An open letter from the CCHN
Welcome to the CREDA File, a monthly column on economic development issues and activities in Cumberland County from the files of the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association.
Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? As we enter a New Year lets all make a pledge to be better supporters and promoters of our county’s rich and vibrant culture and heritage. Our local museums and cultural and historic attractions and events need our support if they are to survive these uncertain financial times.
Ken Adams, Vice Chair of the Cumberland County Heritage Network (CCHN) expresses the need for your support in the following excerpts from an open letter to county residents:
“We are seeking your continued support in the forthcoming year, particularly in regards to the potential budget restraints being considered by the Provincial government. Our network is made up of active community organizations that play a role in the preservation of our county’s heritage and culture, scattered from Advocate to Malagash (with an associate member in Tatamagouche). We recognize the importance of this resource to our communities and have organized ourselves in order to assist in the promotion and development of heritage and tourism throughout the county. We help to provide the framework for a strong, healthy and forward thinking “community”.
Although many of our sites are operated by volunteer groups we also employ county residents and provide summer jobs and career opportunities for our youth. We collect, preserve, interpret, research and display a wide range of our cultural and natural heritage, and we encourage a wide audience, including both residents and visitors to view exhibits and live theatre, to participate in festivals and events and to pursue their own research.
As a group we help to attract tens of thousands of visitors to our region each year. Our future is dependent on the public’s awareness of what we are doing on behalf of our communities, and why it is important to all of us, by providing opportunities for all residents to participate. It is difficult to imagine what would happen to many of our activities if the possible budget cuts become a reality. Think of the special events that are organized and held each year that show case our local history, culture and natural heritage.
Are county residents aware of the economic impact that heritage, culture and tourism have on our communities? Over 900 Cumberland County residents work directly in tourism related jobs, $34 million needed tourism dollars are brought into our economy,
helping generate approximately $13 million in wages. A significant portion of the County’s tourism product is dependent on the sites in our network to attract visitors. While less than 10% of the tourism dollars flows through our cultural and heritage sites, the balance is spent in local restaurants, accommodations, stores and gas stations.
When you consider that there are 1.9 million visitors to Nova Scotia each year, it should be noted that 54% of these visitors enter through Amherst and Tidnish. This suggests that we have an opportunity to significantly enhance the County’s share if we can divert more of this traffic towards our communities and our sites.
What does Cumberland County have to offer to both visitors to our region and residents? We provide opportunities for sight seeing, coastal experiences and for experiencing our culture and heritage. What activities are most visitors likely to participate in? Enjoying nature walks/hiking, historic sites, visiting museums, live theatre and learning about their historic roots.
The development of partnerships with our communities and related businesses and services are essential to ensuring that Cumberland County offers an alternative destination package to Nova Scotia’s visitors. CCHN members have been active participants in the ongoing development of both the Fundy Shore and Northumberland Tourist Destination Area products, with linkages to the central region.
Although we represent a wide range of sites, we do have common issues and concerns. Our financial resources are limited and are very carefully used to cover our operational expenses. Each New Year the same or diminishing resources are required to cover increasing operating expenses. Cuts at this time would represent a potentially overwhelming loss in our resources and may seriously undermine our collective ability to function.”
If you have any questions or want further information about CREDA phone 667-3638 or visit our website @ www.creda.net. CREDA is Quality System Registered to ISO 9001:2008.