Nova Scotia

Tatamagouche Centre lays off staff as it copes with insolvency

Nova Scotia’s Tatamagouche Centre is laying off all of its staff and facing an uncertain future because it owes more money than it’s taking in.

60-year-old retreat overwhelmed by mounting bills and falling revenue

The Tatamagouche Centre has offered retreats for 60 years. (Facebook)

Nova Scotia's Tatamagouche Centre is laying off all of its staff and facing an uncertain future because it owes more money than it's taking in.

The 60-year-old retreat centre offers professional and personal retreats and training to a wide range of groups.

Jennifer Graham, volunteer chairwoman of the centre, says they recently took an in-depth look at their finances. Several years of declining visitors had taken a toll and the centre is financially insolvent.

"We have to dramatically reduce our expenses. One of the sad ways we're doing that is we have issued layoff notices for staff," she said.

All 15 workers will be out of jobs in the fall. The centre will host all of its scheduled events until at least October.

Beyond that, things get murky.

Public meeting on Aug. 29

"Our hope as a board, and the reason we've made this difficult decision, is that we can increase the likelihood that we are going to survive," Graham said.

"We're in a financial crisis and every bit of money we get that helps us reduce our debt and meet our obligations gives us that much more breathing room to figure out a way out of this."

They're seeking donations and holding an open meeting at the centre on Aug. 29 to try and find a way forward.

"We want to make sure as we do this that we're honouring the work and the relationships, but we're not getting further into debt," she said.

"It is a place where people come together to transform themselves."

Michael Gregory, the councillor for the area, said it would be a blow to the village.  

"They do employ quite a few people," he said. "This month they're having Festimagouche. They're attracting a lot of people to this community."

Many retreat visitors make the short walk or drive into village, bringing business for shops and restaurants, he said. 

"It's a shame ... if that closes," he said. "Hopefully they can revive."

Gregory said the general economic health of the village is strong


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