Brand­ing Bor­den-Car­leton

Build­ing a master plan to grow tourism in the town

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MILLICENT MCKAY

Dean Sex­ton, the Bor­den Area Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and other stake­hold­ers in the town of Bor­den-Car­leton are prepar­ing to en­ter into the sec­ond step of cre­at­ing a master plan to help the town pros­per.

“We re­cently com­pleted the Strate­gic Tourism Ex­pan­sion Pro­gram (STEP). It al­lowed us to look at what we al­ready have in the area as well as things that we can work on and need,” said Sex­ton, the Bor­den-Car­leton mayor.

STEP is an At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency (ACOA) pro­gram avail­able to var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties that want to grow tourism. Com­mu­ni­ties ap­ply to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram and re­ceive fund­ing.

The study con­ducted on Bor­den-Car­leton was re­cently pub­lished on the town’s web­site. It drew on top­ics like brand­ing, lo­ca­tion and iden­ti­fy­ing guid­ing prin­ci­ples that can achieve the town’s goal of “build­ing and ex­e­cut­ing a suc­cess­ful sus­tain­able tourism com­mu­nity plan.”

The plan touched on 12 es­sen­tial de­tails to help mar­ket and grow the im­age of the town, in­clud­ing a theme, essence of the des­ti­na­tion, au­then­tic­ity, ac­ces­si­bil­ity and sense of place.

The study also stated that “in or­der to com­pete, Bor­denCar­leton will need to fully cap­i­tal­ize on the prod­uct and ex­pe­ri­en­tial devel­op­ment ideas pre­sented in this plan. Bor­denCar­leton needs to think about it­self as a true tourism des­ti­na­tion area.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing this town reach its full po­ten­tial,” said Sex­ton.

“This isn’t some­thing that will hap­pen next week, but while we work on the master plan, we’re hop­ing to get some of the small projects we want com­pleted around town in the near fu­ture.”

Dur­ing the process, the town heard from res­i­dents of the area whose sug­ges­tions in­cluded cre­at­ing a tour boat ex­pe­ri­ence fo­cus­ing on the bridge, es­tab­lish­ing a com­mu­nity gar­den, clean­ing up un­sightly premises, es­tab­lish­ing al­ter­nate en­ergy sources like so­lar or wind and in­clud­ing a new li­brary.

“We’ve been work­ing on this study for some time,” added Sex­ton. “We know this is go­ing to be quite a task.”

Peggy Miles, the tourism devel­op­ment man­ager of the Cen­tral Coastal Devel­op­ment Part­ner­ship, brought the STEP pro­gram to Sex­ton’s at­ten­tion last year. The or­ga­ni­za­tion works with com­mu­ni­ties across the cen­tral and coastal re­gion help­ing them grow tourism.

Dur­ing the STEP study, Miles sat on the com­mit­tee, which in­cluded other coun­cil­lors, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from ACOA, res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers.

“There was a lot of en­thu­si­asm. Ideas were flow­ing. It takes time to come up with a plan, and this com­mu­nity re­ally set the time aside and was com­mit­ted to the process.”

What the com­mu­nity gains from the pro­gram is ac­cess to a con­sul­tant for about a year to help de­ter­mine what their pri­or­i­ties for tourism are, as well as short-, medium- and long- term goals, ex­plained Miles.

Now that the ini­tial study is com­plete and has been re­leased, Sex­ton and the com­mit­tee are start­ing work on the master plan, funded by the money the town was given by the McCain Foods fund handed out ear­lier this year.

To view the full STEP study, go to http://www.bor­den-car­leton.ca/files/step_2017.pdf.

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