Which is more important; Residents or Tourists

This question came up a bit at the last meeting I attended for the local Waterfront Committee, of which I am a member of. Some of the group wanted to build an attraction on the waterfront of where I live. “It will bring people here, be a destination,” said one member. Our beach is one of over 15 shut down along the St. Lawrence River due to E-Coli. Stupid Geese.

The question is important though. Locals live in the town 365 days a year. Tourists come to town in the summer months and spend money. Is it better to create things that will draw tourists in, or worry about the locals. I am inclined to say eff the tourists and look at the local aspect. Growing up from age 9-18 in a town that was tourist-centric, it was difficult. Most businesses were tourist oriented and after Thanksgiving most would shutdown until May the following year. We already have to drive our kids to Cornwall, Brockville or Ottawa for things like doctors appointments. It’s a royal pain  in the arse not having sources local.

It’s not just having to drive, it’s the quality of what we have. Recreational programs in my town are meager at best. The exceptions is the hockey program (don’t skate) and the soccer league (coach two teams, four kids in). Heck our town removes sidewalks because they get in the way of the cars. So targeting any kind of waterfront plan has to include the locals because, hey we’re here all year, in my view. We’ll see if I can get the other eight onside.