By Maryanne Firth, The Tribune
Niagara’s South Coast is only a few short steps away from officially having its own tourism association.
An interim board of directors has been created and its chairman, Stephen Thompson, was before Port Colborne city council on Monday night hoping to see the association take a step toward being registered as a not-for-profit corporation.
Thompson, who also acts as Port Colborne’s manager and director of economic development, tourism and marketing, said the membership-based association has been in the works for about two years.
With council’s approval granted on Monday night, the association will be taking over Roselawn Corp.’s number, ultimately changing the name and mandate to reflect the new usage.
The city will update the letters of patent pertaining to Roselawn Corp., which has been inactive for several years.
The corporation began as the curling club long ago and has changed several times over the years, said Port Colborne’s chief administrative, officer Bob Heil, calling it a “shell corporation.”
Once the name and purpose are changed, the corporation will stand as its own entity with no direct affiliation to the city.
Over the past year, local stakeholders have shown their interest in creating the tourism association, Thompson said.
“The business community has approached us to says it’s something important to elevate tourism in the area,” Thompson said.
Interest in forming the association was apparent when more than 100 people showed up to a September 2011 meeting looking to get involved and express the importance of developing tourism in the Niagara’s South Coast area, said Ward 1 Coun. Dave Elliott.
“It’s great to have so many businesses in the area all interested in becoming partners.”
Though the project was initiated by Port Colborne, it’s now a south Niagara initiative, stressed Mayor Vance Badawey.
Participants from Fort Erie, Wainfleet, Welland and Pelham have come on board, he said.
Niagara’s South Coast Tourism Association
Interim board of directors include: Stephen Thompson as chairman, Jonathan George as vice-chairman, Lynn Goulet as secretary-treasurer, and Gloria Simon, Anne Matiuschuk. Dolores Fabiano and Kathy Buttigieg as directors at large.
Members will serve for one year to get the organization off the ground and then an election process from amongst the membership will be initiated.
The association’s head office will be at the Port Colborne Visitor information Centre, 76 Main St. W.