Saturday, October 25, 2008

Humber Valley Turns the Lights Out

It is with great regret that we learn of the near demise of the Humber Valley Golf Resort near Cornerbrook in Newfoundland in Canada. If you visit the company's homepage today you'll merely get an announcement that it has filed for protection from its creditors. This means that, barring a miracle, the company and its assets will be liquidated.

This is most unfortunate on a number of levels. Of course it will come as a huge blow to owners in the resort, but Humber Valley was much more than just your typical resort. Apart from being a wonderful golf course and a spectacular holiday resort, it provided lots of much needed employment in an area of Canada that didn't have very much of it. The resort helped keep builders, maintenance crews, golf course professionals, bar & restaurant staff, food and materials providers and even staff at the local Deer Lake airport in employment. The announcement will come as a huge blow to the entire region.

We visited Humber Valley for a week in April '07 and had a wonderful time while there. The staff were courteous and efficient (with wonderfully weird Waterford/Canada accents) and it was very much a 'different' type of holiday from your average getaway. The resort's passing, should it come to pass, will be very much regretted. It would have appeared last year that the resort was on the path to great things with it's golf course being voted the best in all of Canada for 2007.

It is difficult to know whether the demise has come about because of the credit crunch or merely poor management of the resort. Brian Dobbin, on who's concept the resort was originally developed, moved on last year, and the remaining owners would appear to have found that the resort was simply not viable as an on-going concern.

It is to be hoped that the problems at Humber Valley won't have a similar affect on Newfound Property's sister resorts in the Caribbean, Pinney's Estate and Ocean's Edge on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The company raised £3.6m from a share placing and a further £7m from two of its directors in Dec. 07, details here. At the time the company declared part of its strategy was to "Focus on the conservation of working capital in the near term, including, inter alia, reduction of overheads at Humber Valley Resort." This would appear to have been a strategy that hasn't worked thus far.

In August this year an announcement was made that 40 employees at the resort were to be made redundant and that it would no longer run a hotel and tourism operation. It also said that it was ending the practice of helping owners rent out their properties.

You can find the full Humber Valley story here, as it may have disappeared from the Humber Valley Resort homepage by the time you read this.

If you are looking for updates on the Humber Valley story you'll find Gary Kelly's blog and the Crazy about Newfoundland blog to be exceptional resources.

There is an update on this story here.

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