PE Ledger

Soaring gas costs leave Cavendish, P.E.I., tourism operators struggling to find staff


Key takeaways: 

  • ‘I understand it’s costly to drive down here every day,’ the restaurant owner states.
  • Mya Welton, store manager of COWS ice cream in Cavendish, P.E.I., says she feels the rising gas price.

Business owners in P.E.I.’s largest seasonal resort region expect a busy summer following two years of COVID-19 limitations — but numerous are struggling to find staff for the upcoming tourist season.

On P.E.I.’s North Coast, Cavendish is known for its white-sand beaches, coastal trails, and campgrounds. It’s the house of Green Gables Heritage Place, the site that encouraged Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables novels.

It’s also approximately 40 kilometers outside Charlottetown, and the province depends heavily on the mainly young seasonal team as the unincorporated community’s population surges by the thousands in the summer months.

But with the cost of gas striking record highs on P.E.I. — the lowest price at the pump for a liter of regular gasoline increased to $2.108 Monday evening — those seasonal jobs are getting harder to fill.

“Gas costs are our number one reason we can’t get staff right now,” said Mya Welton, who handles the COWS ice cream shop at Avonlea Village.

Also read: Man, 20, dies after tumbling down a cliff on P.E.I.’s North Shore

the cost of gas striking record highs on P.E.I.

Welton herself drives 30 minutes to work and states the increasing gas price crosses her mind daily — particularly as a student taking loans.

“I’ve been here for six years … when it comes to it, it’s like, [the owners] need a team, and I want to help out as much as I can.”

She said that the shop’s owners had raised salaries to help sweeten the deal for possible workers over the summer, but she expects tip money will help offset the commute.

Negotiating salaries

Tourism is key to P.E.I.’s economy, and it’s gearing up for an active summer. Now that the Island has reopened, businesses expect to make up for tourism dollars lost during the pandemic — and they’re even more hopeless about employing the staff they require. 

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