South Dundas and St. Lawrence College team up for new app

MORRISBURG – Looking for something new and different to do? South Dundas will soon have an app for that.

Working towards a late May launch, the Municipality of South Dundas in partnership with St. Lawrence College has created a new South Dundas Tourism mobile phone application that aims to take people to 20 destinations across the entire municipality.

Last week The Leader met via Zoom with James Dupuis, professor/coordinator of Game Programming at St. Lawrence College, South Dundas economic development officer Rob Hunter and South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner to discuss the ongoing project.

Gardner explained that the idea for this tourism app came from a brainstorming session of the South Dundas Tourism Advisory Committee.

While recognizing the impact the ongoing pandemic has had on the tourism industry, what the session focused on was being innovative, doing something that hasn’t been done before in SDG and recognizing that the way tourists interact with the areas they visit has changed over time. No longer using tourist booths to find information, visitors now focus on finding information on their phones and the tourism committee wanted to find a way to use that for the benefit of the community.

From that brainstorming session this tourism app idea was the one that stuck.

The aim of the committee, according to Gardner, is that the app be fun, innovative and something for all age groups. “We didn’t want to play to just one type of visitor. We wanted it to be for our residents, for people across SDG who are familiar with South Dundas, but maybe haven’t visited for a while, and for any folks who have never been to South Dundas,” she said.

She added that the committee gave that direction to (EDO) Rob (Hunter) and he ran with it to make it happen.

Hunter took the idea to his contacts at St. Lawrence College and that’s how the partnership to create this app began.

“From the beginning, I saw this as a great opportunity for the students to get experiential learning, kind of like working in the real world,” Dupuis told The Leader.
Normally, students would undertake a project of their own for their final semester but these nine students were given this unique opportunity. “This gave them a client to work with, which is a great experience they can add to their resumes,” said Dupuis.

The final product is now in the bug fixing stage.

Hunter explained that the stops include the Morrisburg and Iroquois plazas with the hope of boosting traffic to those areas. “We’ve covered all corners of the municipality with locations in Brinston, and Williamsburg and Riverside Heights, Iroquois, Morrisburg and locations at the east and west borders of South Dundas. It is truly a South Dundas tourism app,” he said.

The app which will be launched in late May will be available for download on Google Play and Apple App Store. It encourages users to visit 20 sites and scan QR codes at those locations and collect badges to unlock awards and achievements. There is an opportunity in future to expand the app.

“The students have worked very hard on this,” said Dupuis. “It’s very polished. I’m very pleased with the outcome and really proud of what they’ve accomplished here.”

Getting her first sneak peak at the app, last week Gardner said: “It’s so innovative! This just highlights how great St. Lawrence College programs are to be able to come up with something like this. I’m excited. I want this app on my phone!”

Gardner, on behalf of the municipality, thanked the college for its donation of time and talent to make this project happen.

“They took the vision that we had and they really brought it to reality,” added Hunter. “We gave them some ideas and this is what they’ve developed. They did an awesome job. This is more than I expected.”

“It’s awesome anytime we can connect with anything in the community,” said Dupuis. “We really love being ingrained in the community and having that connection to our surroundings. That’s a huge target for us, to be connecting with as many communities in the surrounding area as possible.”

He added that he’s looking forward to visiting South Dundas to visit all of the locations and seeing people using the app.

All involved with the project so far can hardly wait for the app to go live.

“This is going to give people something to do. It’s something brand new and exciting that can be done as a family, a couple or as an individual. It gets people around the community in a safe manner. You can do this as a family in your car,” said Hunter.

The parties involved with the project agreed to this interview to give the community a sneak peak at the work that’s been going on with this app.

A more formal launch and full details will be made available in May when the app is complete and available for download.

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