Growing Tourism in Flat Bay: A Partner’s Take on Grenfell Research

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Photo by Ivan White

Ivan White can attest to the benefits of partnering with Grenfell Campus on research.

Ivan was hired in 2016 to help develop tourism in Flat Bay, initially focussing on the creation of “third spaces” and a social enterprise park. The term “third spaces” refers to places between work and home where people can socialize, network, and relax.

“Our purpose was to start with showing people what Flat Bay is like the 363 non-powwow days of the year,”

says Ivan.

“To that end we formed a Recreation and Tourism Steering Committee and I began to network the Flat Bay Band’s involvement in tourism with everyone who answered my phone call or email.”

While work on developing third spaces and the social enterprise park progressed, the Recreation and Tourism Steering Committee also began to develop other existing tourism opportunities that the community already had the assets, infrastructure, and champions in place to take to market. These efforts led to a pilot program called A Walk in Our Shoes in collaboration with the local tourism operator Abadak Wilderness Adventures. A short participant survey indicated the pilot program had been well received.

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Photo by Ivan White

Partnership with Grenfell

Despite these successes more data was needed, particularly as the community sought to develop a Destination Marketing Plan – a form of business plan that was required to obtain funding for further development of tourism in the area. At the same time the work load of the expanding effort to develop tourism in Flat Bay was becoming a serious obstacle.

“As the project grew outward from the third spaces and park it became cumbersome for a staff of one and, at the suggestion of Kelly Anne Butler, I presented the project to Grenfell… As the summer approached Grenfell came forward with an amazing proposal. They would assist in the creation of a survey which, with the help of two Grenfell students, was then applied to 363 attendees of the 2017 Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Powwow. After my summer staff entered the data another Grenfell student compiled it and gave us the information in a usable format.”

After the research was compiled the Piskwa’ No’kmaq Tourism Department of the Flat Bay Band assembled the Destination Marketing Plan for Flat Bay. The Band then approved the plan’s use as a document for funding applications and placed the Piskwa’ No’kmaq tourism department under the newly formed Ewipkek Development Corporation.

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Photo by Ivan White

New Opportunities

Piskwa’ is a Mi’kmaw word meaning “come in;” the website for Piskwa’ No’kmaq is now online and can be used to discover and plan trips in the community of Flat Bay.

Ivan states that the ability to partner with Grenfell Campus on this research was a huge opportunity for the effort that helped to drive it forward.

“They [Grenfell] graciously offered everything they could to assist me and I cannot thank them enough. I’m seriously in this place’s debt.”

Written and edited by Conor Curtis and Ivan White

 

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