Wednesday, July 20, 2016

o-CNN: Destination Marketing Just Tanked in Canmore, Alberta

The Mountains Are All We Need


Or is it?

Canmore Business and Tourism (CBT) packed it in, closed, retired, ceased operations and left the building. The voice of, and for Canmore business is silent. Call it what you will, but things are not going to be what they've been before.


I am not going to make this a long post. Watch the video for our thoughts on the matter. 

Alberta's businesses are hurting, and as a result its people are hurting. For a short while, here in the mountains we thought we may be immune to the contagion that is murdering the enterprising spirit of Entrepreneurs and Producers in the rest of the province. Business is good in Canmore we tell ourselves. Tourism is up. We are lucky. People can work. While it is famine everywhere else, the mountain towns are thriving. 

It is then unfortunate that here too finally we have to face the reality that maybe our own community is not really as immune as we thought. No, we are not referring to the fall in oil revenues as the driver for our misfortune and the supposed cause for the Alberta recession. Rather, we are pointing to a lack of realization and understanding of what makes a community and a Province's future possible and successful in the first place: It is its Producers, the entrepreneurs, their businesses that follow, the jobs that are created as a result, and the opportunities it presents for people to move here, live and thrive. We profile them and make videos of what they do. You can see who they are on this site.

Contrary to (more recent) popular belief: Without a healthy and thriving business base, there is no community. As they say in the country of my birth - Africa: "If you eat the chicken, you have no more eggs." Give businesses a reason to be here and Entrepreneurs the encouragement to establish themselves, and see how well the rest of the people do as a result. Why is this so hard for our politicians to get? Market this destination.

Every weekend, thousands of cars drive by our town. Thousands of opportunities are lost until we flag them down and tell them our story, and show them what we have on offer. Canmore Business and Tourism was tasked to do this job, and they've done well with what they had at their disposal.

While the model for Canmore Business and Tourism was less than ideal, its motive, commitment and results were exemplary. Surely, there was a way to make it work then, Mr Mayor?

Canmore is not a business friendly town. Ask any entrepreneur and established business owner that tries to start or operate here, and they will testify to the hazards of navigating high operating costs, stupid property lease fees, labour shortage, skewed zoning laws, high living cost, autocratic and overbearing permitting, and a less than business friendly Town Council. Then add the more recent Provincial Government's taxation and legislative agenda, and it is a wonder any business is left in Alberta.

It is sad to see the one party, who was seen to be standing for the success of businesses in this town decide to call it quits. I personally don't blame them.

CBT just had to finally do what most businesses do under similar circumstances: They close down and/or leave. As a community we are going to be worse off for it. I cannot fathom what our Town Council was thinking to let this happen. Someone will have to take this one for the team.


Hendrik van Wyk
Canmore Business Owner

P.S. If Canmore Town Council think they can step in and do the job of destination marketing, then it will be time for us to reconsider our commitment to this lovely town too. I hear Nordegg is looking for new businesses... and they have mountains!

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