THUNDER BAY – Editorial – The Canadian Border Patrol Service reported that traffic is up at the Fort Frances border crossing. However visitors coming into Ontario from Manitoba, Fort Frances and Rainy River this summer will find shuttered doors and windows at the travel centres across Sunset Country in Northwestern Ontario.
The travel centres in Kenora, Fort Frances and Rainy River are being closed. The move is part of the austerity efforts of the McGuinty government.
The move comes after over $1 million in marketing has been invested into the Manitoba and U.S. midwest travel markets over the past six months. In simple terms it is as if the McGuinty Government purchased all the lures and fishing tackle but decided not to go to the water and go fishing. Having asked millions of people to come to the region, now once they arrive the McGuinty Government is sending a message “We are closed”.
Every tourism centre in the Sunset Country will close. There was no opportunity for discussion with the tourism partners in the region to examine possible alternatives to the visitor centres simply being closed. It is possible that Sunset Country or other partners might have sought to operate the visitor centres, finding the money from other budgets.
The McGuinty Government has obviously not considered the image that thousands of visitors coming to Ontario will now be greeted to strong signs that Ontario is in deep financial trouble. Closing the visitor centres across Sunset Country sends the wrong message not only to tourists, but to all the tourist businesss across the region.
Perhaps it is a sure sign, as critics of the McGuinty Government have said, that Northern Ontario is simply viewed as a giant preserve that should be set aside?
This is an excellent opportunity for Bill Mauro and Michael Gravelle to demonstrate that their voices at caucus are strong enough to reverse this ham-fisted decision.
Chief Content Officer