West Hants opts out of funding tourism organization

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West Hants opts out of funding tourism organization

By Jennifer Hoegg

The Hants Journal/NovaNewsNow.com

Destination Southwest Nova Association (DSWNA) held a board meeting in West Hants last week, but the municipality still isn’t interested in joining the regional tourism marketing board.

Of the 28 municipal units in the board’s area, West Hants is one of only two that are not contributing money to the organization. Part of the reason, Warden Richard Dauphinee says, is that most of the municipality falls under the Central Nova Tourism Association, with only a small sliver of the region along the 101 between Hantsport and Mt. Uniacke under DSWNA.

After considering the DSWNA proposal, the municipality didn’t think a financial contribution to the tourism board was a necessary investment, Dauphinee said. “What they wanted from us financially and what we felt that we were getting from the service, council decided not to go with it at this time. We felt our information was getting out through Central Nova.”

Coun. Rick Gaudet, who represents District 9, represented the municipality on the now-dissolved Evangeline Trail Tourism Association (ETTA). “At the time of the amalgamation I didn’t have a problem with it,” he said. He believes that the DSWNA’s financial request to council should be proportional to the area covered. “At the time we didn’t get involved with DSWNA. We felt the cost they had asked us to share in wasn’t adequate. They were asking, per capita, for a whole municipality.”

Gaudet noted that, although the West Hants municipality doesn’t have a formal link to either DSWNA or the CNTA or a tourism director, “our doors are not closed to the possibility.”

Dauphinee agreed that the municipality is still open to hearing from DSWNA. “Not to say that we wouldn’t use them in the future. We never close a door. At the time we had to make the decision we didn’t have what we needed to go with them. It was a financial decision.”

Some operators in the DSWNA area of the municipality are unimpressed. St. Famille Winery’s Doug Corkum was vocal about his disappointment during a networking session hosted by the board. “West Hants is not supporting this organization financially. There’s an election coming up; talk to your councillors!”

DSWNA general manager Madonna Spinazola is optimistic that the municipality will eventually join in. “I’m working very hard on building a relationship with West Hants.” She does agree with Corkum, however. “What Mr. Corkum said was absolutely right; the best way to change is for industry to lobby their representatives.”

DSWNA board member and Windsor staffer VanEssa Roberts said that there is a Memorandum of Understanding between the two regional marketing boards that represent West Hants.

Organizations: DSWNA, Central Nova Tourism Association, Hants Journal Southwest Nova Association Evangeline Trail Tourism Association

Geographic location: West Hants, Hantsport

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