Mark Brown 10/11/2013 5:45:16 AM Report
Good morning all (ettadnigrstingtmyskipperdave,pgbsswcm!)
NEWS FROM COMMITTEE:
The second biggest piece of news to come out of the Accessibility and Advisory Committee (AAC) yesterday was:
Beginning in December of 2013 every single solitary purchasing decision made at City Hall is going to include accessibility considerations! That doesn't mean that every purchase will include an accessibility component, but, at the very least, accessibility will ALWAYS be CONSIDERED when purchases are made down at City Hall from here on in.
It's about time! Well done Province of Ontario. (opinion)
I tried to make this suggestion after the Historic Sites Board (HSB) meeting yesterday, but the meeting went on a little longer than expected and everyone was in a hurry to get back to their busy lives so I'm going to pass this idea along to you folks here in the VRoom before I officially submit it for consideration at next month's HSB meeting:
Earlier this year City Council approved an increase of up to $105,000 of the Ermatinger Old Stone House / New Heritage Discovery Centre operating budget because of the new HDC bringing the annual operating budget of these historic sites up to a maximum of approximately $325,000 per year (including both revenues and expenses).
At yesterday's meeting the HSB Committee adopted a resolution to recommend to City Council to increase the current annual Operating Budget to approximately $323,000 as a result of the addition of the new Heritage Discovery Centre to the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site (N.B. this has already been approved by City Council earlier this year).
During the same meeting the HSB Committee also approved a motion to recommend to City Council that the fees to attend these three historic sites, and to use the facilities both during and after regular business hours, be increased as a result of a City Staff request that came to the committee to have fees raised to reflect a 2% increase.
Bottom Line: Historic Sites Operating Budget - $323,000, and fees to attend and use the sites are going up.
Because we citizens of Sault Ste. Marie are already going to be paying $323,000 a year for these wonderful sites, why can't the HSB Committee implement a policy where all citizens of Sault Ste. Marie are granted FREE access to these sites DURING REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS, and because gift shop revenues seem to be languishing, according to the budget documents at the meeting, an aggressive Concessions (beverage, popcorn,...) strategy be employed to take advantage of the massive increase in citizen attendance at these wonderful sites in order to recoup some, if not all, of the lost admission revenues?
What do you VRoomers think? Have at it!
TODAY'S CITIZEN INFO & INPUT OPPORTUNITIES:
Environmental Monitoring Committee
Oct. 11, 2013 - 12 Noon TODAY
Civic Centre, 99 Foster Drive
3rd Floor - Thompson Room
Agenda: NO AGENDA POSTED ON THE CITY'S CORPORATE CALENDAR
If you would like to give any written or verbal input to ANY Board or Committee or upcoming Public Input Session, including today's Environmental Monitoring Committee, please write to the City Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating who you would like to provide your input to, and the clerk will forward your input and/or request to speak to the appropriate body.
*** Unfortunately I will not be able to attend today's Environmental Monitoring Committee citizen information meeting due to previous committments. Can someone, anyone, please attend the meeting, get the Agenda, take notes, and report what you found interesting in the VRoom here tomorrow? Thanks for your anticipated help. ***
Sincerely and Respectfully,
David Poluck 10/11/2013 7:45:35 AM Report
Good read Mark.
These types of ventures are cash sucking pits. Public tax monies to develop and public fees to maintain.
This is a community capital infrastructure project in history tourism.
Will it pay off? Time will tell.
Jimssm 10/11/2013 7:52:01 AM Report
There is no way added revenues from concessions would compensate even in a minor way for free admission for taxpayers.
This is not a 'stay all day' site like Science North where people would eat lunch as part of their visit and can be gouged because they can't really leave the area.
So what will really happen is the taxpayer will have to fork out more money to compensate for lost revenue.
David Poluck 10/11/2013 7:52:46 AM Report
Sad news for a generation lost in space.
Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter dies at age 88
Jimssm 10/11/2013 7:55:41 AM Report
Any tourism destination requires a 'critical mass' in order to become a 'destination' rather than just a place to visit 'while we're here'.
A larger venue (or more smaller ones) is required to bring tourist dollars into the city and keep them here for a longer period of time.
David Poluck 10/11/2013 8:01:35 AM Report
Jim, So you perceive a problem in the funding model?
What would you suggest be done different?
mamma 10/11/2013 8:04:57 AM Report
Good Morning Everyone. This is SkipperDave's wife. For everyone who has been wondering, he was air lifted back to the SAH (the barn, as he calls it) last night. He is slowly improving but not well enough to be home yet. I'm sure he would love a visit, just not quite ready for a summit! Be gentle!
flyhawk25 10/11/2013 8:33:14 AM Report
I can say that two years ago we had to put together a local tour for the cruise ship passengers quickly due to a weather problem.
We got two buses and bundled together the Bush Plane, Ermatinger Stone House and the AGA with a guided tour by the curator.
