Lessard pitches regional tourism proposal

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

McLennan has to look at different ways to promote itself to be more effective.

It’s the consensus reached after Francis Lessard attended town council’s meeting Nov. 9 to discuss tourism.

Lessard, president of Smoky River Tourism, attended to ask for money to fund the group, adding they would like to work with Mighty Peace Tourism, who has more resources to promote McLennan and the region.

“We want to do this,” said Lessard.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of money.”

“What are you looking for?” asked Councillor Dwayne Stout, getting right to the point.

Lessard replied Mighty Peace Tourism is receiving $2.65 per person and Smoky River was looking for something similar.

“When the dust settles, we’ll pay $5,” said Stout.

To be specific, based on McLennan’s population of 791, it would be $5.30 or $4,192.30.

Lessard pitched his proposal saying Mighty Peace has more resources to network for promotion.

“We think it’s in our best interests to go onto that,” said Lessard.

Councillor Terry Calliou cautioned council must get the best “bang for their buck” and that both partners must be equal.

“We need that exposure,” he added.

“I think it will [be],” added Lessard.

“The other thing I want to do is get someone permanently in the train station [who] gives out information and stuff.”

Councillor Sue Delaurier asked the alternative.

“If we can’t afford to fund both, wouldn’t it be better to belong to Mighty Peace?” she asked.

Stout disagreed.

“Council needs a little bit of input,” he said.

“Belonging to one and not the other is not a good thing.”

Still, Stout was concerned about the cost given the Town’s tight budget.

“I understand,” said Lessard.

“To me, the big thing is joining this Travel Alberta [through Mighty Peace],” he added.

Delauriers asked if a request for money would be coming to council officially.

“Yeah, it can,” said Lessard.

“I’ll make sure something is in.”

Lessard added tourism can also benefit the local economy.

“It’s hard to attract industry to our area. If we can become a centre where people want to live…we have a community and we want to make it more beautiful.”

Lessard also addressed past concerns of the effectiveness of tourism promotion.

“No one has promoted our area at all. I understand why some of the groups have pulled out. We have to change the culture.”

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