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GERARD NADDAF: Are Cabot golf courses really economic catalysts?

Guest Opinion by Gerard Naddaf Saltwire - Nov. 19, 2022

Full article published here

If we turn to numbers released by Statistics Canada and Economics and Statistics Nova Scotia for Inverness Centre and Inverness County in general, we discover that the often-touted enormous benefits that Cabot golf courses bestowed on the local community and surrounding area are mostly a fantasy created by the owners and their lobbyists.

The population of Inverness County has been in decline from 2006 to 2018, which includes the heydays of the Cabot Links golf courses.

In 2016, Inverness Centre had a population of 1,248; in 2021, it was 1,228. The county of Inverness fared somewhat better. From 2016 to 2021, the population increased by 111 souls or 0.6 per cent. This was not, however, due to the existence of two world-class golf courses in Inverness, but because of the pandemic. To escape COVID restrictions and take advantage of the rise in remote working, interprovincial migration took off and a handful of folks chose Inverness County as their new “permanent” roost.

Not exactly taxpayers

Anyone, however, familiar with the intense real-estate campaigns connected with famous golf courses might ask: what happened to all the people?

You’d think the population of Inverness County would have exploded. Well, there are more souls, but they’re more like the wandering phantoms in Homer’s Hades. Their numbers swell in the nice weather, but these folks are not listed as residents. Why? Because they don’t pay taxes here.

The number of non-residents who see themselves as the lifeblood of the local community, running lucrative businesses (declared or otherwise) in the form of vacation rental properties and not paying income tax here, but rather in their home province or country of origin, is significant.

And, by taxes I just don’t mean property taxes that so many non-residents who have the “best” of the province during six or more months of the year so obsessively complain about at social events while boasting about their increased property values. They also pay no provincial income tax, which keeps the services afloat that we all count on.

Full article published here.

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