Twinning touted as ‘true’ economic development

By Karen Fallon

Amherstburg has become recognized as a “cultural Mecca,” notes Anne Rota, Manager of Tourism and Culture and Rick Daly, Manager of Business Development and Programming in a report to council.

With having “so much in common with our American counterparts” Rota and Daly asked council to approve twinning between Amherstburg, Monroe Michigan and Put-in-Bay in Ohio on the basis of cultural and economic development and to promote education, tourism, sport, festivals and events, waterway access and the War of 1812 Bi Centennial collaborations.

This is “in keeping with the bi-centennial mandate to promote and celebrate the 200 years of peace and prosperity and the longest undefended border between Nations,” noted Rota.

Significant events during the War of 1812 took place on Lake Erie and along the shoreline of all three communities.

History, demographics, economic standing, water access investigation and the willingness to cooperate in highlighting the cultural similarities is a natural fit to form a tri-sister twinning exercise, it was noted in the report.

A delegation of approximately 30 people including the mayors of all three communities met on June 16, 2011 to discuss strategies and projects which can be incorporated marketing, promotion and economic development from the onset.

During a “friendly” meeting held with representatives from each community to discuss possible events to promote the War of 1812, the idea of twinning the three communities was raised, says Daly.

Outlined in the report is that the tri community Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Bureau, sport facilities and educational institutes are to investigate opportunities to promote each others assets and tourism products.

Some ideas for all three communities include: gateway signage proclaiming the sister cities; legacy gift exchange between Rotary’s, international Peace Garden linkage and sharing best business practices between communities.

“I think that this is a brilliant idea,” said councillor Carolyn Davies. “Not only will it bring in tourism, but I think some of the ideas that are already in play will be a wonderful link-up.”

“This truly emphasizes a regional approach to tourism that is necessary in this day and age,” said councillor John Sutton. “It is real feather in Amherstburg’s cap that they want to partner with us.”

“I think this speaks highly to the work that has been done and is still on going and certainly the work of the future that is going to make Amherstburg the destination spot in Southwestern Ontario.”

“This is true economic development between the tri-communities,” said Rota

There are no expectations for financial obligations at this time, noted Daly.

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