By Amy Woolvett
The Towns of Shelburne and Lockeport may be left scrambling this summer after the Municipality of Shelburne vetoed a joint tourism coordinator position.
“Council voted not to support the events/tourism coordinator position for eastern Shelburne County,” said CAO Kirk Cox. “We will be conducting a review of what the industry needs in the area and look for marketing and product development opportunities with other areas, including the south shore and southwestern Nova Scotia.”
The municipality received a proposal from the Town of Shelburne and Lockeport proposing the three municipalities create a position geared at coordinating special events and tourism activities.
“Events coordination is a task that each of our municipal units is undertaking without really having the manpower to do so,” wrote the initial proposal from the town. “As a result events are organized with a few spare minutes here and there by individuals that should be focusing on their own key responsibilities.”
The expected budget for the position was $50,205 with the salary for the coordinator at $31,850. The municipality would have been footing 54 percent of the budget or $27,312 annually. The Town of Shelburne would have been 32 percent and the Town of Lockeport 13 percent.
The basis for dividing the budget would have been through commercial assessment.
Three years ago, the town eliminated the Department of Recreation and the municipality wrote in a staff report the municipality recreation department was feeling the strain of events they partnered with the town.
The town received a letter by the municipality that they will no longer manage Founder’s Days and the responsibility will now rest on the town.
Karen Mattatall, mayor for the town, said she is unsure which direction council will go with now the municipality has decided not to support the position.
“It’s very unfortunate,” she said. “We really saw an opportunity where the position could be helpful for coordinating the events.”
She said council would also have to look at organizing Founder’s Days.
“We don’t want to lose Founder’s Days and there isn’t a lot of time between now and then to plan it,” she said.
In the report, the municipality stated, ‘We have not seen evidence that having another tourism coordinator for eastern Shelburne County would advance the industry in any way’.
“It also doesn’t appear that this position would have little time for tourism tasks,” said Cox. “We do not endorse going from a full time county wide tourism development position to part time eastern Shelburne County position with half the budget.”
The report also suggested the municipality would have little need for 55 percent of the position.
“If we are giving the Town of Shelburne the lead with Founder Days,” said Cox. “Then there are no festivals we need help with.”
Mayor Mattatall said it makes a big difference not having all three at the table.
“We will look at how we can do this with just Lockeport and Shelburne participating.”