Tourism may take bashing: operators
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
To continue reading, please subscribe:
Monthly Digital Subscription
$4.75 per week*
- Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
- Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
- Access News Break, our award-winning app
- Play interactive puzzles
*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/07/2016 (2426 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
While business owners in Churchill don’t anticipate an immediate drop in tourism following layoffs at the Port of Churchill, they are concerned for the town’s well-being and how they’ll be able to serve visitors in the future.
“We’re concerned primarily for the staff and families affected by the layoffs. That’s the primary concern. I think it’s important that precludes any discussion about impacts on tourism,” said John Gunter, president and CEO of Frontiers North Adventures.
“I don’t think the port closure will affect our ability to attract guests to Churchill. That issue, I think, is a little far-removed from people searching for kayaking with beluga whales or locking your gaze with a wild polar bear.”
‘We own a restaurant here, so now it’s only one freight train. That is going to have a huge impact on us… ‘– Belinda Fitzpatrick, owner of the Tundra Inn
The closure may still affect a tourist’s experience. Families may leave town in search of work, and Gunter said that affects the local economy and could result in more job losses elsewhere.
“If these jobs go away and don’t come back and people leave town, the tax base is reduced, and the town’s ability to provide services for (tourists), that ability is diminished,” he said.
“It definitely snowballs. If there are fewer families in the community, there are fewer kids in the school, there’s less of a need for teachers, there are fewer teachers in town.”
After Belinda Fitzpatrick, vice-president of the Churchill Chamber of Commerce, heard that Omnitrax plans to reduce freight train service to once a week from twice a week, she said she was worried restaurants wouldn’t be able to serve tourists or residents.
“We own a restaurant here, so now it’s only one freight train. That is going to have a huge impact on us getting our food to operate the restaurant,” said Fitzpatrick, who owns and runs the Tundra Inn.
“Even Home Hardware trying to get lumber and people trying to get whatever they need (for) maintenance in the summer. I think the freight issue for us in tourism is gonna have a big impact. Of course, all of the people getting laid off who will have no money and no job, there’s going to be no money being spent in the community.”
David Daley of Wapusk Adventures, which offers dogsled tours and races, is the chamber’s president. He said he worries the layoffs and reduced service will translate into less track maintenance, which could affect Via Rail’s service to Churchill.
“The little use they’ll have on this railway, are they going to keep it upgraded to safe conditions?” Daley said. “Via has enhanced their service. They have a chef onboard the train now, trying to increase the tourism to Churchill.
“So, if that rail line becomes degraded because Omnitrax isn’t fixing it, then that would affect tourism.”