|Back to Home||Feature Article - June 14, 2012|
They came, they saw …and it was a great big secret!By Jeff Green
North Frontenac participates in “First Impressions Community Exchange”
In May, a group of community representatives from the village of Lyndhurst, Ontario paid an unannounced visit to Ompah and Plevna to get an outsider’s perspective of those communities.
The exchange helps communities to see themselves the way tourists, prospective businesses, relocating families, and non-local shoppers might see them. Their first impressions of a community have a strong influence on visitors’ decisions to relocate to or shop in the community.
“After you’ve lived in one place for a while, you sometimes take for granted the things that attract people to your community,” said project co-ordinator Wendy Higgins, a consultant who lives near Ardoch. “Or you may be unaware of aspects of your community that may be unappealing in the eyes of outsiders. The exchange gives a community an objective assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and gives participants a chance to gather ideas from other areas dealing with similar community development issues.”
Results of the First Impressions Community Exchange will be presented at a public meeting on June 21 at the Clar-Mill Hall, 6598 Buckshot Road.
The evening will begin with a meet and greet at 6:30 pm. The presentation by the Lyndhurst residents is scheduled to begin around 7:00 pm, followed by refreshments and an opportunity to talk to them about what was presented.
“We want to invite as many people as possible to come and see what Lyndhurst business owners, entrepreneurs, and interested citizens think about our area,” said Higgins.
She hopes for a good turnout, especially since 52 people attended a presentation in Lyndhurst last week by community representatives from Ompah/Plevna, who had paid a similar secret visit to Lyndhurst in early May.
The North Frontenac team; Betty Hunter, Ron Higgins, Paul Thiel, Corey Klatt, Lana Gunsinger, and Wendy Higgins gave their presentation to the packed Lyndhurst church hall on June 6.
“I think they knew what we were going to say regarding some areas, but we had some surprises in store for them too,” said Higgins.
When the North Frontenac representatives initially visited Lyndhurst to get their ‘First Impression’, they each had a cover story. Some said they were looking to retire in the community, some hoping to open a business, some looking to raise a family, etc.
Lana Gunsinger certainly enjoyed her visit to Lyndhurst.
“I love this town. I think it has great potential. I could really feel that the people of Lyndhurst are proud of their town and their people. So welcoming and friendly! Very impressed. I will be back for the renowned September Turkey Fair with my children,” she said in her notes.
On June 21, North Frontenac residents will find out what the Lyndhurst team experienced when they paid their own secret visit to Ompah and Plevna.
The program won’t end there, however.
“There will be work to do afterwards,” said Wendy Higgins. “We will look at what we can do in 72 hours, 3 months, and 2 years to better receive our visitors; to make their First Impression perfect; to bring them back again and to share with others. The team will continue to participate, but so will the population at large, the municipality and business owners; to set objectives and then to reach the goals.”
For further information about the exchange, contact Wendy Higgins 613-479-5509.