Scott Ryan was impressed with the conversation aimed at tourism during a community engagement session on tourism, culture and recreation this week.
The general manager of Days Inn in Stephenville and chair of Tourism Southwest didn’t mind at all that culture and recreation was lumped in with tourism.
“The three sectors are 100 per cent all connected,” he said in an interview.
He attended the midday meeting of two sessions on Tourism, Culture and Recreation that took place on Tuesday. The other was an evening session.
“It was nice to see what everybody in attendance thought was important about Stephenville, what attractions are here and how we can grow it,” Ryan said.
He says it’s about “connecting the dots,” and Tourism Southwest is willing to partner with other entities, including the Town of Stephenville, in making that happen.
Ryan said there has been a growth in all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles coming into the town and availing of hotels and gas stations, to name just a few businesses, but unfortunately there is a challenge for them to get to their destinations.
He said fear of being stopped for riding in town and having to cross a bridge that is not designed to handle such traffic pose challenges.
“We need some kind of access into the town that doesn’t pose dangers for riders,” Ryan said.
He said accessibility for tourists is an important issue and the town needs more flights into Stephenville and cheaper prices on the Marine Atlantic ferry, as that’s a big hindrance.
Ryan said signage on the highway to attract people to come and see downtown Stephenville is also important.
He heard talks of a planning session on signage and plans to get in on that.
Ryan said the session he attended this week is not completely new to him, as about five years ago he was in on a session held by the former town council on snowmobiling and all-terrain vehicles.
He said from that session it was agreed that it would be amazing to have guides take people on tours to places like Lewis Hills, and that could still work today with the right person and commitment.
Ryan said Tourism Southwest recently hired a consultant who carried out surveys of four hiking trails in southwest Newfoundland and recommended the development of the Starlite Hiking Trail in Doyles overlooking Little Codroy River, which will go ahead in the spring.
He said a hiking trail is wanted in the Stephenville area and suggested this same consultant be hired to rate trails in this area, with a view toward development.
“The province is saying walking trails are the in thing now and judging by the use of those in Gros Morne Park and other areas, it’s what people want to experience,” Ryan said.
He said he was proud to be part of the great conversation at the “Shape Our Future” community engagement focus group discussion held at College of North Atlantic’s D.S.B. Fowlow Building.
Remaining Shape Our Future sessions:
Nov. 27 – 8-10 a.m. – Business Community – W.E. Cormack Centre Board Room
Nov. 29 – 2-4 p.m. – Seniors’ – Queen Street Seniors’ Club
Nov. 29 – 7-10 p.m. – Inclusion and Diversity – Stephenville Dome Cafeteria
Dec. 04 – 7-10 p.m. – Open Public Forum – D.S.B Fowlow Building Lecture Theatre
Source: Town of Stephenville