By Justin Seward
Medicine Hat College’s marketing and research intern Jordan Pomrenke set out to design and follow through with a tourism and business plan for the Town of Redcliff that he conducted all summer to see where the town could improve upon to bring in more people.
He came forth to town council at the Aug. 21 regular meeting to present the executive summary results from the study that was done between May and August 2017.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” said Pomrenke, when he initially took on the project.
“There was a similar project done last year for the Village of Glenwood. I had a little bit of an idea of what it looked like but still jumping in, I had no idea how it would come together and so to actually see how it all came together, it was very exciting.”
Three surveys were handed out in the community including one for residents where there were 275 responses, the second was a tourism survey for visitors with 145 responses in total, while the last was for local business owners and managers with 22 responses.
“All-in-all it was a great experience,” he said.
“People were willing to sit down and accommodate my schedule for the interviews. They’re willing to provide as best feedback as they could to all my different questions. It was a lovely town and meeting people.”
His favourite part of the experience was interviewing the greenhouse owners because he grew up on small farm in Saskatchewan and it gave him a sense of appreciation for how operations work inside the facility.
The study showed that there is potential for more tourism opportunities in Redcliff.
Pomrenke did secondary research into the town’s options and the top recommendations included starting greenhouse tours, hosting more community events, campsite development by the river, hosting more community events, positioning the town as a green community, developing a net-zero community on the eastside of town and attracting custom manufacturing businesses.
He found with Redcliff having the slogan the ‘Greenhouse Capital of the Prairies’ that there is nothing related to the town other then selling produce. It was suggested to start greenhouse tours and strengthen the local community and attract tourists.
The resident’s feedback was they would like to see more community events and festivals because Redcliff has already acknowledged this as they are hosting the inaugural Fall Festival on Sept. 16. Other then Redcliff Days and the Redcliff Gospel Music Jamboree, there could be more music festivals, a tomato fight, a colour festival or a farm-to-table event.
As for the campsite by the river idea, there will be more campers attracted to Redcliff, while increasing business in the town.
For the town to become a greener community, it would become an effective resource for marketing and draw more residents and tourists to the community.
He said being a business student allowed him to understand the terminology and ideas that are being talked about , which provided him the opportunity to take those and make them into a bigger concept.