Tuesday,March 8, 2011  
   Volume 81 - Issue 10 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“It’s too windy here.”
- Molly Gleave  
- 100 year old   
Blairmore resident   

 

New Girl In TownI attended the public forum put on by the Crowsnest Conservation Society on February 24th, where I spoke briefly with Councillor Siegbert Gail about tourism in the community.
During the forum, people discussed how conservation and sustainability are vital to the health of the community, as preserving the natural environment draws visitors to the Crowsnest Pass.
Randall Whiteside also said it is important for the community to continue to grow and develop with new businesses and attractions which support the town’s tourism industry.
While speaking with Councillor Gail, he asked me where I lived before I came to the Crowsnest Pass.
I told him that while I have lived in Calgary since I was 18, I grew up in the small town of Vulcan.
When I told him this, he informed me that Council has spoken with Vulcan Town Council on more than one occasion about tourism.
He said Vulcan’s mayor, Howard Dirks, told them that while tourism is a healthy industry in Vulcan, it is not enough to sustain a community.
I must say, that is an understatement at best.
When Leonard Nimoy, the actor famous for portraying the character Dr. Spock in the original Star Trek television series, visited Vulcan last summer on his way to the Comic Expo in Calgary, hundreds of fans and trekkies came to Vulcan for the event.
The streets of downtown Vulcan (mind you, that’s only about three blocks long) were packed for about two hours leading up to Nimoy addressing the gathered masses.
Excitement bubbled as crews from various major urban media outlets such as the Calgary Sun and Herald, Global Television and CTV Calgary swarmed into town to archive the event.
But as soon as Nimoy left, so did the people.
I laughed aloud as a tumbleweed blew across the empty main street, emphasising the complete juxtaposition which transpired in a matter of twenty minutes.
 
The problem is, you can’t just bring people into town without giving them something to do once they get there.
There are a handful of events every year which provide that service, like the Spock Days and Galaxyfest celebrations in June, the Show n Shine and demolition derby in July, the Sid Hartung Memorial Rodeo in August, and the occasional bonspiel, but for the remaining 350 or so days out of the year, there is virtually nothing to do.
When tourists come to town to see the various gaudy and obnoxious Star Trek related tourist attractions located near the highway, they are surprised to learn that once they get more than a few blocks away, the fun ends.
Vulcan has very limited community recreation facilities, and those it does have, such as the Vulcan Lions Swimming Pool, are rapidly deteriorating.
According to Council, the town is focused on developing additional recreational programs and facilities, so that it is not relying solely on tourism.
But with an ever declining population resulting from high school graduates moving away and very few new families moving in, population-based government grant funding is decreasing for the town, making the task of coming up with the funds for these projects a challenge.
Councillor Gail and I agreed that the Crowsnest Pass is somewhat at the opposite end of that spectrum.
This community has several of the facilities and businesses necessary to make it sustainable.
What it needs to focus on now is utilizing its natural spaces and historical resources to an even further extent than it already does, and to look into rebranding and making a name for itself as a unique and thriving historical tourist destination.
This community is fortunate that it has beautiful scenery and a long, rich history to base its tourism industry around, as opposed to a coincidental namesake like Vulcan.
If you would like to share with me your thoughts on the issue, send me an email at kimberley.massey@gmail.com
Love, Kimberley
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