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Post Info TOPIC: Timmins needs to improve facilities and boost tourism


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Timmins needs to improve facilities and boost tourism

Timmins needs to improve facilities and boost tourism

Not surprisingly, there was a heated debate at council over the future of the city's culture, leisure and tourism department. Soft services always come under fire during economic downturns.

Some suggested that facilities such as the McIntyre Arena should be used more, but only on a tight budget. Others said the Shania Twain Centre should be closed.

Enough of the political grandstanding. It's time to provide direction. The questions that should be answered by council are: Are our citizens lacking in entertainment opportunities; and how serious are we about developing tourism?

First, there is a shortage of entertainment in Timmins.

Yes, we have a lot of outstanding homespun opportunities such as Take Two Theatre, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra and the Timmins Concert Singers.

While they draw well at their venues, usually high school auditoriums, they lack the mass appeal to pack an arena with a blue-collar crowd.

In January, the McIntyre Ad Hoc Committee made a presentation to council. Its members gathered community input. Citizens said they would like more events such as concerts, monster trucks and even a junior hockey team.

The committee also recognized there is a need to expand the seating at the Mac and upgrade facilities if we're serious about getting, for example, junior hockey.

Does Timmins have the population base to support such a venture? Well, Owen Sound, with a population of about 30,000, is home to the OHL's Attack. In recent years, seating at the Bayshore Arena was expanded by about 1,000 to roughly 4,000.

Without such upgrades, residents will continue to drive 45 minutes to see the Eskis, about two hours to see the QMJHL in Rouyn-Noranda or four hours to see the OHL in Sudbury.

Would residents go to a revamped Mac to see a band of the calibre of the Tragically Hip live? Most definitely. It would be the hottest ticket in town. People are now driving four hours or more to see such events.

As for tourism, the key to success is to identify if you have the resources to attract people from major urban centres. If the answer is yes, then you must market the heck out of it in your target areas. That means slogans, campaigns, advertising, trade shows, billboards ... the works. It means showcasing all that is worth seeing and doing in Timmins -- hunting, fishing, hiking, golfing, camping, canoeing, etc., and side trip opportunities across the region. Any one attraction is just a piece of the puzzle, and should be treated as such.

It is time to give the CLT department clear direction, then let staff do their job. Bickering does nothing to improve our quality of life. -- Wayne Snide


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