Gogama finds ways to make the area inclusive and welcoming
Looking for a way to expand and grow into a more inclusive and welcoming destination, the Municipality of Gogama has been busy with a handful of projects for both residents and people looking to visit.
“Going back a few years, we established a community playground to be part of that infrastructure that’s needed to attract people coming into town,” said Gerry Talbot of the Gogama Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve put up some new signage on Highway 144. We’ve worked with the community library in trying to make it even more attractive for the people that are visiting our community and quite a few other things, as well.”
More recently, Gogama launched a tourism brochure to attract more visitors and a five-year economic development plan. Although the list so far has quite a few completed projects on it, Talbot said there is always more to be done.
'We had to do something to stay alive'
“It’s important to the community because over the years we’ve had outmigration of our youth and we’ve had some people move away, we’ve had some employers that have shut down their organizations so people, you know, the population was dwindling,” he said. “So we had to do something to stay alive.”
Talbot said the municipality is run by a group of volunteers. He said improvements, like the ones listed above, take a team effort, including the help of The Venture Centre.
“In small communities you don’t always have the expertise that is required to carry out some of these projects or to create an economic development plan, and that’s where you rely on organizations such as The Venture Centre to help you achieve these projects,” he said.
“The board is made up of people that know the needs of small communities … The staff is able to help us with completing applications that sometimes complex government funding applications so that we can get funds to carry out some of our projects.”
The Venture Centre
Since its inception in 1994, officials said The Venture Centre has had a working relationship with Gogama.
“We’ve assisted with strategic planning whenever it was required, with tourism, with marketing and social media,” said Amelie Pelletier, chair of The Venture Centre board. “We’ve provided some support for community development as well.”
“We all know that funding sometimes is very scarce for some of these community development projects so it’s important to not only support the businesses, but support the residents in these smaller communities so they can support, in turn, the businesses,” she added.
Talbot said the completed projects have already seen a payoff, with children using the playground three out of the four seasons a year and everyone now being able to access the museum with the new ramp.
He said that without the help and expertise of The Venture Centre, a lot of the projects wouldn’t get done.