By Angelica Ingram
Less than two months at the helm of Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre new owners the AuroraHotel Group are already making big plans for a renovation and overhaulof the tourism destination.
Resort owners Vince and Ravi Auroraaddressed Dysart councillors at their Sept. 28 meeting with PinestoneResort general manager John Teljeur to give an update on what the owners have in mind for the resort.
The group owns other businesses throughout the province said Ravi president of the company.
“We fell in love with it [Haliburton] the first time we came to seeHaliburton” he said. “We own a number of other businesses acrossOntario but Pinestone is our focus at the moment. We plan on expandingPinestone to be what it should have been many years ago.”
Plans thus far include undergoing a $2 million renovation which will focus on the restaurants lobby guest suites and more.
The group would also like to build a car wash/gas station on the property where there formerly was a gas station.
The owners are also hoping to build a plaza/medical facility near the resort.
“In the plaza we’re hoping we can bring in some kind of financialinstitution which would be very helpful. As well as some sort ofmedical facility. Medical facilities that we don’t have right now inHaliburton.”
There is also a possibility the group will be branding the hotel.
In addition to changing the facility the hotel group wants to strengthen relationships within the community said Ravi.
“We feel the strength of Pinestone is Haliburton so why not haveHaliburton in Pinestone?” he said. “Our plan is to … try and bring inlocal art different events and stuff that really caters to the locals.Because it’s the culture of Haliburton that really makes it sobeautiful.”
Councillors were receptive to the plans and what they would mean for Haliburton County.
“This is pretty exciting stuff” said Reeve Murray Fearrey.
Ravi told council construction on the plaza would start soon beginning with the gas station portion.
Deputy-reeve Andrea Roberts congratulated the business owners and asked about the existing ballroom.
“The ballroom has always been a bit of a stumbling block because of the smallness … [are] there plans to expand the ballroom?” she asked.
Ravi said there were plans to expand resulting in a fairly large banquet facility.
Teljeur said to tap into some of the competing markets out there theresort would need the ballroom to be between 5000 and 6000 squarefeet.
“We have about 3000 right now” he said. “It really is if you build it they will come.”
Accessibility is another thing the hotel group wants to address at the resort and is looking at putting an elevator in.
Improvements to the parking lot are going to start this week.
Ravi said he anticipates the construction period could take upwards of two years to complete.