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Council sees role for Grand Falls-Windsor as a movie town

['<p>The Atlantic salmon run on the Exploit’s River was down about 25 per cent this summer.</p>']
['<p>The Atlantic salmon run on the Exploit’s River was down about 25 per cent this summer.</p>']

Municipal leaders want to audition Grand Falls-Windsor as a movie town. 

The push is part of a bigger economic plan council hopes to implement.

“The film industry is something that puts millions into the economy, bringing in film crews and destinations,” Grand Falls-Windsor Coun. Mark Whiffen told The Central Voice. “I think here in the Exploits Valley, we have many assets that could benefit the film industry.” 

He points to the Exploit’s River that winds through the town; the historic Grand Fall House, as well as sites on Hodges Hills and others. 

The idea is not limited to Grand Falls-Windsor; the pitch would be on behalf of the region he said.

Other parts of the region might also appeal to filmmakers, said Whiffen, citing places like the Buchans Plateau, the old mine site in Buchans, Fortune Harbour and Cottrel’s Cove.

“There are just so many sites within close proximity to Grand Falls-Windsor, why can’t we get in on this industry?” Whiffen asked. “What do we need to include in a portfolio? 
“It’d be a regional project.” 

Trying to appeal to the film industry is just of the things Grand Falls-Windsor is considering as it builds a plan to improve the local economy.

Relying on a production company to chose the town to film in or at the least stay in while filming somewhere in central Newfoundland isn't the only thing Grand Falls-Windsor is relying on.

There are other pillars to this economic plan would see the town look at its tourism plan and update aspects of its marketing tools.

Taking them one at a time, the tourism development plan and any improvements made would be about increasing the town's tourism product offerings.

Whiffen sees the plan including an inventory of what Grand Falls-Windsor has to offer, identifying gaps and working to fill those voids.

"What can we do to put together a comprehensive tourism strategy that will attract people to Grand Falls-Windsor and have them want to visit and want to stay,” said Whiffen. 

To help identify where the town should go with their plan, they're looking at a meeting of tourism stakeholders before the next season and attempt to spotlight any opportunities for itself, businesses, community groups and individual entrepreneurs.

Whiffen already has one idea of where to push the town when it comes to tourism and that is extending the season past the traditional Labour Day stopping point and into October.

Ideally, updates to the town's current marketing plan would help with this.

The perfectly centred branding isn’t something the town wants to change or alter for the sake of doing it. Town officials are pleased with what they have.

Instead, it needs an update as it has been used for most of the last decade.

The town would this opportunity use its marketing plan to identify strategic options to increase population, attracting and retaining businesses, update its website and promote the tourism industry.

“(The marketing plan) will just tie everything together,” said Whiffen. “We have all of these components, they’re not consistently implemented. 
“We have to get better at doing that.” 

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