Montague waterfront group shows support after Dewar leaves in tears

Owner of Sir Isaac's Restaurant wants in on signage plans for the area

Steve Sharratt comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on April 19, 2014

Standing on her restaurant deck, Anne Dewar’s facility overlooks the Montague River and is across from the new Riverhouse Inn hotel. The Montague waterfront development corporation wants to find ways to include restaurant owner Dewar in future promotions.

©Steve Sharratt - The Guardian

MONTAGUE — A tearful restaurant owner hoping to find solace at a waterfront corporation meeting here Wednesday night left before the support she was seeking was voiced.

Anne Dewar was hoping the town’s waterfront corporation would assist in her request to deal with snack truck vendors that set up during the summer and affect her year round operation.

“I pay taxes, I operate year round, and I just want to see some controls on operators who only come for the high point of the season,’’ she told the waterfront corporation annual meeting.

Especially since the front door of her Sir Isaac’s restaurant may open on Main Street, but here back door deck for eating and drinking overlooks the town waterfront.

“I would gladly support seeing Anne included in the waterfront signage,’’ offered fellow restaurant owner Louise Verleun who operates the Station Café near the marina on the north side of the river.

Dewar’s restaurant is on the south side overlooking the fishing wharf and the new Artisan on Main headquarters that is now under construction. She told the packed corporation meeting that lack of signage allowed by the government prevents tourists walking the riverfront from having any idea of her facility just up the hill.

The structure of the meeting broke down with other issues, including the group’s future, and Dewar left in tears convinced her pleas would be ignored. However, no sooner had she departed when supporters encouraged action.

“In my mind the whole lower part of the town is the waterfront,’’ insisted Jock Beck, a former town councillor. “Why doesn’t everyone get together and market it as such.”

Businessman Barry Beck agreed and said there must be some way for the waterfront businesses to work collectively towards signage indications to alert visitors. The south side is expanding with a new development project this year and proper signage to indicate available businesses should be included along with Dewar’s restaurant.

“I can fully understand Anne’s situation and her trouble with signage… I have the same problem,’’ said Verleun.

Waterfront chairman Niall MacKay said the Department of Tourism won’t even allow the group to advertise the musical acts playing at the waterfront throughout the summer on Main Street signs.

“Tourism made us take down our sign that was advertising the entertainment,” he said. “I would suggest the new board meet with business people and come up with something.”

Beck, who operates Beck’s Home Furniture on the south side, suggested a collective waterfront sign, including Sir Isaac’s, should be created for the area. “I think I speak for all of us when I say we feel terrible that Anne left so upset,’’ said resident and former mayor Pat McGowan. “And I urge you to come up with an idea to help her. She has done so much for this town.”

Councillor Jim Bagnall, who attended as liaise to the town, said the municipality is already looking into the bylaws used by the cities of Charlottetown and Summerside to manage summer food vendors.