Gail McDonald, manager for the Interlake Tourism Association, and administrator Todd Scott visited Stonewall council on May 15 for an update on the association’s current plans. The visit was just one of the 19 member municipal councils McDonald plans on visiting in the early summer months.
McDonald informed council on Travel Manitoba’s 96-4 plan, implemented since 2015, where the province receives 96% of tourism tax revenue and the other 4% goes to Travel Manitoba, which she claims has boosted the provincial tourism organization’s coffers. She also mentioned that Lonely Planet, a well-known travel website and guide publisher, named Manitoba one of its top 10 regions worldwide.
While McDonald informed council that the town did not receive an ITA grant, she was very complimentary of Stonewall itself.
“I see so many opportunities in this community to pull in more tourists than you already do,” McDonald told council.
It was also a sentiment Scott agreed with.
“You guys are uniquely positioned where you’re half an hour to the city. You have a unique downtown that’s vibrant, that actually has people, that have businesses, that have different things going on, and it’s a beautiful spot,” he said. “This is a really unique prairie town.”
ITA is also ramping up its promotional material for the Interlake region by advertising on digital signs in Winnipeg and in print publications outside Manitoba. It has also acquired the web domain name “interlakeheartbeats.com” which redirects to ITA’s website and is urging social media-savvy visitors to the Interlake to use the hashtag “#myinterlakemb.”
• Council voted unanimously to add a resolution to the agenda of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities’ Interlake district meeting in Selkirk next month. The resolution would urge the province to increase funding for childcare.
“Be it resolved that the AMM lobby the provincial government to increase the provincial operating grant or allow an increase in the cap rate from parent fees in order to ensure that daycare facilities are adequately funded,” the resolution said.
If passed at the district meeting, the resolution will be on the agenda at AMM’s annual convention in Brandon in November.
• Trent Brownlee has been appointed by council to be the Town of Stonewall’s representative on the Community Futures East Interlake Board of Directors. Brownlee ran unsuccessfully for councillor in last year’s municipal election, receiving 778 votes and finishing sixth out of seven candidates. He will replace former Stonewall mayor Ross Thompson who had resigned earlier this month.
• Due to absences by mayor Clive Hinds and deputy mayor Wally Badger, councillor Peter Bullivant chaired the council meeting. With only Bullivant and councillors Blair Good and Jackie Luellman in attendance, the meeting achieved a quorum of three council members, the minimum number needed to hold a council meeting.