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A tourist’s eye view of Sault Ste. Marie
You've seen TV shows or ads for secret shoppers, where people go into a chain store and then review it for its head office.
Sault Ste. Marie's Downtown Association brought in consultant-for-hire, Roger Brooks, to review the area over the past week, but he actually reviewed the whole city and what it offers to tourists.
The well-known tourism and downtown revitalization consultant explored the city, and delivered his findings to business owners and community leaders on Monday, not pulling any punches.
"First of all, you have a waterfront that is literally world class, it is that stunningly beautiful. The challenge is, you don't monetize your waterfront and then you got downtown Queen Street, which seems to be turning more into a social service street, than a retail or dining district." said Brooks.
He also spoke about the signage in the Soo and what he calls a negative tone.
"You say ‘two hours parking max’. If you say two hour parking, we know. If you say ‘parking limit enforced’, well we know parking limits are automatically enforced. I've never seen a city with so many negative exclamation points on signs, and it was kind of like the message it's not safe. And it's not just the city, it's private signage that just seems like it's not safe here and if we do anything wrong ‘we are gunning for you’." said Brooks.
The consultant told the audience that the city has all the tools it needs to be a top destination spot, but some work needs to be done.
He offered a hundred suggestions and about 80 of them cost less than $30,000.
Many people in attendance called the presentation an eye opener.
Tonight at six we'll have the city's response to what Brooks thought about his time in the Sault.