Construction of a new Hilton hotel on the Acadia First Nation’s Yarmouth Reserve is eyed to get underway this spring with an opening targeted for July 2020.
The Acadia First Nation made an announcement of the development on its Facebook Page.
“The chief and council of the Acadia First Nation is pleased to announce that Acadia has been selected by Hilton Hotels to build a ‘tru by Hilton’ on the Yarmouth Reserve,” the announcement reads. “This hotel will have approximately 82 rooms, 1,000 square feet of meeting space and have a pool and water slide.”
A photo depicting a standard design of the hotel is included with the announcement, although the Acadia First Nation says its hotel will be slightly different than what is depicted.
“We are very pleased to have been selected by Hilton Hotels for this franchise,” reads the announcement, which was authorized by Chief Deborah Robinson.
“Not only will this hotel create income for our First Nation and employment for our Band members, it will also contribute to the general economy of the County of Yarmouth and the province of Nova Scotia,” the announcement reads. “It will create employment and training opportunities. It will foster tourism for the area and bring in guests from all over the world into our community to experience our Mi’Kmaq culture.”
News of this hotel project comes as other accommodations development is also taking place in Yarmouth. Rodd Hotels and Resorts is investing close to $7 million on renovations to its properties in Yarmouth. The Colony Harbour Inn is being reopened after the 65-room hotel closed in January 2011 following the end of ferry service in the area. Work is underway at the Colony property, which is located across the street from the ferry terminal. The work is scheduled for completion in September. Renovations will also be happening at the Rodd Grand Hotel in the fall, which includes refreshing and modernizing guest rooms, fitness facilities, meeting spaces and common areas.
Some motels in Yarmouth have also undertaken recent renovations, including the Best Western Mermaid Motel and the Comfort Inn.
The Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Association (YASTA) says it is very pleased to see a resurgence of investment in the area’s accommodations sector. YASTA says the ferry service is also playing a key role in this.
“The provincial investment in the international link to the United States has enabled hotels, B&B's and other fixed-roof accommodations to make investments and grow with the market. A market which has been steadily increasing year over year,” says YASTA executive director Neil MacKenzie. “Our association works very hard with all our accommodations partners to drive visitation and host events, especially in the shoulder seasons.”
MacKenzie notes quality accommodations and an adequate number of rooms is the foundation for building the tourism economy in this area and hosting larger events.
“The ongoing renovations by Rodd Hotels & Resorts and this announcement of a new US branded hotel demonstrate to me that our tourism economy is continuing to grow,” he said. “It's fantastic to see a new hotel development like this (the Acadia First Nation project) announced. We appreciate the investment these groups are making in the region and look forward to working with them.”
Victoria Brooks, the chief administrative officer for the Municipality of Yarmouth, in which the Acadia First Nation Yarmouth Reserve is located, says there are no zoning or land use requirements for the municipality to be involved with. “The lands where the prospective development is to take place is First Nations Reserve lands. Therefore, not subject to the Municipal Planning Strategy or Land-Use Bylaws,” she says.
Chief Robinson says the Acadia First Nation Band is very excited about this hotel development and look forward to moving forward with it.
“It’s amazing, I’m just so happy and the people are very happy,” she says.