MORRISBURG – Recently, a junket of at least seven municipal representatives, five from South Dundas, and two from South Stormont travelled to Fredericton, New Brunswick to accept an Economic Developers Association of Canada award on behalf of the Upper Canada Region.
The trip, which cost over $3,600, sent at least seven representatives to Fredericton. On that trip were South Dundas mayor Evonne Delegarde, South Dundas communications and tourism coordinator Katherine Wells, South Dundas employee Jessica Whitteker, South Dundas chief administrative officer and treasurer Shannon Geraghty, South Dundas director of corporate services and clerk Brenda Brunt, South South Stormont economic development and communications coordinator Chris Hemond, and South Stormont deputy-mayor Tammy Hart.
South Dundas chief administrative officer and treasurer Shannon Geraghty told The Leader that the cost for the five from South Dundas to attend was $2,704.41. This included airfare ($1,449), hotel ($583), meals ($241), and the awards luncheon ($288). In addition, South Dundas paid to apply for the EDAC award, which cost $143.
Geraghty said that he had planned to attend the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association conference in Muskoka Lakes this fall, of which $2,000 was budgeted. He said he, “decided to support staff on a Canadian award instead.”
When asked, South Stormont chief administrative officer Debi LucasSwitzer said the costs for Hart and Hemond to attend, “are in the area of $500 per person for the airfare, hotel, lunch and application fee.” It is not yet know if anyone else representing South Stormont attended.
South Dundas economic development officer Rob Hunter was already in attendance. He attended the entire four-day EDAC conference as part of his duties as EDO. His trip cost was $1,166, which was paid by the Municipality of South Dundas. Hunter also holds a position on the EDAC board of directors.
The Upper Canada Region map was one of eight submitted to the category for single publication with less than four pages. While the UCR submission did not win an award in the submitted category, UCR was awarded the organization’s Sustainability Award. The Town of Georgina won the category that UCR applied for.
“It is an additional award to acknowledge a submission that goes above the requirement of marketing standards,” said Courtenay Caldwell, EDAC manager of projects and communications. “This submission is mindful of its eco-footprint and makes an effort to use inventive ways to cut down on their impact on the environment.”
The award, according to a press release from South Dundas, is for environmentally friendly paper and ink used to print the map. The map’s initial print run was 10,000 copies and it cost just under $9,000 to produce, with South Dundas and South Stormont splitting costs.
The Leader contacted both municipalities about the trip. In a jointly signed reply, Delegarde and Hart explained that the three staff members who worked on the project, along with one council representative from each municipality attended the conference to accept the award. UCR received notification that they had won the Sustainability award on August 17th and that Hunter was attending the conference on behalf of EDAC and that he was not involved in the adventure map project.
Delegarde and Hart said the trip expense was justified because, “the recognition our communities and tourism-based businesses received through this national award is invaluable.”
“Being present at the awards gave staff whose mandate is tourism the opportunity to share information about the tourism-based businesses in the map with other industry professionals and mark South Dundas and South Stormont as a premier tourism destination in Ontario.”
In the reply, Delegarde and Hart said that awards of this caliber are rare and highly competitive.
“South Stormont and South Dundas felt this was worth the publicity and recognition at a high level as it is a great positive good news story for both municipalities and the Upper Canada Region partnership,” said the two.
*Note* This story was updated after the September 19th print publication to reflect the addition of two South Dundas employees and the associated expenses. After print publication The Leader learned that more officials than the five originally reported attended the conference.