Our guests loved it and offered them the option of walking the waterfront from back to the dock at the Bondar Pavilion.Even recommended they might enjoy stopping at Docks to sit and watch the river traffic.
They really enjoyed it and I would say the possibility exists of a variation on that would work.
lambkins 10/11/2013 8:46:41 AM Report
All the best to the Skipper!! Missing his posts.
Jimssm 10/11/2013 8:53:09 AM Report
I only have a problem with giving permanent free admission to local taxpayers.
Thinking about it however, I see no problem with an annual 'taxpayer appreciation event' where we get free admission for a day and can visit what we helped subsidize.
David Poluck 10/11/2013 8:56:09 AM Report
Jim I agree.
soowat 10/11/2013 9:18:57 AM Report
mamma glad to hear that he's doing well enough to come home
Just Curious 10/11/2013 9:32:22 AM Report
Glad to hear Skipper's on the road back to good health.. I too miss his morning updates on family life and life in general.:)
Wisenheimer 10/11/2013 10:49:10 AM Report
Fly .. heard anything about the Cruise Ships that used to visit? I'd heard they were making plans to return. A lot of the passengers were German and the late Fred Severin would do his best to entertain if the weather didn't co-operate.
flyhawk25 10/11/2013 11:26:27 AM Report
The plan is for at least one visit next summer.
I've learned a bit about how the industry works. A condensed version is that the ships are leased by a broker from usually New York and flown under a flag of convenience. They are staffed generally with Norwegian captains and first officers and the rest of the crew are from anywhere.
They then broker a deal with a Canadian tour company to provide onshore services. Then they advertise the thing and the rates are not cheap.
One week top end is around $10K.That does not generally include airfare to or from port.
One problem is lack of a deep water dock here. Thus the ship size is limited.The other is that one of the key stops - Mackinac Island - does not have a US Customs facility.Consequently guests are off loaded either here or Soo MI and bused to the island.
And the US Customs and Homeland Security is a nightmare.
Add to that the industry is badly regulated and the result is often a financial mess for the Canadian companies to get paid.
And that's just a sketch.Add bad weather,breakdowns and crews leaving along the way or being replaced and you see the difficulties.
Let me emphasize that the Canadian broker is wonderful as are our Customs folks.
Fill in your own blanks.
irishfey 10/11/2013 1:21:59 PM Report
mamma>> hello. I havn"t been on this site for very long, so don"t know if i"m considered a " swamp person "" yet ,lol.. Just a line to let you know that we are praying for skipper Dave and i"m glad he"s back with you now and is doing better.. God Bless
Wisenheimer 10/11/2013 2:25:54 PM Report
A deep water facility at Saw Mill Bay would not do the Cruise Ships much good.
Unless a tour of Essar's coal pile and Lime Plant are included. But who knows!
David Poluck 10/11/2013 4:03:42 PM Report
I see the talk about a deep water port. How deep is a deep water port?
What is the depth of the river channel?
I was under the impression that lake freighters were a shallow draft.
Just Curious 10/11/2013 4:34:47 PM Report
They want to bring Ocean-going vessels in here to load directly for overseas instead of having to reload in Montreal. Lake freighters are,for the most part,shallow draft vessels....And it's also true,a deep-water harbour at the plant won't do much for tourism in the Soo...
T-rat 10/11/2013 4:37:34 PM Report
Hi Mamma. All good news that the Skipper is back in the Soo.....and you too! Soon as he's feeling up to it, he'll have to tell us in his own inimitable style about the flight over from Sudbury and the ensuing adventures around the halls of SAH at three or four in the morning. The Skipper's crew will love it and it will give them fodder for days. Give new meaning to the old biblical expression "I was lost and I am found".
Grump 10/11/2013 4:43:00 PM Report
Mamma I wish I had known he was back as I spent half the day at the barn today and could easily have visited while there. I get my knee surgery on Oct 22/13 but hope Skipper is home and doing very well by then. Regards G.
irishfey 10/11/2013 5:18:48 PM Report
Grump>> Wishing you well on your upcoming surgery... try and have someone stay with you all the time... my stay in there was a nightmare!!! Hope yours is better,, your left on your own, so treat your Lassie good. Food wasn"t bad but don"t think you will notice it ,lol... tip.. hook your good leg under your bad one to help you off the bed, you will see why. Would like to pop in and see you.. but i would be just running into all the rooms calling.. Grump, you in here,lol.. They will be giving you pain pills.. don"t be shy in taking them! Prayers will be sent your way...
CB4 10/11/2013 5:36:38 PM Report
Tired off Sootoday -China censoring the comment sections, pfft...
mallet 10/11/2013 6:09:22 PM Report
J.C and D. P.
