© Ashley Thompson
Jennifer Daniels, the owner of Daniels' Flower Shop in Windsor and a councillor for the Municipality of West Hants, takes note of ideas pitched during a brainstorming session at a citizen-led tourism meeting.
Local citizens interested in seeing a boost in tourism in Hants County are taking it upon themselves to get the ball rolling.
About 35 people gathered for a town hall-styled tourism meeting at the Super 8 in Windsor March 31.
The purpose of the meeting, supported by the Avon Chamber of Commerce, was to come up with a strategy to boost tourism in the Avon Region, find a group to develop a program and establish a finance committee to find funding for the implementation of said program.
“If we want something done for West Hants we’ve got to do it ourselves,” said Doug Corkum, co-owner of Sainte-Famille Wines Limited in Falmouth.
Corkum teamed up with Lorraine Vassalo, co-owner of Avondale Sky Winery in Newport Landing, to facilitate the discussion.
“The people who created the pumpkin regatta were just two gals in town who wanted to help their community, and it’s now got international acclaim,” noted Corkum.
The group was first tasked with compiling a list of demand generators that would draw people to the Avon Region. It didn’t take long for those in attendance to come up with an extensive list of the region’s vast offerings.
They thought of everything from giant pumpkins and puppet theatre to museums and adventure parks.
The final list of demand generators showed a region with something for: the historian, hockey fanatic, recreation enthusiast, theatre nut, nature buff, wine lover, beer drinker and farmer.
In addition to the key draws that bring people to the region, the group listed food, music, shopping, art galleries, winery and brewery tours, geology, Camp Mockingee, accommodations, the swimming pool and tourist bureau as a few examples of demand supporters.
The hidden gems identified at the meeting included the camera obscura in Cheverie, Newport Landing, Avondale Wharf, Walton Lighthouse, Fundy Park in Hantsport and the skateboarding park in Windsor.
Vassalo stressed the importance of promoting the region — Windsor, West Hants and Hantsport — as one area with many diverse attractions.
“I think of the whole thing as one town,” she said.
The development committee formed at the meeting will use tourism draw ideas pitched during a brainstorming session to think of an effective way to promote the region. VanEssa Roberts, Jen Wilson, Rob Frost, Brenda and Alan Bailey, Chris Hartley and Tim Reed volunteered to serve on the development committee.
A finance committee, consisting of Jeff Barrett and John Bregante thus far, will be tasked with finding a means to acquire sustainable funding to support the development committee’s programs.
Ideally, Corkum said, all three municipalities that will benefit from this citizen-led initiative will offer financial support to help make things happen.
“What were trying to do here primarily is to get all the players participating in what we’re trying to achieve. The more involvement you give us, the better the results.”