That’s part of the message driven home by Roger Brooks to movers and shakers in the economic development circle in this neck of the woods at an economic development seminar held in Corner Brook this week.
Brooks was the guest facilitator for the seminar at the Corner Brook Civic Centre. He’s head Roger Brooks International, an Arizona-based company focused on tourism, destination assessments and downtown development.
The Star asked five participants in the seminar for the top two takeaways they got from attending the seminar presented by Brooks.
Sharon Evans — Seva Meditation
One thing that he highlighted that was very accurate and brutally honest is that most of our greatest treasures on the west coast, specifically for Corner Brook, are kept secret. It’s almost like we don’t want to share, and sometimes we don’t even want to share with each other.
We need to get the message out. We need to get Corner Brook great and that’s how we’re going to evolve by getting the message out. It’s almost like we’re afraid to evolve and move forward. We need to be assertive and we need to be confident in what we have. I know sometimes we’re comparing by saying ‘let’s top other communities or do it better than other communities,’ but we should all collaborate.
Vicki O’Neill — Vicki O’Neill Design
A lot of these things are design-related so, as a designer, these are things I have already recognized so it’s really great to hear someone else present them in such a clear way to get everybody excited and enthused about all this stuff because this is an amazing city. I moved back here after many years away and I’m still taken away by all the breath-taking views so if we could just have the downtown to support that I would love to have tourism increase.
The other thing is the importance of community. This is about everybody working together for the goal of making an amazing city.
Jim Parsons — Downtown Business Association
I would say the importance of developing our tourism product here in the city. We have to get on that. Take advantage of all the assets around us. The second one would be the importance of downtowns in developing your local economy and brand.
Laurie Sprague — Laurie Sprague Design
The top two things for me to take away is the importance of the revitalization of our downtown core and the importance of all the various groups working together for a greater good as a team. For example, city hall, the downtown business association and the port authority and any other key players in the business community of Corner Brook working together to be on the same page.
Liane Kennedy — Homeschooling at Marble Mountain
I would say the two top takeaways have to do with how you brand your product, how you brand a business, how you brand the city and how you brand the province, and how you bring tourism in. The other issue really at hand is that Corner Brook really hasn’t been open to tourism. They’re very interested in managing for themselves and tourists are sort of the chocolate sauce on the cake, but we like being the cake. Corner Brook is a city that operates for itself. Most of the year we don’t have tourists, or very few of them, so the focus really hasn’t been on catering to tourists, and I think it’s going to take a major mind shift within the community to start to view tourism as a primary opportunity as opposed to stores and as opposed to the mill.