Columns and Letters

Letters: Continues his criticism of Cabot

Dear editor,

I am commenting on the letter written in the August 10th issue of the Oran by Alex MacDonald, who returned to Inverness after an absence of 56 years. His perspective is particularly notable, due to his long absence. 

As I have been saying for many years, while Cabot has been good for some people; those who have jobs (mostly seasonal, cleaners and servers, lousy pay) with Cabot; and some restaurants and businesses that are hired by Cabot: Cabot has not been good for the town and its people as a whole. 

Let’s briefly review the history, as far as I know it. For over a hundred years, there has been two beach roads. We all know what happened. A condition, precedent of the purchase, was that Cabot was required to provide a beach path to replace Beach Road #2. That was over five years ago. Nothing has been done to fulfill this condition that I am aware of. There has been lots of “talk” but as far as I am concerned, it is nothing but a stalling tactic on Cabot’s part. 

From day one, Cabot has not treated the town fairly, starting with the pittance of $1 royalty for a round of golf that Cabot charges $200 for. Do the math. It works out to a “generous” ½ of 1 per cent. Do you believe that? Think of all the needs of Inverness, and what it could do with a more appropriate royalty of, say, 5 per cent. When I spoke with Ben Cowan Dewar (now living in Toronto, and tourist director for the current incompetent government) over five years ago, he was stalling and saying a beach path couldn’t be done, despite numerous examples of public walkways across major golf courses all over the world, including Pebble Beach in California. Even Trump has public access on his courses in Scotland. In my opinion, Cabot has acted with extreme bad faith, and now they are asking to put up “cottages” which I’m sure will sell for millions. I can’t think of one good reason to grant these approvals until a beach path is put in and the original agreement is fulfilled, as it was supposed to be over five years ago.. 

There is another issue with which I am less familiar, but when the original fish plant at Beach Road #1 was purchased, there was a condition that there was to be a public picnic area, which did, in fact exist there for many years. Now, I understand that Cabot has taken that over and eliminated the public area. 

I am not an attorney, but I do know, if you purchase land with covenants and conditions, you are obligated to fulfill those covenants and conditions. The only explanation that I can think of for Cabot being allowed to openly and deliberately flout the law and its legal obligations, ignore these conditions, including their stalling putting in the beach path for over five years, is that the IDA, the councillors, and other authorities that have the power to force Cabot to follow it’s legal agreements, have turned a blind eye to these transgressions in order to serve the power and money of Cabot at the expense of the people of Inverness. 

What I find particularly galling is the fact that the people of Inverness gave Cabot the land and made the golf course possible, and the people of Inverness have been given the short end of the stick, or maybe I should say the shaft, ever since Cabot came on the scene. It seems that Cabot’s business model is that in order for them to win, someone has to lose. It wouldn’t have to be that way  if the governmental authorities had the guts and the integrity to make Cabot live up to its legal obligations. Cabot had illegally built on protected dunes, and the Crown said that it would be allowed, but Cabot must put in the beach path. Now the present Nova Scotia government is talking about letting them get away with this too, if they pay a “fee”. All the government councillors, ministers, and powers that be should all be ashamed of themselves for betraying the people of Inverness.

On another note, the Margaree airport is another typical Cabot move. They want the county to spend millions of dollars upgrading the airport based on a bogus study that was funded by the people who want the upgrade. I saw the study. The financial success of the airport depends on financial projects so unrealistic that they are laughable. So, let’s take a look. 

Who stands to benefit most from the airport upgrade? Obviously Cabot. Is Cabot putting up any money for this? Of course not. Who will have to absorb the inevitable losses? Not Cabot. It will be you and I, the taxpayers. Then Cabot will come in and “rescue” the county by buying the airport for pennies on the dollar. Don’t think it could happen? Don’t kid yourself. They bought and tore down one of the few motels in town, apparently so people would have to stay at their accommodations. Never mind that visitors lost a place to stay. They have their own restaurants, their own lodging, so not much money flows to Inverness businesses, compared to what Cabot gets. They have never cared about Inverness, only about making as much money as possible, and giving as little as possible to Inverness and its people, the ones who made the golf course possible. This is unfair and unacceptable. Don’t let them get away with this.

There is a meeting on August 29th at the Inverness Fire Hall to discuss Cabot’s application to build their cottages, and possibly take away the public picnic access from Inverness. I urge all people of Inverness to attend this meeting and express your demand that no further approvals be granted to Cabot until it fulfills its legal obligations to the community. They have built on protected lands and flouted the laws with impunity for too long. It’s time to stand up for your rights. 

Demand that your representatives represent you and not Cabot. As Alex MacDonald rightly stated in his letter, a second beach access is also a safety issue, and must be addressed. Now.

Anton Selkowitz

Dunvegan

 

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