Tourism infrastructure crumbling into the ground

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In the Aug. 24 Telegram, I read of Russell Wangersky’s disappointment with the Burnside Heritage Foundation’s (BHF) infrastructure (“Ferry service doesn’t come cheap.”)

He is not the only one in such a frame of mind. Long Chute Lookout has had a “closed” sign on it for some time, as we know it is unsafe for public use; yet, many ignore the signs, at their peril, then complain.

A visit to The Beaches can also be illuminating. On a fine summer day you might find a dozen expensive boats there, their owners picnicking. Talk to them and you will quickly find their tax dollars built the wharfs there and at Bloody Bay Cove, and thus they have every right to use them. This is true; the average taxpayer has contributed less than 10 cents toward the structures, and that’s the limit of their support.

Many residents have been employed here during BHF’s 20-odd years of operation. That money, too, came from the taxpayer, mostly in the form of federal government programs designed to help the indigent. These ended two years ago and the province took over the Job Creation Program. However, at minimum wage, most potential employees say it isn’t worth the effort and it will interfere with their EI.

Volunteers? Apart from the rapidly diminishing board of directors, there are none. Wharf users are not wharf builders; no one picks up a few boards and a hammer on a slack weekend. No donations are made.

Boat insurance and maintenance are out of the question. Advertising is unaffordable. There are no public benefactors.

The federal government has very little to do with Burnside but does provide funds to hire a student for six weeks each summer. BHF is not responsible for their Terra Nova website and, furthermore, there has not been a devastating fire in Burnside since 1912.

Bruce Hynes, chairman

Burnside Heritage Foundation

Organizations: Heritage Foundation

Geographic location: Terra Nova

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