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Get it out there

The possible future of the Grand Falls House (and properties) sits in limbo while a consultant’s report lays gathering dust.

Council received a consultant’s report on the long-term sustainability of the house and properties early this summer. As yet, the details of the report have been guarded  —viewed only by council and provincial government partners.

The project to engage consultants and develop this sustainability report was handled by a sub-committee of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society — arms length from council, so to speak.

The Advertiser contacted committee members about a possible story once the report was finalized. They rightfully relented to council to release any details — their work was done with the management of the process, and council is the rightful owner.

In the words of Deputy Mayor Barry Manuel at the most recent town council meeting, “It’s just a report – it is not a plan.”

Within the report there is no commitment by anyone to do anything, so why not float the concepts for public perusal?

Other councillors agreed.

In a town screaming for a linchpin for tourism attraction, one would think the town’s leaders would have this matter placed squarely on the front burner.

Compared to other local centres (particularly Botwood), Grand Falls-Windsor is practically devoid of any celebration of history.

There is no real heritage collection showcase to speak off. Even the Logger’s Museum that celebrated the town’s connection to that industry was shut down earlier this summer.

In a town also screaming about economic diversity in the wake of the mill closure and the more recent shutdown of the Duck Pond Mine, tourism attraction (of which heritage portrayal can play a large part) has the potential to play a big role in shoring up the local economy.

There are even a couple of hotel/resort projects on the horizon to make stay and play options even more plausible.

Grand Falls-Windsor could be the central piece — the star attraction if you will — as a jumping off point for the cultural and historical experience for the Exploits region.

Time and tides wait for no man, so the time to start poking at the possibilities is now. After all, when you’re standing still, you’re really falling behind.

With the recent announcement of a new brand and riverfront development strategy, Bishop’s Falls zoomed past Grand Falls-Windsor in the race to tourism attraction and retention. Mayor Robert Hobbs was quick to point out at the launch, however, that keeping tourists around, and spending, will require a regional effort.

Several councillors spoke out in favour of releasing the plan at the Sept. 8 council meeting. Council also placed the potential for a government’s support of the sustainability plan on a list of 14 matters of interest and concern being sent to all provincial election candidates in hopes of gaining feedback.

In the meantime, the mutual agreement was that floating the plan and gaining public insight was a good thing. Yet, as of Sept. 17, nothing about the plan has been released.

For a council that seems intent on gathering public input on just about everything, it seems odd this one hasn’t been floated.

The question screaming to be asked is: why the continued delay?

There, now, it’s been asked.

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