Morrisburg DBIA turns down tourism agreement

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

MORRISBURG – A three-way deal to have summer students providing tourism information in South Dundas has been nixed by the Morrisburg Downtown Business Improvement Association.

The three-way agreement was proposed by South Dundas council as an alternative to coming up with a full $6,000 under the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce’s original proposal.

The chamber had been asking for six-grand to hire a summer student or students, who would work extended hours leading into the weekends at the Morrisburg Village Plaza office.

Under the municipality’s idea proposed May 19, each stakeholder would have paid $2,000 to have summer students provide tourist information.

The chamber president had said at the time they would have to accept the deal.

But Cornwall Newswatch has learned the Morrisburg DBIA turned down the agreement during a Friday afternoon board meeting.

A call to DBIA Coordinator Grace McDonough has not been returned.

In an interview with CNW, Coun. Bill Ewing said the proposal was never in the Morrisburg DBIA’s mandate.

“It wasn’t necessarily for hiring of all the students. Their thought was to hire one person – my understanding – to assist delivering the service out of the chamber office. Within the DBIA, it’s not within their mandate to actually do tourist information. Their mandate is promotion and beautification of the plaza,” Ewing said.

Ewing said there was no money in the DBIA budget for this “even if they wanted to do it” and, to make it happen, the Iroquois councillor said cuts would have had to be made elsewhere.

He also said if the association had put in money, it would have been double-dipping on DBIA businesses, which also pay a levy to the association. “The municipality (would have been) putting X amount of dollars in, that came out of their tax dollars.”

Ewing said the now-kiboshed idea was a chamber-led offshoot of an original plan allowing the DBIA to put brochures in the municipal office, available to tourists. “It costs us nothing to do that.”

“There were too many vague things there (in the chamber proposal),” Ewing added.

Ewing was never a fan of the proposal and expressed that during a May council meeting saying the idea should have been put off until 2016.

“I’m a firm believer. For years and years the information booths in Iroquois and Morrisburg were run by the chamber. A few years back, all of a sudden, it went to the municipality – the municipality needs to run this information. Now, somebody’s changed and thought the chamber should be running the information again. It’s all in the spur of the moment,” Ewing told Cornwall Newswatch.

Ewing isn’t ruling out the idea, suggesting somebody has to sit down and put a proposal together. “Let’s do it and do it right. In a year’s time if the municipality were to come back and said we want the chamber and the DBIA to look after tourism. Who’s going to look after the tourism in Iroquois? The chamber and the DBIA? The businessmen in the Morrisburg DBIA are not going to be too happy spending their money in Iroquois.”

“There’s a lot of little things that need be dealt with before any agreement is drawn up.”

Ewing doesn’t believe tourism will suffer this summer in South Dundas.

“You need one location and advertise as one location and until we get all the groundwork, paperwork, everything done that it is in one location, it needs to stay where it is.”

Right now, tourist information is available in Morrisburg at the municipal office and the chamber of commerce office. Iroquois also has a tourist information booth.

“Just my opinion…most people are looking for information between three and five o’clock in the afternoon. They aren’t looking for an information booth at eight o’clock at night…or at seven o’clock in the morning,” Ewing said.

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