The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce gave the public a sneak peek at the new heritage and investment app, and tourism website at the February 18 Regular Council Meeting.
The Town of Ladysmith voted to enter into a two-year pilot program that will give $17,000 in funding to the Chamber of Commerce to administer, maintain, and upgrade the app website. This funding is in addition to the Chamber’s existing tourism activities, and will come from the Town’s operational reserves.
A contract between the Town and the Chamber for $43,400 has been in place for the past 10 years to cover the costs of administering tourism services, and producing tourism guides. The hard costs of additional work brought on by the app and website are $17,000. The Chamber also asked for $3,300 in cooperative and enhanced marketing. Those costs would be the same no matter which group managed this work. The Chamber will not need to hire any new staff to complete this work.
The app will allow visitors to dive into Ladysmith’s history. Each Ladysmith building and business will have its own unique story integrated into the app. At launch, the app will have two walking tour functions that tell the story of Ladysmith’s heritage. As the app develops further, it will accommodate more rich multi-media content.
The website is actually two websites: one for tourism, and one for investment. The tourism site will showcase all of the tourism opportunities in Ladysmith, and the investment site will show all of the available development areas in Ladysmith, and provide information on how to invest in the business community, or start a new development.
This was undertaken and funded by an unprecedented partnership with Town of Ladysmith, Stz’uminus First Nation, the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, the Nanaimo Airport, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures Central Island, the development of an app and tourism website was highlighted as an immediate priority economic development strategy.
Grant funding was also received from the Island Coastal Economic Trust, and a Digital Skills for Youth grant from the federal government.
The Chamber will report back to the Town on the results of the app and website for the first two years. Funding will be reviewed at the end of the two-year pilot project.