The "step" in the locks is 27ft so any vessel wanting to use them is limited to that depth, also the channels are kept to that or a little deeper depth I do not know exactly what depth there is at Purvis's dock but I doubt very much if there is much less than that there, also "salty's" go to the steel plant docks frequently. This is where the catch 22 situation arises, you want a deep water port but not in the middle of town, but for cruise ships you need it near the middle of town. Most ports are in the middle of towns only specialty ports (containers) are built out where you have plenty of land for storage and we would have no use for that as the container ships being used today could not access the St Lawrence Seaway as built.
flyhawk25 10/11/2013 6:11:52 PM Report
T-rat...lovely statement that - 'Skipper's crew'.
We are indeed.
Motley always. Bickering and sometimes just fractured.
Not unlike a family. But without exception responding with prayers, good thoughts and anticipation for the return of our one armed captain.
When he finally gets on here and starts our days off with his wonderful early morning greeting and sage thoughts it will be time for the 'wild rumpus' to erupt.
And then to imagine a Summit with him is...almost enough to soften even the hardest heart.
Step one is complete. He's back in town.
Now let's get him home to his family.
skipper dave 10/11/2013 7:49:32 PM Report
Good eve sweet soo!
I hope to be the first to day to say you are loved and lovable. To mr grump and mrs grump, that was the nicest warmest visit I have ever received. I had to double chech the olL brain bucket to realize I was in Sudbury. To my wife, wow this woman starts at beautifuL and takes it to new levels she has never let go.. They almost lost me the silLy buggers. They had to restrain my one good arm while I thought all tubes should be removed
mallet 10/11/2013 7:55:18 PM Report
Nice to see you pounding the keyboard once again. Send me your e mail address to email@example.com and I will send you some links to nice seas side pictures from across the pond.. they been having some real rough weather...
Resident 10/11/2013 11:09:35 PM Report
Welcome back Skipper Dave!!!!!
Just Curious 10/11/2013 11:40:26 PM Report
Mark Brown 10/12/2013 5:46:34 AM Report
Welcome home skipper dave!!!!
I can't wait to meet you, oh captain, my captain. I'll be by the barn sometime this week if it's okay with you and Momma!?!
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mark Brown 10/12/2013 6:35:02 AM Report
You said, "This is a community capital infrastructure project in history tourism.
Will it pay off? Time will tell."
The "pay off" for many people in our community is simply that these historic sites exist as an opportunity for our citizens and our tourists to more fully know and experience, through vibrant interpretive displays, the rich history in and around Sault Ste. Marie.
The voyageur history, the aboriginal history, the industrial history, the fish and wildlife history
The MAIN "pay off" of these Historic Sites, David, are EDUCATIONAL, and their secondary "pay off"s are their ability to DRAW TOURISTS, which is done primarily through good word-of-mouth advertising... the financial, cost recovery, "pay off"s are very important, however, they come a very very distant third in the "pay off" hierarchy.
That is why it makes absolutely no sense, to me, to charge an admission fee.
Monies should be generated primarily through concessions, donations and gift shop sales IMHO... especially if you knew the actual $$$, or lack thereof, that these historic sites generate.
An admission fee during regular business hours is an educational, and word-of-mouth advertising BARRIER of HUGE proportions. It severely limits the number of people who might be educated about our rich and wonderful history, and it also severely reduces the excellent word-of-mouth advertising that could be created to help draw tourists to our wonderful city.
An admission fee simply makes no sense when you consider the prime objectives of these Historic Sites, and especially if you know the numbers that these places generate in admission fees.
Make it FREE, I'm thinking now for EVERYBODY... citizens and tourists alike, in order to give people the easiest opportunity to immerse themselves in our rich History, and then to provide GLOWING word of mouth reports to their friends and family, outside of our city so that their friends and family, and their wallets, might better be encouraged to come and spend a little time in our wonderful city.
Now that would be a pay off!!!
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Mark Brown 10/12/2013 6:56:18 AM Report
You said, "There is no way added revenues from concessions would compensate even in a minor way for free admission..."
Do you know how much these sites expect to make in admission each year Jimssm? $30,000 for 2013, that's how much they have budgeted to make.
Do you know how much these sites have actually made for the 8 month period ending Aug. 31, 2013 Jimssm? $15,000 for the 8 month period, that's how much, which would be $22,500 for the year if a straight line projection is used.
That translates into 37 visitors (about one classroom full of students) per day every WEEK DAY (not weekends) who spend an average of $2.25 on pop and popcorn in order to match the actual fees that are being generated... that's not "minor compensation", as you said Jimssm, that's FULL RECOVERY of what is currently being generated in admission fees.
Thanks for confirming for me that FREE ADMISSION with only average concession revenues is a far far better model to operate these sites.
Besides, we don't charge to use the Library or the Museum, whey should this be any different?
We just have to step up our approach to generating revenue through concessions at each of the free admission sites in order to reduce the $$$ burden on us taxpayers.
Sincerely and Respectfully,