Sandspit Inn opens, amid controversy

  • Jun. 16, 2014 5:00 a.m.

By Laura Bishop–Some Sandspit business owners oppose a non-profit society offering accommodations and meals, saying its prices undercut theirs and that the community wasn’t adequately consulted.”I’m all for competition. If a private business owner came in and leased the hotel, I wouldn’t care. But this non- profit is able to charge 1982 prices,” said Donna Brady, owner of Brady’s Bistro in the Sandspit Airport, “they need to keep on level ground. Charge equal rates, or thereabouts. Undercutting is not fair game and if it’s not a fair competition, you just can’t compete.”Six businesses signed a petition opposing the Sandspit Community Society opening the Sandspit Inn Hotel starting last Sunday (June 15).The hotel, across the street from the airport, offers accommodation and is open for breakfast and lunch five days a week until its liquor license is approved, when it will be open for dinner, said society director Evan Putterill.The society was able to lease the Inn from Transport Canada using debt financing and funds generated by its operation of the Sandspit Visitor Centre, he said, which is a contract it bid upon and was awarded.Mr. Putterill said a notice went out in mid-May, ensuring the Sandspit community knew of its intentions to re-open the establishment. It also requested the community’s help and listed employment opportunities.”We seek your support in this venture and hope to hear from you soon,” it reads.Ms Brady said the small-print posters were not adequate notification, and she questions how the project will benefit Sandspit residents, as the notice claims.”They should have went around to ask the community if that was their intention,” she said, “How come the community doesn’t know anything about it? It’s only their little group.”Northern Shores Lodging and Catering proprietor Judy Hadcock said, “they put out a notice, but we weren’t contacted or asked. It would be a common courtesy before undertaking anything when it’s for the benefit of the community.” There isn’t enough tourism revenue to go around as it is, said Ms Hadcock, whose accommodations aren’t fully booked on any date this summer.Mr. Putterill said the society’s primary goal is to provide a facility in Sandspit that offers a full service hotel with a restaurant and bar, adding there was pressure from within the community to have a social scene.”Our focus is on bringing in more people, not by stealing business but by promoting tourism,” he said.Petition signer Dan Coulter, owner of Moresby Island Guest House, said he thinks the society’s intentions are good, but misguided.Ms Brady said she finds it difficult to trust a society that claims to have the community’s best interests in mind, when she’s never heard of it before and knows nothing about it.”I’m not even sure who all the directors are,” Ms Hadcock said, “and I want to know how I can become a member.”Both women said they think the society’s lack of communication is going to tear the community apart.”I think it’s going to drive a wedge in the community. We don’t need the added conflict,” said Ms Hadcock, “I don’t think it benefits the community whatsoever.”Mr. Putterill said the petition was received less than a week before the scheduled opening, and that while he understands the concerns, it’s too late to turn back now.”It’s unfortunate that the petition just came forward. If it had come out closely after we put out the notice, then we may have been in a position to not move forward,” he said, “we’ve invested money in the project, bought equipment, beds, everything in the hotel. We signed a lease for the building. At this point if we were to not go ahead the society would not be able to operate and the directors would have to pay the bill.”The Sandspit Inn Hotel is up and running, but Ms Brady said she would still like to meet with the Sandspit Community Society as a way for community members to have their concerns addressed.

Just Posted

This week in photos | The spirit of giving comes to Haida Gwaii

Masset Lions Telethon, Queen Charlotte’s annual craft fair, Fields store coming along in Skidegate

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Masset residents receiving extra incentive to get home safe this holiday season

Masset RCMP, B.C. Liquor Store and local elementary schools team up to curb drinking and driving

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read