July 17, 2017 3:17 pm
Updated: July 17, 2017 5:37 pm

Ministers Island, N.B. restoration project underway at Van Horne Estate

WATCH ABOVE: The ball is rolling in what proponents hope will be a long term tourism strategy for Ministers Island in St. Andrews, N.B. As Andrew Cromwell reports the historic Van Horne Estate is receiving almost $1 million in funding from both the province and Ottawa.

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There are bold new plans in place for a provincial and federal heritage site just off the coast of St. Andrews, N.B. as the federal and provincial governments have announced almost a million dollars towards the historic Van Horne Estate.

The estate is found on Ministers Island and was the former summer residence of William Van Horne, a driving force behind the construction of Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800s.

Government funding from the province and Ottawa is part of a long term tourism strategy.

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“A lot of the funding was for the development of the business plan and from that we’ve established the top priorities right now are the hiring of an executive director to implement that plan,” said Brian Usher, chairman of the Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Board.

The funding announcement is being called a first step in the overall plan for the island, a plan that is estimated at $20 million but spread over a long period of time.

“How long?,” asked Usher. “That really depends on the spirit, the interest is on various corporations, individuals and the government.”

Long-term plans include several chalets, dock access to the island, and food services. If realized, close to 50 jobs could be created generating $1.3 million in payroll.

The federal government has also had involvement in the project.

“We have worked on a long term strategy, we’ve worked with the group, we worked on funding and a business plan,” said New Brunswick Southwest MP Karen Ludwig.

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New Brunswick Tourism Minister John Ames added, “Sometimes we don’t take advantage as New Brunswickers, as Canadians or as residents from this area of how much raw natural beauty we have to offer right here.”

More money for the island, specifically the Van Horne barn, is expected in the coming weeks.

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