Some of B.C.'s best and brightest leaders and politicians are in Nanaimo. Well, today and tomorrow, anyway. The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is hosting the 7th Annual State of the Island Economic Summit at our beloved Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
The PR script on their website reads: "With hundreds of business, government, and community leaders participating from across Vancouver Island and beyond, the Summit is an important business development and networking opportunity for anyone with investment and economic development interests on Vancouver Island."
Since all this brainpower is gathered in one place, we figured it was an opportune time to remind all of them of the many merits of Nanaimo. And, kiss up to some of them and hope they might give us money or share said brainpower with us.
More than a year ago, in this very space, I offered up my twicea-decade reminder that Nanaimo could really use an iconic attraction to keep tourists here in town.
I pulled out an old 2007 report that indicated the city needed a "big attraction" for tourists (not to mention a multiplex).
I started asking around.
Nanaimo Port Authority CEO Bernie Dumas essentially agreed, suggesting our new cruise ship terminal was unlikely to reach its full potential without said iconic attraction for the out-of-towners to crowd around.
My newsroom colleagues came up with a few ideas and then I put the call out to the people. As mentioned, I only expected a few responses. We got hundreds.
Some ideas were great, and some not so great.
Note to visiting business gurus: We've brought some of those responses back, look over a page to A5 and you'll find some).
If I had my druthers, I'd move the Departure Bay ferry terminal to Duke Point, turn Newcastle Island into our own Stanley Park (bridge and all), put a bunch of condos on the property and have a big-bucks benefactor open a pirate-themed restaurant/waterpark dealie in honour of former mayor Frank Ney. We also had the usual negative nellies, the ones we note would complain about getting ink on their hands if you handed them a $100 bill.
But a lot of the feedback also focused on the lack of vision from this city's leaders. We have any number of alphabet-soup groups hiring bureaucrats, handing out pamphlets and patting each other on the back over finger sandwiches.
But nothing seems to get done. We handed over all of your responses last year to our tourism folks, with chirping crickets the only response so far.
In this issue, we've attempted to put a rough cost on a few of those ideas. If we're lucky, some of our provinces real movers and shakers will take note.
If we have enough money for employee playgrounds and $120K toilets, maybe we can find something to keep visitors in town.
Contact deputy editor Philip Wolf at PWolf@nanaimodailynews.com, twitter. com/philipwolf13, or call 250-729-4240.
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