Difficulties crop up in providing tourism info electronically

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

At least one tourist couple and a summer worker at Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park thought that there was nothing happening for Canada Day.
A summer worker at the park asked a fellow worker. This person only knew that Slave Lake didn’t have fireworks, because of the Riverboat Daze’s fireworks.

A tourist couple from Ontario camping at the park looked at slavelake.ca. The calendar listed the free pancake breakfast put on by Abundant Life Worship Centre and swimming.

There was no mention of Canada Day in the Park organized by the town.

On a tourism website, slavelakeregion.ca, the last upcoming event was June 2.

Investigation revealed that the omission on the town calendar was a slip. The information was on a different part of the website.

In the midst of promoting the event, putting it on the calendar must have been overlooked, says Chris Brown, Town of Slave Lake Communications Coordinator.

The regional website is more complicated.

Set up two years ago, it used to be run by economic development and the tourism society. The economic development position no longer exists.

As of November 2018, the tri-council tourism funding ended.

The tri-council consists of the Town of Slave Lake, Sawridge First Nation and MD of Lesser Slave River.

The tourism society is a subgroup of the tri-council. It includes people from town council, the MD council, and local businesses. Recently, Jeff Commins from the MD became the chair.

In the first year, the society had 70 members, Commins says. The website was getting around 150 to 160 hits a day.

The tourism group is virtually defunct, Commins says. The executive hasn’t met in eight months. Attempts are being made to set up a meeting.

Member Julie Brandle described the slump as “growing pains.”

People interested in the society can contact Brandle at 780-849-0940.

Last year the society made a brochure and updated maps which are available at the visitor information centre (VIC) and at various businesses. The information in the brochure mirrors the website.

The removal of the economic development person and the lack of society meetings mean that the regional website doesn’t have a permanent home.

Jillian Shepherd at the town and the staff at the VIC are trying to keep it up to date.

The VIC was closed the last half of May and the first week of June so staff could help with High Level evacuees. Since then, they have been very busy with in-person visitors, so haven’t posted new events.

The biggest challenge with the website is that people don’t send us their events, Shepherd says. To put events on slavelakeregion.ca email vic@slavelake.ca.

On the town website, the community calendar exists for community and town events, Brown says. The pool and library have been using it a lot. Business and other organizations can post on the calendar. It has been on the website since it launched in September 2016.

Events can be put on the town calendar by clicking on the plus sign on the calendar itself or through a form called ‘community events newsletter’. It takes around 24 to 48 hours for submitted items to be posted.

In the fall, the town plans to overhaul the website, Brown says. Sometimes things which are clear to one person are confusing to someone else. He appreciates feedback as it helps improve communication.

People with feedback can go to the ‘give me feedback’ section of the website or call Brown at 780-849-8033.

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