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Thursday, December 1, 2022
Letter: What’s the plan to curb over tourism?
Letter. Supplied

Dear editor:

Worldwide we have witnessed vibrant cities, towns, whole cultures and economies destroyed by overtourism enthusiasts.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is on this slippery slope as our Chamber of Commerce, tourist board, merchants etc. are intoxicated with methods and travel routes to attract and ferry more tourists into NOTL, particularly the heritage district.

In short, tourism per se has not improved, one iota, the quality of life for the residential taxpayer.

The present and former councils, plus our town officials, for decades have refused or are incompetent in coming up with solving one of the major overcrowding issues: Parking.

As we approach the Oct.  24 election, there is still no plan. So, where will all the additional tourism traffic park?

Few would disagree that tourism is critical to our town’s economy. Fewer would disagree that a tourism plan, if we have one, comes close to protecting and preserving our cultural heritage.

We read of these concerns in our newspapers weekly but, sadly, our voices are falling on deaf ears.

Take for example the exodus of hundreds of residents, both old and new, from our town during the housing price boom for this very reason.

A small number upsized or downsized and stayed in NOTL.

Others got out of dodge. They did not like the overcrowding making life as we knew it unbearable.

New residents regularly express their disappointment with their expectations after moving here, as opposed to their impressions as a visitor.

Many leave quoting: “I do not wish to live here long term nor make this my retirement destination.”

This is a sad indictment of the changes we are experiencing in our town and these sentiments will have a long-term effect as they get passed along.

Are we at or close to a tourism saturation point yet? Is there a plan to address the knock on effect of overtourism, not only regarding the parking problem but other infrastructure issues?

More importantly, should the taxpayers not be apprised of such actions and any attendant contingency plans? Transparency and all that.

Samuel Young