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Quinte West council fights over Bay of Quinte commercials

By Kate Shumakova [1]

BELLEVILLE –The City of Quinte West [2] was divided by the decision of whether money for promotions should be paid or not to Bay of Quinte [3] Tourism and Living during the city council meeting Monday night.

The delegation led by the president of the Bay of Quinte Tourism and Living Ryan Williams, who is also an owner of several hotels [4] in Belleville, asked for $84,000. It comes to $1.30 per capita for the tourism attraction campaign and 75 cents per capita for bringing people to live in this area. The money will go to advertising videos and promotions for the region to attract tourists and people to come and live.

Jeremiah J. MacKenzie, executive director of Bay of Quinte Tourism, said the partnership within the community will benefit the common goal.

“So who is behind the organization? It’s built on chambers, municipalities, businesses, where they share a common goal – to support tourism. And the byproduct of that support is increasing visitation, and a byproduct of that is to increase revenue and investment,” he said.

Most councillors agreed to grant money.

Councillor Sally Freeman said that this investment will bring a good return for the city. It leads to a trickle-down effect and the returns for the municipality will mean it can support different community organizations in need, such as Trenton Memorial Hospital [5].

“We have to stop taking the little picture…We must open our eyes to the opportunity that we have,” she said.

Mayor Jim Harrison supported, emphasizing the fact that the returns from the promotion will help facilitate the situation with a new marina.

“We have a marina [6] opening June 20. We need to get the word out and promote the region,” he said.

However, some councillors were opposed.

Councillor Rob MacIntosh, chairman of the city’s tourism committee, said city of Quinte West should wait until other municipalities in the region will approve the budget for Bay of Quinte Tourism and Living.

“We don’t care how many people stay in Belleville’s hotels… We want to see results in Quinte West,” he said.

Coun. Fred Kuypers agreed with MacIntosh saying that if only Quinte West is ready to pay, he wants to see only Quinte West in the commercials. In the interview with QNet News, Kuypers said he wants to see more Trenton tourist attraction sites being advertised.

After the debate, Freeman proposed to skip the procedural rules and put the topic to vote.

City council voted 10-3 in favour of giving Bay of Quinte Tourism and Living the full shot of $84,000. The funding request will go to the city’s operational budget meeting next Monday, March 23.

Bay of Quinte has already asked the city of Belleville, Hastings County and Prince Edward County to contribute to “the fair share” of $1.30 per capita for Bay Of Quinte Tourism. However, Quinte West was the first municipality to announce the decision on this topic.

Taylor Broderick of QNet News contributed to the report.