The Regional Tourism Initiative Committee will receive funding on a per capita basis from the Town of St. Paul, following a brief discussion and a split vote at the council meeting Monday night.
The committee is mandated to develop the St. Paul/Elk Point region as a vibrant tourist centre in the Lakeland and support businesses, while looking to encourage tourism entrepreneurship,” according to information presented to council at the Oct. 26 meeting.
The ask from the group was for either $2,000 each from the Town of St. Paul, Town of Elk Point, and County of St. Paul, or for funding to be based on population with a formula of $0.043 per capita.
The Regional Tourism Initiative Committee plans to use the money towards a six-month marketing campaign for the region from April to September 2021.
Town CAO Kim Heyman recommended council approve funding based on the per capita formula, which costs $2,581. She noted the Town of Elk Point has an extremely tight budget this year and a much smaller population than the Town of St. Paul.
Coun. Brad Eamon spoke in opposition to the funding request. He said “the mandate of this is to develop St. Paul and Elk Point. Where I get stuck is that Elk Point wants to be at the table without stepping up as much as the other guys at the table.”
Coun. Ron Boisvert argued for the request, saying it wasn’t right to go dollar for dollar in this situation because “the marketing committee still has to work for all three areas.”
Boisvert’s motion to approve the funding on a per capita basis, on the assumption the County of St. Paul will do the same carried. Boisvert, Noel, and Ward voted for the motion while Eamon and deMoissac voted against.
At the County of St. Paul Council meeting Tuesday, Reeve Steve Upham asked if there was a possibility the RTIC would be merging with Lakeland DMO in the future to create efficiencies of governance.
According to Marianne Janke, the Lakeland DMO includes everything between Highway 16 and Plamondon and Waskatenau to the Saskatchewan border, while RTIC is focused specifically on the Town and County of St. Paul and Town of Elk Point.
“Even if it was all run out of the DMO, I would still have a committee that would just focus on these three communities,” said Janke.
She noted that while Alberta HUB also helps support tourism entrepreneurship they don’t do any of the marketing, which is what the committee plans to do with the funding.
Div. 2 Coun. Kevin Wirsta made a motion to approve the per capita request at a cost of $2,783 to the County. The motion carried.
At the Town of Elk Point council meeting Nov. 9, Coun. Dwayne Yaremkevich made a motion to defer the request to the Nov. 16 budget meeting. The motion carried.
Under the per capita funding model, the Town of Elk Point’s contribution would be $626 if approved.