CFN – Does Cornwall Ontario need to change its name? This winter a comedian on CBC called Cornwall the “Crotch of Canada.”
A city councilor suggested expanding our borders to raise the population of the city because it has been stagnant or shrinking for decades.
Cornwall has been reasonably good at attracting seniors, but has failed in attracting younger people,especially families. In fact it’s gone to the lengths of targeting (pardon the pun) French Quebecers as they silently have been turning the city into a “bilingual” one or facsimile of with such measures as heightened French staffing requirements and the mayor and one councilor sitting on a committee that just jacked the city for thousands for a feasibility report on what many are expecting to be a French or Bilingual uni with the hopes of attracting Francophone families.
It’s in interesting strategy. Not sure about why it has to be so hush hush though?
With reports from Magazines like Moneysense and the CFIB’s scores in their yearly Communities in Boom report painting Cornwall near the bottoms of their scores reinforcing the reality of Pitt Street & Montreal Road’s empty store fronts maybe it is time to recalibrate?
Of course one could also look at some of the root cause which have to do with Cornwall and its residents themselves. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg paradigm; but some of the worst abuse of the Cornwall “Brand” comes from locals themselves.
How many City managers live in Cornwall and why? Why does for example Economic Development’s Bob Peter’s wifey prefer shopping in Quebec to Cornwall? Nothing wrong with that, but surely it’s not going to help develop our Economy locally? Do we not have some great stores here in Cornwall?
In the art and music scene is it that Cornwallites for example won’t support shows and events or that promoters and venues don’t pull their weight?
Bands like The Trench Town Oddities tour extensively outside of Cornwall; but do they get enough love inside? I watched one night at Kelsey’s Graham Greer of Barstool Prophets fame actually have people leave the patio because he was playing instead of enjoying the huge opportunity of hearing this talented musician.
Our festivals for example have come under fire and with good cause in many instances. CFN was a sponsor of Lift Off in 2010; it’s greatest year according to the organizations own website when Chris Savard, former President before leaving Cornwall, posted an attendance of 55,000; but corruption and toadying to one particular media outlet led to public disappointment with crowds estimated at under 20,000 for the fest in 2012.
While the board changed some faces it’s pretty much the same old same old. When they doubled some ticket prices last year in spite of knowing that Ribfest was invading Cornwall it clearly showed a lack of understanding that comes from doing things they way they have and relying on the old excuse of “we’re just a bunch of volunteers” in spite of taking city funding. One credit is that some of CFN’s stories helped lead the local opening acts finally being paid and if rumors are true there will be an actual Country music band along with old has beens from the 70’s.
Here is Jason Jesmer, head honcho at Lift Off this year pleading with the Police board for a break on security in spite of all the cash and in kind that Lift Off gets from Cornwall.
Last year Cornwallites clearly showed that they preferred an event with Free Admission in Lamoureux Park as Pork to Balloons and enjoyed some of the local tunes compared to old has beens that fit the local Corus radio station format.
Ribfest is a travelling show which made it easier for local promoters although even that group has had it’s issues, trials and tribulations.
Surely at some point someone at City Hall will perhaps whisper into someone’s ear and suggest that excuses are for losers and perhaps some of that slush and cash Lift Off raises should be spent on professional event management instead of coming to the city asking on a break for security costs which really aren’t much more than $10,000 for the entire event?
Of course this is just an example. The problem is that there are two Cornwall Ontarios. The one for the insiders or “clique” and the one for the public that usually pay the bills for the misadventures of a system run with far too much cronyism where the bar gets lowered generationally.
This leads to young people moving away; even chunks of the community leaving, and that’s never good.
To attract growth you need to be attractive. You need to celebrate everything that is good; not just those you like or agree with especially if you’re doing so with tax dollars.
An example is this very newspaper. CFN started in 2009 to chants of “Your nuts! Cornwall will never support an online Newspaper; but four years later we are the most read newspaper in this city and with an online presence only. No trees are cut to put out our product which over 41,000 unique visitors checked out in March and that doesn’t count our Social media foot print which has one of the highest Klout scores in the region.
Cornwall’s city hall typically refused to acknowledge any of our accomplishments or milestones. They refuse to cover any of our stories on the City’s Choose Cornwall website using writers from the two media outlets that they pay the most money to yearly. Both of those outlets are of course owned outside of the city. And ironically CFN provided the Choose Cornwall website with more traffic in 2012 from old banner ads in 2011 than those that they were paying money to that entire year. Again, does that make business sense?
Some of the Kilger Cabal simply don’t seem to understand that CFN is it’s viewers; not one writer or person.
The city goes as far as to list filmmakers and leave this scribbler off of the list. It’s childish; but more importantly it’s not productive and bad for business.
One local tourism outfit marvelled that they’ve never been featured in Cornwall Living magazine, but again that goes back to the two solitudes of Cornwall. If you’re not in; you’re out. It’s not unique, but the brand and degree of it in Cornwall is quite intense.
Same for RFP and city contracts with many going to outside providers as though local’s are just not good enough. Did we really need a Quebec contractor to handle one of the biggest construction gigs in recent history with the Hospital renovation? Really?
Of course you can’t change a society that quickly. Sometimes you can never change it. But the thing is that if you don’t at least try you’re stuck with the status quo. Are you happy with your status quo?
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