Charlene Harris, of the Shelburne County Tourism Association, was at the Shelburne and Barrington Municipal meetings on Monday, March 10 asking for $25,000 annually from each unit for three years to fund the coordinator position.
By Greg Bennett
After receiving rejections from all three towns in Shelburne County, frustrated members Shelburne County Tourism Association are asking the county’s two municipal councils to equally fund a tourism coordinator position for the county for the next three years.
Charlene Harris, of the association, was at the Shelburne and Barrington Municipal meetings on Monday, March 10 asking for $25,000 annually from each unit for three years to fund the position.
At the Barrington meeting, Harris made a short presentation about the efforts of the association before asking for questions.
Several councillors questioned why they would support a position which would be of most benefit to the Town of Shelburne which has several motels and bed and breakfasts.
Although in favor of supporting the request, Councillor Shaun Hatfield asked how he could explain the expense to his constituents.
“The three towns are benefitting and the municipalities basically are the economic engines for Shelburne County tourism,” he said. “I’m sold …what I want to do is to answer people on the outside who ask ‘how can you justify spending this much money when three of the five municipal units in Shelburne County are not in the harness.’”
Harris maintained that a county-wide approach remained the best way to promote tourism, despite the lack of support from the three towns.
We’ve been working so hard for five years to bring the county together and a lot of good work has been done,” noted Harris. “The day when five municipalities have five brochures and five of this and five of that are gone. It’s a waste of money.”
In the end, councillors voted 4-1 to recommend to council that the municipality approve the request, pending approval from the Municipality of Shelburne.
George El-Jakl was the only nay vote.
As well, the Association is asking the Municipality to provide $7,500.00 per year for three years for specific tourism projects which will be undertaken by the Association.
Instead of supporting the county tourism coordinator position, the Town of Shelburne is partnering with Lockeport to hire its own tourism and events coordinator.
The Town made the move as events planning had been taking up much of the town’s economic development officer’s time. An events coordinator is expected to ease that burden and will also be expected to be a champion for the burgeoning cruise ship visits to the area, among other things.