The unopened Louisbourg-Gabarus road has been an ongoing source of anguish for those along Cape Breton's southeast coast. Closed in the mid-1960s after being open for centuries, it was always hoped that it would be reopened one day.
A 2008 study indicated that it would "generate considerable economic impact" along the Fleur-de-Lis Trail. As part of the study, a survey of approximately 1,700 tourists was conducted, with about 60 per cent indicating they would travel the Fleur-de-Lis Trail if it was completed between Gabarus and Louisbourg.
That would mean more people travelling through Richmond County, through Gabarus and Louisbourg, and along the Marconi Trail into Glace Bay. The number would be upwards of 200 thousand people if weight is given to the 60 percent figure.
When the study was carried out visitation to the fortress stood at 95 thousand. In 2014 it was at 66 thousand. In 2000 it was 137 thousand. So between 2000 and 2014 there was over a 50 percent drop in numbers. A number of businesses have also shut their doors since 2008. If the road is reopened an influx of people would help these shuttered doors reopen. And again generating revenue.
As decision makers you have an important decision to make. You each have some or complete power to make this happen. Let it be on your watch that the green light was given to reopen a road that should never have been closed and right a 50 year old wrong.
From the Gabarus side this comment:"Friends of Gabarus Nova Scotia Friends of Gabarus is also Friends of Louisbourg. Let's throw our full support behind this and get it done! "
Gabarus has accomplished a lot over the last few years, with the seawall, the lighthouse being saved and work on the Gull Cove Trail. Louisbourg is on it's way to accomplishing just as much, but in no way is it a competition. There might be some division on the Louisbourg waterfront project but the numbers don't lie, and with the success of this project and the Louisbourg Gabarus Trail, Louisbourg will have better days, and with it the whole southeast coast of Cape Breton.