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Q&A with Harrison by-election candidates
Residents of Harrison Hot Springs are being asked to go back to the polls next Saturday, May 12. The by-election was spurred on when a Supreme Court judge ruled Richard Shelley was not eligible to run for council, due to complications with his role as a volunteer firefighter. A by-election was called in January, and nine candidates have stepped forward. Some are from councils long ago, some from councils more recent, and others are newcomers altogether.
The Observer asked them four questions about themselves and their visions for Harrison Hot Springs, in advance of the by-election. Click through at the bottom of each page to see the following questions.
1) How can tourism improve in Harrison despite a gloomy global economy?
Harrison used to do very well in a recession, being a more economical destination for Vancouver residents. But the past three councils have misspent hundreds of thousands while killing tourism with anti-business decisions such as the Springs Cafe residential highrise. Let small business take the lead again. We were doing fine until council pushed us aside and destroyed such successful events and activities as sand sculpture and windsurfing.
Harrison’s tax base is dependent on the success of tourism in the Village. Our businesses now pay of 3.5 times the residential tax rates. Our promotion slogan should be: “Make Every Weekend Count”. We need to devise strategies to assign activities and meanings to every weekend of the year to draw people here, be it summer, be it winter, spring, or fall. There are events that can be planned and promoted all year round.
I think the idea of contracting an events coordinator to work in conjunction with Harrison's existing Recreation Committee would be a step in the right direction. We could finance this through the use of government grants and funding. Given that the tourism season in Harrison is relatively short, we need to find new innovative ways to attract more people to our village both in the peak and the off seasons.
Arnold Gordon Caruk:
Bring back the sand sculptures. In order to cut costs have the sculptors housed by the citizens of Harrison. This would also be a good cultural exchange.
We need to attract more events that bring in viewing as well as participating public. Busking and music are very popular these day and can attract much viewing public, open air dancing on weekends, art walks, and many other low impact events which can draw many tourists to Harrison.
We also need to attract shoulder and off season traffic in town and explore ideas and ways to attract this type of attendance. Look just a wee bit beyond bedrooms and meals, and also beyond agenda orientated singular thinking for the betterment of the community as a whole.
Since we have the new director driving the SUV, the tourism doubled no improvement can be done just ask him for more improvement!
Provide an alternate access route in and out of The Village with Provincial Government funding:
a) Via Ruby Creek off the Hope Highway
b) or via a route on the west side of the lake to Pemberton.
With the support of council, The Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Officer, embark upon a strong marketing campaign to promote the beauty of this village.
I would do my best to encourage special events like the sand sculpture competition, Hobby Cat Regatta , etc. as well as promote the image of tourism friendly Harrison Hot Springs. I would also try to stop the "pay parking" attack on tourism as it is a disaster with long term consequences.
Harrison's tourism will improve as we add more accommodation for more
We currently have one of the lowest vacancy rates now. Conversely, Harrison has several unused prime lake front land lots. Attracting new development in these areas that accommodate more tourism will help all the businesses that need the tourists to prosper.
This will further facilitate the ability for Harrison to offer more Granville Island type shopping along our waterfront.
See Question Two:Why did you choose to run in this by-election?
See Question Three: What is one thing you'd lobby for if elected?
See Question Four: How do you envision Harrison Hot Springs in 20 years?