Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Westport on the Rideau Canal a Model For Abay

This comment came in today and got buried  under an old topic Dock Might Be a Disaster For Abay  I figured this comment deserved it's own spot...... 

I don’t mean to interfere with your internal issues but, I due cross the river to visit Alex Bay by boat. The many comments I’ve read, the frustrations you are going through, leads me to believe that the dock has everyone rethinking the bigger picture of Alexandria Bay as a destination. You all love your town.

However, when people leave Alexandria Bay, do they recommend it as only a summer destination? Do you want your town known for cheesy t-shirts and shot glasses with pirates on it? Going forward, is this the shrinking cliental that you want to focus on?

Your comments I believe are saying the same think. It’s a dock. It can be repaired and it will be shortly. But it has highlighted how brittle your economy has become. Heaven forbid the time when the sewer or water pipes require repair.

As a friendly neighbour, may I suggest you look into how a much smaller town, under worse conditions, Westport on the Rideau Canal, developed their community business plan and how it has worked for them.

This little town is a cottagers and boater’s destination during the summer. However, it draws busloads of retired people even from the U.S. both in the summer and winter, to shop. It’s an amazing place with a TERRIBLE town dock, yet people do visit.

The key to their success is that they focused on the age group that has the money now and going forward. The baby boomers. They attract the near retirement and the retired age groups that have lots of money to spend. Not the 20 year olds or those wanting to be, looking for cheap beer.

The products they sell are up scale. They are a four-season destination in a frozen nowhere in the winter, employing local town people all year round. Few cottagers, no boaters this time of year.

You are sitting on a gold mine of possibilities if you and your leaders take on a proactive challenge, one step at a time, medium-term development plans with a focus on a target market.

The dock will be fixed and the summer will come and I look forward to visiting the friendliest town on the river...think positive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Would be nice if we could all pull together and do something that would keep shops open and give people a reason to come here for all seasons. This is a wonderful little town with a lot to offer. A handful of people/businesses cannot make this happen. Everyone needs to pull together.