DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: A presentation to council this week geared at generating additional tourism to the township led to one councillor questioning continued spending on attempts to bring in visitors.
"What do we get from tourism?" asked Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy on the heels of a presentation from Conrad Boyce, a mainstay of the Uxbridge arts community.
Councillor Molloy went on to pose a challenge of sorts to local businesses to take on more of a leadership role in aiding township tourism projects.
"(The township’s) revenues are based on property taxes, not profits at businesses," added Councillor Molloy. "I don’t see business putting any money into tourism, and they benefit the most from it. If we are spending more on tourism, I want to see business matching it."
Mr. Boyce’s presentation included several comparisons between Uxbridge and Cobourg and the increased tourism dollars taken in by the county seat of Northumberland County, which sits along Hwy. 401 as well as the shores of Lake Ontario.
The comparison led Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor to question how much besides population the two towns have in common.
"I hate to constantly compare us to Port Perry, but Cobourg and Port Perry both have substantial cottage industries. I think in most cases, if you’re going to Cobourg, you’re going to stay the night, while Uxbridge is an easy 45-minute drive to Toronto," commented Mayor O’Connor.
Ward 1 Councillor Bev Northeast, a longtime proponent of greater visitor information to be made readily available to Uxbridge’s visitors, used the occasion to point out some areas where the township could improve on their delivery of visitor information.
"When you put visitor info at the township’s phone number, and it closes at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and doesn’t open again until Monday morning, that’s a problem," said Councillor Northeast.
Ultimately, Mr. Boyce’s presentation was referred to upcoming budget discussions, with Mayor O’Connor hinting at a greater tourism-related conversation to come.
"This is a much bigger debate, and we need to bring in the BIA and the Chamber of Commerce," said Mayor O’Connor.
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