Tourism plan inches forward

Strathcona Regional District gets going on regional tourism plan after being chided by Campbell River mayor

The Strathcona Regional District will consider a joint, regional tourism service to help promote the area.

Directors at the July 25 board meeting wanted to get the ball rolling with a feasibility study but Quadra Island director Jim Abram wanted to ensure what the board was voting on would not favour one regional area over another.

Abram wanted any decisions made within the regional tourism service to be approved by electors on an area to area basis, so that decisions made by Campbell River, which carries the greatest weight in voting based on population, would not overrule other smaller areas such as Cortes and Quadra islands or Area D (Oyster River/Ocean Grove).

“If other areas outside of Campbell River vote a way opposite of Campbell River it doesn’t matter, Campbell River orders the day,” Abram said.

A regional tourism service, which could include harmonization of existing programs, is one of 17 strategic priorities identified by the board. At a Municipal Services Committee June 27 which includes Campbell River directors Ron Kerr, Claire Moglove, Larry Samson, Mary Storry, and Jakeway, as well as Craig Anderson (Gold River), John MacDonald (Sayward), Ted Lewis (Zeballos), and Jude Schooner (Tahsis), directors recommended the regional district board vote in favour of setting up the regional tourism service.

Director and Campbell River Mayor Walter Jakeway felt the recommendation was straightforward. He pointed out that directors were only deciding on whether to move forward with a report on a timeframe for implementing  the new service.

“You can see now, with 17 strategic priorities and this being the top one, why it never gets off the ground,” Jakeway said. “Before it even gets moving you’ve got trip wires and strings attached to it. Nothing will ever get done if you tie it up with strings and wire – it’ll never happen. It’s simple – just do the study and then study it (or) you can forget about the other 16 priority items.”

In the end, the board asked staff to prepare a report outlining the timeline for implementing a tourism service as well as a draft to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study.