© Guardian photo by Emma Childs
North Rustico Mayor Anne Kirk has plans to repaint the local shanties with bright colours in an effort to attract more tourists to the fishing town.
New town will refurbish its landscape and services for the summer season
NORTH RUSTICO — The small town of North Rustico has some big ideas in store as the summer season approaches.
To boost its tourist appeal, the town will see some refurbishing of its services and landscape over the next year.
“We want everything to be spruced up, all around,” Mayor Anne Kirk said in an interview from her office. “So that when you come in over the hill from Cavendish, or over the hill from Charlottetown, then you come into a livened community.”
Redesigning Centennial Park, repainting worn-down shanties and creating more walkways are just a few of the motions to be put forth in this effort.
Kirk also said she’d like to see the introduction of walking tours in the summer months and new boutiques to sell Island-made goods.
The town has applied for provincial grants to support its efforts, but has yet to hear of the application status.
“With the money we get, we’ll do as much as we can,” she said. “We’re keeping optimistic.”
In any case, Kirk hopes to see the painting of shanties underway this summer, whether fueled by grants or by volunteer efforts.
Renovating the park would be put on the back burner until after Canada Day, which Kirk said attracted upwards of 15,000 visitors in 2013.
“It would be very big to start something like that now.”
The town’s tourist season runs from May until November and sits just seven kilometres from the popular summer tourist destination of Cavendish. Despite competing economies, Kirk says the relationship between the two towns is harmonious.
Concern for the local economy was raised in 2012 when Cavendish Tourist Mart began selling liquor in Cavendish, when it had previously only been available at the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission in North Rustico. Despite this, Kirk says the traffic at their liquor store has not been affected.
Kirk insists the rejuvenation of her town is not solely focused on the economical aspect but on creating a stronger sense of community.
“Sometimes change is hard, but in this instance I don’t think so,” she said. “Everyone’s really supportive.”