MORRISBURG – Tourism is being brought back in to the economic development fold.
Council discussed that opportunity at the January 10th committee of the whole meeting.
“I haven’t worked on any tourism files during my tenure here in South Dundas,” Rob Hunter, South Dundas’ economic development officer told council at that meeting.
Traditionally here in South Dundas, under all of its economic development officers, tourism was in the EDO portfolio.
But the last council removed tourism from the EDO job description when they brought back the position after going nine months without an EDO.
Staff explained that the removal of tourism from the job description was a condition of bringing back the EDO position.
“I have certainly wanted to be involved with tourism,” said Hunter. “I have ideas and I have worked on tourism in previous jobs, but I have been asked not to be involved with it since I’ve been here.”
For a couple of years now, South Dundas has been handling tourism through its communications officer and through a contract with the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce which has been providing tourist information services at its office located in the Morrisburg Plaza.
“Tourism doesn’t take care of itself,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner, who suggested that an arrangement with a membership-based organization is not an ideal situation.
“I have always felt that tourism is way too important to be left off the economic development plate,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. “I’ve always thought tourism should be part of economic development. We have relied too much on the chamber of commerce.”
South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells agreed that tourism should be with the EDO and even suggested that bringing back a tourist information booth is something that should be looked at.
“Tourism has to be an arm of economic development,” agreed South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, adding that they also need those in the tourism industry to be involved.
The mayor suggested that South Dundas’ most beneficial tourism partnership would be with the Upper Canada Playhouse.
“It’s the biggest asset that draws people here,” said Byvelds.
With that in mind, council plans to increase its sponsorship commitment with the Upper Canada Playhouse to $5,000.
With that, South Dundas will get much greater recognition at the shows and have its name associated with an organization that is known for marketing itself very well.
“We keep chasing the golden geese when we already have the golden eggs here and we don’t use them,” said Gardner agreeing with the increased support of the Upper Canada Playhouse.