Tourism needs a strat­egy

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Stanstead is badly served by its MRC. They can say oth­er­wise, but how many real new jobs has the Mem­phrem­a­gog Mu­nic­i­pal Re­gional County re­ally brought here in the last quar­ter of a cen­tury?

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is so Ma­gog cen­tric that we won­der why the mayor both­ers to show up at meet­ings. In­dus­trial jobs, for­get it. Ser­vices? As if the most bilin­gual pop­u­la­tion south of Mon­treal, ac­quainted with the US mar­ket from birth, can­not have a sin­gle call cen­tre?

The real ques­tion should be why we are in this MRC rather than in the Coat­i­cook MRC, but this is an­other fruit­less de­bate. Back to our sub­ject: Tourism We are in a unique sit­u­a­tion, close to the Amer­i­can bor­der with an aver­age nat­u­ral tourist of­fer­ing. No fancy four star restau­rant, not even an en­try level mo­tel and not even a ‘spa’.

Worst, what we could of­fer is nowhere to be seen. Be­tween the Gran­ite Mu­seum and Butterfield, we may have one of the most beau­ti­ful wa­ter­falls in the re­gion. It would take a cou­ple of mil­lion to do it prop­erly, did we say ex­pro­pri­a­tion? But the end re­sult would be in­cred­i­ble for the town.

Next is bury­ing the mess of util­ity ca­bles in down­town Stanstead. This news­pa­per, al­ways gen­er­ous, is help­ing the town once again by pro­vid­ing a short­ened link to the Hy­dro-Que­bec web pages that pro­pose gov­ern­ment helps to do so: bit.ly/1O25AhV or you can click on the Qr Code. Since the pub­lisher has been talk­ing about it for twenty years, maybe some­one will act be­fore he dies.

What seems nat­u­ral to us is for­eign to most tourists: walk­ing from a town in one coun­try to an­other in an­other one.

Stranger still is walk­ing into an­other coun­try to en­ter a build­ing lo­cated half in one coun­try and half in an­other. That is, if the build­ing is open! And dur­ing peak tourist sea­son, it isn’t! The Haskell Library and Opera House close early on Satur­day, and is not open on Sun­day and Mon­day! It doesn’t take a ge­nius to fig­ure out that Stanstead and the MRC and the Que­bec and Cana­dian Gov­ern­ments, not count­ing Ver­mont and the United States, would be wise to fur­nish the Haskell with the needed money to open 7/7 from mid-May to mid-Oc­to­ber.

It is al­most fool­ish for pri­vate in­vestors to put good money af­ter bad in Stanstead if the town doesn’t wake up to the sim­ple fact that, un­less it spends money, there will be no rev­enues in the fu­ture. For cry­ing out loud, there are traf­fic jams in Bolton dur­ing the week­end be­cause a spa opened there! Down­town Stanstead is less than a minute away from an Au­toroute and its dead! Any day of the week, an­other story we guess.

And the Gran­ite Mu­seum! Well, it has not aged well and as much as the pub­lisher loved elec­tric trains in his youth (Tri-ang to be ex­act, but you must have guessed that al­ready), the link to gran­ite is ten­u­ous to say the least. As for a show­room, it has no place what­so­ever in a mu­seum that is prop­erly cu­rated. We re­peat that the Gran­ite Mu­seum should be un­der the author­ity of Colby-Cur­tis who knows the ropes of the busi­ness. We also re­peat that Colby-Cur­tis should get more help from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the MRC.

Of the lat­ter, the less said. When it will spend a penny pro­mot­ing Stanstead, we may talk about it. What we know is that, over the last few years, in its TV ad­ver­tis­ing, Stanstead was ab­sent ev­ery year. Enough said it seems.

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