Earlier in the week we reported the tourism ward forum in the Courthouse and on the ill-defined ending to the event. Now that time permits we'd like to bring you a bit more from the event. The Westies's*, Brian Stewart spoke, he wished to try to identify ways forward:
He said: “It seems to me that this discussion, particularly the latter part of it has either confused or overlapped to different things. The two strands that we have talked about at this meeting are: 1, the product and 2 the presentation and it is important to be clear that there is a distinction [...] we’ve got a good product because it is kind of there naturally but there is a real task to be done in improving it. That itself is a big ask They may be little things but the amount of agonising and anguish over cleaning up seagull poo, you wouldn’t believe. So, even though we talk about what is little they do seem to present obstacles. That’s area of action number 1, is our product good and how can we make it better?
The second chapter heading is presentation, how do we publicise, how do we present, how do we inform about...the problem is you can’t do one without the other, it is no good having a brilliant product if nobody knows it’s there. But equally there is no point in spending huge sums on websites and marketing and brochures and video ads and whatever if your product is crap. In terms of a way forward on this, I think we ought not get too hung up on whether we need a 100 quid or 200 quid to tart up a website or even anguish too much about a BID. I think I agree with people who say that is a step too far at this point. But I think in deciding what we do and how we organise ourselves to do it we have to be very clear that there are two major tasks to be done: there’s a lot of work to be done on both but they both have to be done side by side – without a good product you can’t do anything and without the presentation you aren’t going to have a product.”
Liz* then said: “I think there are lots of things you said there Brian will pull into the charrette that is coming up at the end of the month...”
Brian was quick to intervene: “The charrette is a different matter, the charrette is about planning and regeneration of the physical fabric of the town. It’s not going to be the panacea, the cure-all and solution to Nairn’s problems. The Charrette is a part of it because the charette, hopefully, will come up with sensible, feasible, affordable ideas for improving our product, for responding to some of the comments and slides that Rosemary put up, like the state of the church or the derelict...the physical appearance of the town. Planning is crucial for this and one of my hobby horses is, that up till now, there has been no vision for the town. It has been piecemeal, ad hoc, knocking down and building up and hopefully what the charrette will do is take a look at the whole town from the harbour to the station and actually figure out what needs to be done to make the place look and feel better. But that is not tourism information that is planning and organisation.
*Note for any new readers – The Westies are the West Community Council and Liz is Liz MacDonald the Area Political Leader.