By Jenn Watt
Ravi Aurora sees big changes in Pinestone’s very near future.
The new owner of the Haliburton Highlands resort and conference centre gave an overview of his dreams for the location after the Haliburton County Development Corporation’s annual general meeting on Oct. 7.
“We did come to see that Haliburton has some needs that are not being met and we feel as a developer and a hotelier we can help fill that gap and help develop Haliburton,” Aurora told the group gathered at Pinestone.
He started by outlining plans for a plaza in the lot formerly occupied by a gas station on County Road 21 beside Pinestone.
The idea is to tear down the derelict building and replace it with a plaza including a gas station and a fast-food restaurant.
He said having the plaza would draw more local people toward Pinestone. As was discussed at a previous Dysart et al council meeting, Aurora said he’d like to have a medical centre at the location.
The gas station would have a car wash around back and streetlights would line the property. Aurora said they should know within a week which gas station brand would be attached to the site. The group was taking into account prices and incentive systems such as Air Miles.
At Pinestone Resort itself, the Aurora group wants to improve the aesthetic and develop areas such as the fitness centre and restaurants.
The slideshow featured local art, plants and trees that will adorn the resort. A country chic theme is planned for inside.
Entertainment will also draw on the local population.
“We plan on doing events that are geared towards locality more and tourists will enjoy what the locals have to offer,” he said.
Aurora said his family has become deeply connected to the Highlands; his parents want to retire here.
He asked that those with suggestions visit his company’s website – www.aurorahotelgroup.com – and email him from there.
Aurora told the group that he had grown up in Port Hope and then attended York University. He and his brothers are in the construction business and have recently branched into the hotel industry a year ago. They also have a hotel in Brantford.
After discovering Haliburton, Aurora said he was motivated to tell others about what a great tourism destination it is. He said that his friends frequently talk about travelling to Blue Mountain, Muskoka and Wasaga Beach, but rarely Haliburton. He hopes that by developing Pinestone and marketing it (and the region) broadly more people will see what the Highlands has to offer.