Business owner hopes to stay at historic train station

Dave Mathieson
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Ryan Beattie hopes he can work with government officials to keep his business, Hairstyles by Ryan, at the historic train station in Amherst. Beattie has been told to vacate the building by April 1.

AMHERST - Commerce might be all that keeps the historic Amherst train station from falling into dilapidated disrepair.

"As of April 1, I have to be out," said Ryan Beattie, who runs his business, Hairstyles by Ryan, out of the Via Rail train station.

"I can relocate, but that's the last thing I want to do. If I can work something out to maintain this location, I'm willing to do that."

Federal funding was cut to Via Rail by $6.5 million this year, and the Amherst train station hit the chopping block and closed Oct. 27.

The federal government owns the building, and Beattie's business has become collateral damage in the cutbacks.

"They want me out of here because they want to be able to shut the heat down, but if they do that this place will become dilapidated and fall apart," he said. "These old buildings need to be maintained, they have to have somebody in them to give them some love."

The building is a historic property that sits on Crown land, and town councillor Robert Bird said there are steps that need to be followed when the government tries to sell a historic property.

"Keeping with my understanding with how that process works is, it's a federal building, and it's first offered up for provincial use, and then offered up for municipal use so, sooner or later, it may fall to the town to do something with it," said Bird.

"The process is unfolding as we speak," he added. "The thing about it is that it started with the closing of the Via Rail passenger service here and the loss of those jobs, now it's having a potential negative impact on a business person in this facility.

"The last thing the town wants to do is to make it difficult to do business here, but we certainly don't want another boarded up, vacant building, especially a heritage property such as this.

Bird says the town is open for solutions and suggestions, so that whatever happens is thought out in a methodical manner that is beneficial to everyone concerned. 

"We don't want what happened in Sackville with their heritage train station, and other trains stations all across the country, that are just sitting there and deteriorating," he said. 

Bird said it's a ‘wonderful old building for a commercial venture.'

"Id like to see something positive come of this opportunity, and we're wide open for suggestion," he said. "Everyone talks about heritage until it comes time to write the cheque."

Beattie has been running his business out of the train station for about 18 months, and has put a lot of time and money into the property.

"This is something unique. It's tough to replace," he said. "The biggest thing to me is that this station is something to be proud of. It's something we should fight for. I don't see why they can't have a tenant in it.

"I want people to know that this building could be lost forever if we don't take the time to address the problem now."


Organizations: Via Rail

Geographic location: Sackville

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • dear me
    November 08, 2012 - 07:27

    It should be maintained!...Just to throw an idea, the other side could be transformed into a nice little pub or diner...Amherst needs more places to eat, and the area is full of character with the tracks there. Ample parking.....remember what Riddles used to be??...

  • Haley
    November 08, 2012 - 05:53

    Mr. Beattie and Mr. Bembridge should get together and come up with a plan. We need to keep all we have that's historic and beautiful in our town. Come on Jeff.... you've got the magic touch. What can we put in the rest of the building that will keep interest in our downtown?

  • reg
    November 07, 2012 - 18:39

    One other building that comes to mind when I think of the old Amherst Train station is the one in Mcadam, NB. ,although larger is used in different ways. Both are beautiful old buildings, I believe Mcadam has made a multi use faciltiy, which I hope Amherst does. The Mayor is on board so the situation will hopefully result in the heritage property being put to good use. A restaurant, live theatre, visitors centre and small business use appropriate for this property come to mind. The building is an imposing downtown structure and very much adds to the area.

  • Alicia
    November 07, 2012 - 12:19

    While I think that having multiple apartments and a bar in a historical building was a bit of a safety hazard I realize that this is a completely different scenario. Having one small business in this building will ensure it stays in a healthful state. It's a shame, every time I return to Amherst for a visit it has become ever more deplorable.

  • J.Bowden
    November 07, 2012 - 10:48

    I agree with Mr.Beattie fully on his statements. The building is beautiful and has been around for over 100 years. We need to do something to keep this historical building running. I for one don't want to see any more of our great towns history lost. I applaud Ryan for doing what he is doing and am here to support him 100 percent.

  • Cumberlander
    November 06, 2012 - 23:03

    Ryan Beattie is dead on the mark. If left vacant, the Amherst Station will slip into disrepair and either fall victim to fire or be torn down. Revitalization of the Amherst Station through commerce would add to the character of downtown Amherst.