Mattawa resort feels 'short changed' by province
NORTH BAY -- Mattawa River Resort owner Nicole Grigorov says she feels ‘deflated’ after some provincial money she says she was promised by the Ford Government still hasn’t come.
The Grigorovs bought the resort in April, 2017 and put $1.5 million into renovations, with a view to turning it into a year-round facility. They applied for some provincial money from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund.
The Wynne Liberals, who were in power at that time, denied her application twice, saying they didn’t believe the resort was actually being used for tourists, but in 2018, when Doug ford came to power, the answer was different. .
Grigorov says she was told she was approved and was promised $147,000 to help pay for upkeep and the winterization of the cabins.
But as of Friday, Grigorov says the resort has only received $18,000 of that promised money, and she has some questions for her MPP, Vic Fedeli.
“I want to know, Mr. Fedeli and the new Conservative Government, if we’re open for business. Why is a small business like mine having to close our restaurant?” says Grigorov.
At a news conference Friday morning, the Nipissing MPP told reporters he couldn’t comment on this case in particular, but says the province has handed out $147 million to various projects through the Heritage Fund since June, 2018. The province has responded to the issue.
“NOHFC investments for approved projects are disbursed on a cost-incurred basis," a spokesperson for the province tells CTV News. "Not all project costs are eligible for reimbursement. Eligible project costs are determined by published program guidelines.”
Grigorov says she feels “hung out to dry.”
“When the cameras were on, Vic was ready to announce I was getting the $147,000 grant in front of everybody. Why now is nobody here?” says Grigorov.
The funding shortfall has also had staff implications as 17 workers have walked out on their jobs because their hours were being reduced.
“Without this grant, I’m not able to pay off some of the debt that I incurred and I would have really liked to that so I could have kept my staff,” says Grigorov.
Grigorov says family members have jumped on board to help manage the resort, but says she’s lost well over $50,000 since starting the initial application for grant funding back in 2017.
Grigorov says she isn’t optimistic the announced provincial money will ever come, and wonders why this happened.
“I guess being fiscally responsible doesn’t always pay off,” she says.
The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines oversees the NOHFC. Minister Greg Rickford offered this statement to CTV News in response:
"NOHFC investments for approved projects are disbursed on a cost-incurred basis. Not all project costs are eligible for reimbursement. Eligible project costs are determined by published program guidelines.
NOHFC will reimburse applicants for eligible expenses based on the terms and conditions of its legal agreement with an applicant. Clients are encouraged to work closely with NOHFC when undertaking their project to fully understand these terms and conditions agreed to in their contract.
NOHFC does not discuss the administration of specific projects with third parties. All funding recipients enter into a legal agreement with NOHFC and these agreements detail how project funding will be administered.
We encourage all clients to work directly with the NOHFC if they have questions or concerns. The NOHFC is here to help."