton. If somebody is doing something, and somebody says, well they got all this free money. And he was a friend of the CEO of ECBC and that's why they have the inn and, it's frightening. If I knew what we were going to go through from the public perception of a small business developing, I would never, ever, ever do it again," said MacPherson.

MacPherson said some people have misconceptions about his inn and the loan he received from ECBC.

"We're getting all this free, we're making, you know, we're selling the inn for $1.7 million and they're getting $1.7millon besides everything else they received. None of that is true."

MacPherson said ECBC was looking for proposals ten years ago to develop the property beside the ski hill.

At the time, he and his wife were shopping around for somewhere to set up an inn.

Their proposal was accepted, and they received a $500,000 loan from ECBC.

He said it will be paid off, on schedule, later this year.

"In order to borrow the $500,000 we had to have $500,000 unencumbered. So if the place fell apart, we were totally responsible ourselves."

MacPherson said they've achieved a five star rating and created the equivalent of five full-time jobs.

ECBC confirms they've met the requirements of the loan.

MacPherson, 72, said they're selling the inn now because they're ready to retire

The inn has only managed to break even the last two years.

MacPherson said it will likely have to start making money before attracting any buyers.

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