Monday, May 4, 2009

Putting Our Best Foot Forward

Last Friday kicked off Spring up to Clean Up in Thunder Bay and over 9000 people came out of their workplaces and schools to pick up winter's nasty little surprises around the community. The receeding snow leaves its share of litter and debris but so do inconsiderate residents. Its the reality of a winter city and we can take some degree of comfort in knowing that every city faces this problem. This effort helps out the dozens of parks and road crews out scrubbing the roads and parklands in preparation for the spring visitor season.

The tourism and waterfront staff did our part too, getting out to collect litter, old tires and even disgarded car parts along the waterfront office road. In our case, this was the first time in over 5 years that people have been working along that road and so , it was quite a task. however, it took a team of 8 people only 30 minutes to make a huge dent in the accumulated litter. In fact, while we were out there, citizens joined us, bringing their own garbage bags and gloves.

First impressions mean everything in our industry and as I begin my seasonal tours of the City's attractions and accommodators, I often point out ways that tourism businesses can improve the appearance of their business creatively and inexpensively. Picking up litter on a regular basis, cutting the grass, trimming weeds, planting gardens and trees and sweeping winter sand from parking areas are all easy and inexpensive ways to make a business shine. Even installing ash trays and garbage cans is something easy to do but often overlooked. These are all easy things to do, using existing staff but sometimes get overlooked for a variety of reasons. Maybe its because I am a former landscaper but my big peeve is unkept grass and empty flower beds.

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce ( annually gives out a looking good award and this year, congratulations go out to the Best Western Norwester Resort Hotel. Some others that consistently shine also include the Valhalla Inn (, OLG Casino Thunder Bay ( , Fort William Historical Park ( and the Day's Inn ( properties and they deserve a round of applause for the continual efforts made to promote clean and green. I encourage our tourism partners to get out there, look around your businesses and see what the visitor sees. Check out other properties and you will find that you don't need to do a lot to make visual improvements.

The City of Thunder Bay's Clean, Green and Beautiful committee is another great new initiative worth noting. $300 000 annually is set aside in the City's operating budget for projects that promote a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing community, including public art and campaigns that celebrate businesses and organizations who have made an difference in presenting themselves through clean and green initiatives.

For more information on getting involved in Spring Up to Clean Up and other environmental programs and advice for your business, visit Eco Superior at

No comments: