Council says “No” to tourism committee

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
Hawkesbury council rejected the idea for creation of a tourism advisory committee but the councillor behind the proposal is not accepting “No” as the final answer.

“It’s definitely not dead,” said Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis, during an October 2 phone interview. “I’ll be bringing it back as many times as I have to.”

During its October 1st special teleconference session, Hawkesbury council voted 5-3 against a resolution for creation of a tourism advisory committee. Supporting Tsourounakis’ proposal were Councillor Lawrence Bogue and Mayor Paula Assaly.

Most councillors voting against the resolution cited a shortage of municipal administrative staff available for the proposed committee as recommended in Tsourounakis’ brief. They also noted that council has other priority concerns to deal with, like the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the town.

Councillor André Chamaillard, who voted against the resolution, indicated that council could reconsider the idea during its January 2021 session or some other later date. That makes Tsourounakis optimistic about his chance of getting council’s eventual support for his idea.

“It’s not that anyone was really opposed to the strategy,” he said.

Tsourounakis noted in his brief to council the growing value of tourism for the local economy and its potential for countering the current closures of some businesses, like Goulet Motosports, in the town’s downtown core area.

“Hawkesbury is maturing as a town,” he said. “There is an untapped potential for the town in the tourism sphere.”

Tsourounakis confirmed he will continue to pursue creation of a tourism advisory committee for council. He plans to further research the subject, including getting letters of support from Hawkesbury’s chamber of commerce and business improvement association and other groups, and present a more detailed proposal again to council in 2021.