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Closed Yarmouth hotel provides support to local organization as building's future is pondered

The vacant Rodd Colony Inn, which sits across from the ferry terminal in Yarmouth.
The vacant Rodd Colony Inn, which sits across from the ferry terminal in Yarmouth.

YARMOUTH – It has been six years since the Rodd Colony Harbour Inn in Yarmouth closed its doors, but it recently reopened them to help a local organization provide furnishings to young people and the president of Rodd Hotels and Resorts says the intention isn’t for the building to sit vacant forever.

YARMOUTH - “What is the plan for the colony? We’re looking at a number of different things,” Rodd president and CEO Mark Rodd said in a March 7 interview.

“There are a lot of rumours out there that we’ve sold the building, but nothing has transpired to date,” he said. “But we are still working with two, possibly three, interested parties on it, and the third might just be us. We might look at the possibility of opening it again in 2018, but again, we’re just sort of gauging everything.”

Rodd said if they it opened up again, the furniture inside of it now won’t be used.

“So that’s why it’s good to get rid of it and find it a new home,” he said.

And that recently happened with some of the furnishings.

Local businessman Mitch Bonnar has been keeping an eye on the property since it closed. He suggested to Mark Rodd that they consider donating some of the furnishings and items inside to SHYFT Youth Services, which provides services and assistance to homeless and at-risk youth. While based in Yarmouth, the services are provided to youth in Yarmouth, Shelburne and Digby counties.

SHYFT was invited to tour the hotel and take items it could use.

“For here at the house itself, we only took a table and a sofa, but what we were able to do is we were able to provide furniture for several youth who have their own apartment but didn’t have any furniture,” explains SHYFT executive director Adam Dolliver. A goal of SHYFT is to help youth over the age of 18 to transition into their own place to live. “This enabled them to outfit their apartments and it was everything – it was beds, linens, pillows, blankets, dressers, tables, chairs, lamps, quite a few things.”

A volunteer with a truck helped transport the furnishings to the various apartments. It took several trips back and forth.

“In retrospect I should have rented a U-Haul. I didn’t quite anticipate how much furniture the youth would be getting,” Dolliver said. “We were just amazed.”

SHYFT workers and some young people it’s helped were very appreciative of a donation of items from the closed Rodd Colony Harbour Inn.

The Colony Harbour Inn closed at the end of January 2011. The company cited a slumping economy and no ferry service in its decision to close. Early on, the hotel was used a couple of times to house visitors in town for events because extra capacity was needed – such as teams here for the World Junior A Challenge in 2012, but that isn’t an option anymore, given the work needed on the building, Mark Rodd says.

The Colony restaurant stayed open after the hotel closed, but it closed in 2013.

Meanwhile, it was recently announced that $2 million in renovations will be happening at the Rodd Grand Hotel. Upgrades are planned to refresh and modernize guest rooms, fitness facilities, meeting spaces and common areas in that facility.

Mark Rodd credits the resumption of ferry service for the decision to move forward with renovations.

“If it wasn’t for the ferry service we wouldn’t be able to put money back into that property,” he said. “The stability of that ferry service is very important to us as well. With the renovations we’re looking forward to it and getting things underway very shortly.”


 

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