Twenty community members joined in the conversation about tourism that took place at the McIntosh Country Inn, November 29.
Our Passport to the Future: A Tourism Stakeholder Discussion Forum provided the opportunity for interested community members to speak one on one with the community members who helped identify initiatives to strengthen South Dundas’ tourism sector.
As part of the session, those who attended were asked to rank five sectors on their potential to increase the number of visits, length of stay, repeat business and overall economic benefit in South Dundas. The sectors included; arts and culture, cycling, fishing and boating, history and motorcycling.
Although the question was very definitive, the answer provided by the participants was not.
“In terms of ranking, there is almost an even spread between the sectors,” said South Dundas Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan.
“Attendees generally agreed with the sectors and initiatives identified. Much of the feedback spoke to different ideas on applying the initiatives or ways to enhance them which can easily be applied to the implementation plan,” she said.
A common theme noted by the discussion facilitators was the desire to focus activity to the waterfront.
“The need for Lakeshore Drive to be paved was mentioned by several participants,” said Linda Wilson, who was facilitating discussions about cycling and motorcycling.
“The waterfront being a hub of activity is being talked about by a lot of people,” said Donnie Bowes who was facilitating discussions about arts and culture. “People see the waterfront as the place for farmers markets and markets where artisans can showcase their produce and crafts, the place for festivals, the place for people and artists to congregate.”
Susan Le Clair was facilitating discussions about history and noted that people, in the context of history, also believe the focus should be the waterfront.
“What people are talking about is a critical mass of different activities along the waterfront. These are things that we can probably accomplish,” she said pointing to examples of historical plaques and walking tours. “Things we can accomplish are as important as anything, because anything you can accomplish fuels the community’s enthusiasm.”
“The next step, and one of our most challenging given how many assets our community has to build on, is narrowing down to two or three areas of focus,” said Sullivan.
Information from this meeting will contribute to the final tourism development strategy. It will be presented to council in the new year.