IN THE NEWS: New cliffside glamping coming to Cape Breton's western coast
Archer's Edge Luxury Camping installing 5 all-weather domes equipped with beds, kitchenette, toilets
Tom Ayers · CBC News · Posted: Sep 18, 2018 6:00 AM AT | Last Updated: September 18
Scott Archer has driven posts for a fence along the edge of a cliff on his property. (Tom Ayers/CBC)
A Cole Harbour, N.S., man with long-standing family ties to Judique, Cape Breton, is putting his heart and soul into a new venture.
Scott Archer is currently building a glamping — or glamorous camping — facility on a cliff overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The new business is expected to help address some of the growing need for accommodations on the west side of the island.
Archer's mother's family has owned the property for more than a century.
"This property has been in our family since 1891," he said. "It was used as farmland for quite a few years, and it kind of fell through with the farming industry at one point and it just sat here.
"I came out here last year and realized the beauty, and I'm sure my great-great-grandfather enjoyed the sunsets, as well."
'I decided to do some living'
Archer visited the property every year as a kid, until his father died.
"I'm 43 now," said Archer. "He died when he was 42. When I turned 42, it was a question of am I going to live or die, and I decided to do some living, and you know, took the bull by the horns, and I know he's proud now watching what I'm doing, for sure."
Archer and two silent partners are calling the business Archer's Edge Luxury Camping.
The company has secured a loan for nearly $132,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency with a matching amount from the InRich Community Business Development Corporation. The total cost of the project is expected to be $329,000.
Archer has cleared some forest, installed underground sewer, water and electricity, and put up a fence along the edge of the cliff.
Over the next month or so, workers will be installing dome structures that will be all-weather, self-contained units with beds, chairs, a kitchenette, toilets and a shower.
Scott Archer's property overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Tom Ayers/CBC)
They'll also have west-facing windows.
"We're going to put up five geodesic domes and share this beautiful view with folks that want to come and see it," said Archer.
"They're going to be braced to a deck. They can handle up to 200-kilometre gusts, so for anyone that's not faint of heart, if they want to come up in the hurricane season, they can enjoy the view with a wood stove in the corner and watch the sunset or watch a storm come in off the coast."
According to Archer's business plan, there's plenty of demand for all kinds of accommodations in Inverness County, including high-end camping facilities.
InRich CEO Perry Chandler said glamping has been growing in the county.
Scott Archer plans to install all-weather domes, similar to this one as pictured on the manufacture's website. (F. Domes)
"Cape Breton is on top of most people's minds now in Canada and around the world when it comes to vacations, so we've been getting all kinds of inquiries in terms of what's available, what types of projects would the business development centre consider investing in," Chandler said.
The development of the Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs golf courses in the town of Inverness has put a strain on tourist accommodations, he said, pushing demand out into the county.
"I think the market is still here for growth," said Chandler. "It's good that it's expanding further out into areas of the community, as well ... so what's happened is Mabou and Port Hood, Margaree and Chéticamp areas have picked up some of that slack."
Archer said he's not targeting golfers, although some may choose to stay at his resort.
"We're looking for a lot of adventure-seekers and people that enjoy the live music locally [like] hikers, bikers," he said. "There's beaches around the corner."
The 176 yard, par 3, 16th hole at Cabot Cliffs, the seaside links golf course in Inverness, N.S. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)
Initially, Archer's Edge will be a base for people looking to visit the region's attractions, said Archer. On-site activities may be added in the future, though.
"The Cabot Links and the Cabot Cliffs, they've drawn a lot of attention to the area and shown the beauty, so we're just going to expand on that beauty and we're open to everyone," he said.
Archer said he would like to be open mid-October for the island's biggest music festival, but it's not likely, because the dome structures are still being shipped from the European manufacturer.
"I don't know if we'll get Celtic Colours, but the beauty of what we have is these domes are actually insulated, and with a wood stove ... this opens us up into the winter season," he said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 32 years. He has spent the last 14 years covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.