© Wendy Elliott - kingscountynews.ca
Among those gathered Aug. 26 at Wolfville's Willow Park for the tourism funding announcement were: (left) Deputy Wolfville Mayor David Mangle, Deputy Kings County Warden Mike Innis, Kings South MLA Ramona Jennex, innkeeper Heather Leeman, Mayor Jeff Cantwell and Kings North MLA Jim Morton.
By Wendy Elliott
Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell says first impressions of the town are going to get even better with a $62,000 grant from the province.
The money from the province’s First Impressions program will help install bicycle racks and develop a wayfinding plan to help tourists locate down town attractions.
Cantwell said he hopes visitors will linger, stay longer and enjoy Wolfville with the help of the grant.
Wolfville is known as an active community that encourages bicycle transit, the mayor said. Eight new bike racks will be added to the downtown.
The signage and racks were one of 16 new projects Education Minister and Kings South MLA Ramona Jennex announced at the tourist bureau in Wolfville Aug. 26
“Nova Scotia’s long-term tourism strategy is designed to help us attract more first-time visitors who will stay longer and spend more, especially those who enjoy outdoor, culinary and cultural activities,” she said.
“Supporting Nova Scotia communities to make upgrades, improve facilities, and enhance their downtowns,” Jennex said, “will help attract visitors who will come back again and again, and also benefit local residents and their families.”
Jennex, who spoke on behalf of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele, said government wants to work with the industry and attract more first time visitors to the province.
"A strong tourism sector is key to helping grow our economy and create good jobs for people in communities across Nova Scotia," said Nova Scotia Tourism Agency chief executive officer Patrick Sullivan. "
“We are working strategically with our industry partners to improve Nova Scotia's competitiveness in the global market and achieve long-term tourism growth."
Kings North MLA Jim Morton told of visitors he had met who were blown away by what this province has to offer and that the new funds would aid in good organization.
Other local First Impressions grant recipients include downtown Berwick with $7,206 and Kentville with $7,255 toward Centre Square revitalization.
The Municipality of Kings is getting $30,000 for a branding project in Grand Pré and a signage study through the companion Competitive Edge program. Deputy Warden Mike Innis said the funds will be useful for branding the newly designated UNESCO landscape, “the latest jewel in the crown and finishing the signage study.”
The Annapolis Valley Trail Coalition received $2,400 for a trail assessment under the same program.
Program cash available
First Impressions is designed to help communities develop attractive, distinctive and visitor-friendly downtowns. It is a companion program under the province’s Tourism Development Investment Fund with Competitive Edge, which helps develop new tourism products or enhance existing ones.
The province is providing $517,323 in funding through the two programs this year to help communities develop more competitive tourism products and services, attracting more visitors and offering memorable experiences.
Applications for the Competitive Edge program are accepted throughout the year, subject to funding availability. The First Impressions program is now closed for 2013. The next application deadline is March 2014.