COLUMN: Do we need to fund tourism?

SOUTH DUNDAS — Do we, we as in taxpayers, need to fund tourism promotion in Cornwall and SD&G? Are we now at the time that groups, like Cornwall and the Counties Tourism need to fund themselves and not rely on tax money to survive?

The need for financial restraint at the municipal level is clear. Core services are costing more and in the cases of Police, EMS, and Insurance, the municipality is unable to control the increases being sought. Core services are just that, core. The really important things that all residents of the municipality really need. Municipal governments, no matter where they are located, need to focus on providing the core services, everything else is just extra, in diminishing priority based on the number of people in the municipality served.

In the case of Cornwall and the Counties Tourism, why should non-tourism-based businesses in Cornwall and SD&G have their taxation fund promotion for tourism-based businesses? That does not seem fair. When you are using tax money, everyone should be represented equally. Any service or funding provided should benefit the entire tax base. That means that either all businesses should be promoted, or none.

Tourism promotion should be funded by those businesses and attractions which are the beneficiary of said promotion. As many of these businesses and attractions promote themselves already, paying into a promotion fund like Cornwall & the Counties Tourism, should be strictly voluntary. Government-owned tourist attractions should pay towards this promotion on a case-by-case basis only.

This funding model should apply to any niche group, in any municipality; from the arts, culture, tourism, agriculture, etc. Unless the mandate of the group covers the entire municipality, there should be no taxpayer funding or subsidy.

In the case of Cornwall and the Counties Tourism, yes funding should be cut by $50,000 this year from the City of Cornwall. Next year, funding from the United Counties of SD&G and from the City of Cornwall should be  planned for a phase-out over a one or two year period while they look for a new funding mechanism. Taxpayers cannot afford this, and municipal politicians should just focus on the core services and initiatives that serve the entire municipality they represent.

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