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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Friday, December 9, 2022
Who is WeLuvNOTL? Anonymous group worries about tourism growth
Niagara-on-the-Lake's clock tower in Old Town. File

Who luvs NOTL? Well, we don’t really know for sure. 

A few weeks ago a group that goes by the name of WeLuvNOTL started placing ads in area newspapers, causing quite a stir within the community.

The group is concerned about increasing tourism in Niagara-on-the-Lake and worries that visitor numbers could soon double if left unchecked.

The group wants tourism to be driven by a pro-residents town strategy.

Its members are concerned that soon day trippers will dominate the streets of NOTL and that eventually Old Town could look like the Niagara Falls tourism district. 

So, this again brings up the question: Who is WeLuvNOTL? 

When The Lake Report asked WeLuvNOTL who its members are, a spokesperson, who insisted on anonymity, responded with a statement saying, “We are your neighbours, we are long-term residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake that have been adversely impacted by tourism and fear what might come over the next 10 years without oversight.”

Members insist on staying anonymous because “we were forewarned by other groups that (a) small but very vocal group of pro-tourism people can become abusive and bully their neighbours for speaking up.”

The spokesperson said the organization has received hate mail that’s caused distress among its members.

“It’s time to reconcile and start work on ensuring that going forward Niagara-on-the-Lake is not destroyed by overtourism,” the group said.

The group’s responses raise more questions, including how can a group make such vocal claims about an important public issue, but expect to remain anonymous? 

The group appeared displeased with some of the questions The Lake Report asked and said that instead of trying to lift the veil on WeLuvNOTL, “may we suggest instead you write a fact-based article on the issue of tourism and its impact and benefits.”

The spokesperson also said some of those who have questioned who is behind WeLuvNOTL are aligned with pro-tourism council candidates.

The group apologized for its “shock and awe” ad campaign, but said, “We felt it was necessary to make the pro-resident town tourism strategy an important election campaign issue.”

“If the tourism industry is left unchecked we can expect day tripper tourism to double from 2020 to 2030.” 

The group estimates that if tourism grows at 7 per cent annually, it could double in eight  years.

“Our goal is to educate everyone so that the citizens and our town can plan appropriately for more ordered tourism growth,” the spokesperson said.