We all know time flies, and this summer passed by at warp speed. But it passed in the most positive fashion. What a difference a ship makes. Thousands of visitors found their way into the Province via the Nova Star. They shopped in our stores, ate in our restaurants, slept in our Inns, B&Bs, hotels and motels, took part in our experiences and enjoyed our hospitality. There can be little doubt as to the economic impact on this entire Province and beyond, and we most certainly felt it here in Yarmouth. In my many conversations with leaders throughout the Province it’s confirmed - the ship has begun to make the difference we knew she would.
As tourist season slows down, it’s imperative that we do two things: first, we need to celebrate our successes. Just as it was with the ship, with little leeway time, we stepped up to the plate in many areas. We provided visitors with the experience they were looking for: a mixture of food, fun and hospitality. No one does it better. A very special thank you goes out to the Visitor Information Staff who provided top-notch service to thousands of visitors. Second, we need to look at what we need to do differently. Council passed a motion last month to hold a public meeting to discuss how we can help each other take full advantage of the next tourist season, together. The meeting will be held in October and the public will be advised of the exact date.
Over the past couple months I’ve met with a number of business people who have already taken bold steps here in Yarmouth and with quite a number of others who are working towards establishing themselves here. We’re all excited about the purchase and subsequent plans for the jail, and just across the street from there, a beautiful building is being restored and will be home to a restaurant I’m certain many of us will frequent. They’re two examples of quite a number existing and of those to come.
The past couple months have been full of activity including filling two very important positions with the Town of Yarmouth. We extend a warm welcome to Caroline King as the Director of Planning and Development and to Natalie Smith as our Economic Development Officer. The experience and expertise they each bring as part of our team is vital in moving us forward. There’s much to be done and these positions will play a part in ensuring Council’s priorities, including being more open and inviting and increasing the tax base through various initiatives are kept in the forefront.
October 24th and 25th are the dates for the Entrepreneurship Expo which is being held at NSCC Burridge Campus. The day will include keynote speakers, panelists, workshops, one-on-one consultations, a trade show atmosphere and much more. If you’re thinking of expanding your business, this is the place to be. If you are thinking about starting a business, it’s also an absolute must – that includes businesses big and small, as well as students and others who are interested in opening a summer or other business. Look for more information in the media in the coming weeks.
The Ekistics Plan is in full swing and Council is working diligently to ensure the implementation of various components. Presently they include streetscape improvements, bumpouts and of course the facade program. It’s encouraging to see that so far 28 businesses on Main Street are taking advantage of this program, which means downtown Yarmouth will look different this time next year. There’s still time for more to sign up. At the very least we encourage you to make a call to see if the program fits with your plans. Council will of course discuss going further with this program next year as the response has been excellent. It’s important to understand this is not simply about looking good, but also about creating an environment where current businesses thrive, people want to gather, and new businesses are looking to open.
It’s impossible to advise of everything that is happening. Each person sitting at this table, along with community members, make up a large number of committee and boards that meet regularly to take care of the Town’s business. Not a day or evening goes by that someone is not working at taking care of all that makes up Yarmouth.
As I say often, there’s much to be done. But when a community is as resilient as we are, and as determined, it’s important to remember that we’ll get there if we do it together. The Now or Never report stated very clearly that a change in attitude is needed if we’re going to turn things around. I can say that in Yarmouth, we’re on our way. And of course I say that with a big, positive smile!