Editor: The arena issue may be more critical than what municipal administration may understand. With or without amalgamation, Chatham-Kent is a rural-urban setting, affording us opportunity to attract seniors and young families with the two areas of a living environment, Chatham catering to urban tastes and our bordering communities catering to rural tastes.
Roughly half of our revenue is generated from rural C-K. It’s a balancing act.
C-K must invoke the rule of effective marketing, identifying the potential market of seniors and younger families and then affordably creating the environment to best attract them to C-K. We cannot do that without fully structured rural communities. We are only losing a combined cost of about $23,000 per month for all 10 arenas, representing only part of an amount our office has calculated lost monthly by C-K through its diluted level of managing.
Remember, our arenas were built to compliment growth, not to make a profit.
An urban- rural area can be a marketable goldmine by maximizing investment revenues by securing a full diverse population of senior and new families, letting them choose an urban or rural setting, rather than just one or the other. You can’t tell people where they want to live.
It is imperative we maintain an effective rural community infrastructure having libraries, arenas, education, entertainment, shopping, retail, commercial and industrial in the same fashion Chatham continues to do.
Senior and young family investment is worth an average of about $725,000 per family.
Four new investment families alone would pay our annual 10 arena operating deficits; keeping our rural arenas in full operation keeps a full rural infrastructure value, thus giving CK a market venue and best chance to increase growth.
In 2018 a leak-proof proposal was provided to the municipality for the sole purpose of re-balancing C-K’s urban-rural investment by maintaining hard and soft-core infrastructure by giving our rural communities equal profile and equal opportunity through the municipal website. It seemed to fall on deaf ears. It’s almost as if C-K wants to abandon the rural area to make room for all the financial support to go only to Chatham at the rural expense.
The proposal guaranteed anyone visiting the C-K web portal would automatically be introduced and welcomed to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, identifying and automatically marketing each rural community rather than just Chatham. The site would automatically feature each community, with a “mouse over” bringing up each rural community amenity for shopping, recreation, education, theatre, retail, commercial, investment opportunity, annual events and allowing each Chamber and BIA to piggyback on the site to introduce their community’s attributes.
Additionally, the presentation called for C-K to publish quarterly infrastructure investment so each community resident would know what’s being invested in their area. Overall, every visitor/investor to C-K’s website would readily understand that Chatham-Kent is not just Chatham but is comprised of 23 fully equipped and serviced communities.
Our experience with the municipality would describe them wanting at times to do things their way rather than the right way. Dismantling our rural communities would be a continuance of ongoing mistakes. To obtain a courtesy copy of the rural urban marketing website proposal, please e-mail email@example.com