Julie Walters, general manager of the Yarmouth and Shores Tourism Association, speaks at Argyle council's Sept. 10 meeting.
ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
By Eric Bourque
The Municipality of Argyle has approved a $35,125 funding request from the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association, money YASTA says it needs in order to finish what needs to be done to get the area ready for Yarmouth’s new ferry service.
The municipality approved the request Tuesday evening at its regular monthly council meeting.
Julie Walters, YASTA’s general manager, said it’s important to get to work as soon as possible on promoting the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region if visitors coming here on the new ferry next year are going to spend time in the area.
Speaking to council during their Sept. 10 meeting, she said, “We have an amazing opportunity in front of us to try and get these passengers to stay overnight in our community, to shop in our community, to visit our attractions and eat in our restaurants, but if we want that to happen, we have to work for it.”
Although council approved YASTA’s request, it didn’t come without some debate. While council members discussed how much money to give in this particular case, another issue that came up was the way tourism efforts in a more general sense are funded.
Coun. Guy Surette said the tourism picture can be confusing sometimes, give that there are other organizations involved in tourism in one capacity or another.
Acknowledging that there may seem to be different layers of tourism promotion, Walters said the various groups have their own focus and are not competing with each other.
Referring to the need to promote Yarmouth and Acadian Shores among people who might decide to visit here next year, Walters said there’s no time to waste.
“Our deadlines are in front of us right now (for tourism publications),” she said, “Everything is coming at us pretty quickly.”
YASTA is seeking $35,125 from each of the four municipal units that make up the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region. The Municipality of Argyle joins the Municipality of Yarmouth in approving the association’s request. YASTA is still waiting to hear from the Town of Yarmouth and Clare.
In a letter to the region’s mayor, wardens and councillors in late August, Walters spoke of the importance of getting to work on trying to make the most of the new Yarmouth ferry, which is scheduled to begin service next spring.
“We have to be serious about this opportunity,” she said in the letter. “The residents and governments of Yarmouth and Acadian Shores need to step up together in order to maximize this opportunity.”