Business displaced by Cornwall bypass finds new home
Land was expropriated a year ago this month
It's been a long road for a P.E.I. business since its land was expropriated for a Trans-Canada Highway diversion a year ago, but the Hughes-Jones Centre is planning a grand opening at a new location in August.
The Hughes-Jones Centre, established in 2008, used horse therapy to build the confidence of high-risk children.
The property was owned by the family of Ellen Jones. Jones owned the business on the property.
Jones said they knew they were going to have a problem when the diversion around Cornwall was announced in 2016. She started looking for a new location right away.
"We're really excited after the stretch of this journey to be able to rebuild and really get back to work," said Jones.
The journey included an arbitration hearing in a fight with the province for more money for the expropriated land.
As a result of that arbitration hearing, the province paid more than $830,000 for the land.
Jones also faced another obstacle when an attempt to develop the business in Meadowbank failed.
Jones said she was considering appealing the Meadowbank decision, but the opportunity came up in Nine Mile Creek, to the south of Cornwall, and she jumped at it.
"My home was actually torn down as well as my business, so I've been living out of a suitcase and with family for the past year," she said.
Jones was able to negotiate the purchase of the three hectares early this year, but it has taken some time to get all the approvals in place. That has happened now, and the company plans to break ground soon.
Closing the gender leadership gap
When the business reopens, said Jones, it will have an expanded mission.
"I'd like to really focus on closing that leadership gender gap that's happening right now between women and men, where we're not seeing as many women in leadership positions," she said.
"That really starts with young girls."
During the time she had when the business was closed, Jones took the opportunity to advance her education. She attended a leadership coaching program at Oxford University in the U.K., and will be back in England to receive her certificate later this month.
The expanded business will still have an equine component, she said, with seven horses on-site.
More P.E.I. news
With files from Angela Walker