Monday, August 20, 2012
For several months now our mayor and council are supposedly in negotiations with a major hotel chain to develop the property at the Crowsnest Learning Centre (CLC). These negotiations seem to be dragging on with no end in site?
At the same time it is fast approaching 9 months (the time it takes a woman to have a baby) and reconstruction of the Best Canadian Motor Inn (BCMI) in Blairmore, since the fire that destroyed a good chunk of it last December, has not even begun? BCMI, by the way, is a small chain having 7 hotel properties.
I have a sneaky suspicion that a large part of the CLC site is going to be sold off to this small hotel chain. If that is so, then we will have sold ourselves short. They are far from being a 'major' hotel chain with the pull such chains have. They will never be a tourist draw, or a major employer. In fact, in all likelihood they probably won't be any better than what they were in Blairmore at their existing location. It will be a net benefit to them having a far better location, but will benefit our municipality no more than what we already have with them in their existing location. In other words, we will have derived a ZERO benefit.
Hopefully, mayor and council are not so desperate because of their dismal performance to-date on the economic front, that in order to court public favour that they are actually doing something, they go this route. Sell us short, and thereby hurt this community for years to come due to their inability to have a vision and plan for this site that is both bold and daring, giving us the best bang for our buck, so to speak.
My proposal, from year's back, to develop this property as a Hotel/Casino Convention Centre is such a bold and daring plan. It only requires hard work, tenacity, and the will and desire to make it happen. Mayor and council need to roll up their sleeves, lobby government officials and departments, and respective politicians (including our own MLA to work on our behalf), and make the case that because of location, location, location, a depressed economy, a severe and on-going population decline, and economic and unemployment figures bordering on depression, we need and want a Casino, which will then be incorporated within a Hotel/Convention Centre.
They say, "Where there is a will, there is a way." So far, it seems this is the first obstacle we need to overcome. That is to get mayor and council to develop a will and find the way to make this vision into a living reality. A Hotel/Casino Convention Centre will be a magnet capable by itself of drawing tens of thousands of people to this community annually, while creating major employment for our people, a huge tax base, and untold spin off effects in both the private business sector and tourism industry. It's a win, win situation, requiring only a vision and the will to make it happen.
The question is, is mayor and council up to the task? Or will they sell us short again, settling instead for mediocrity... and the ongoing "tyranny of the status quo"?
Dream today; make it real tomorrow.