Retire in Kitimat is more than happy with the results of its March foray into the trade show world.
Margaret Sanou and Corinne and Ian Scott manned a booth at the Edmonton Boat and Sportsmen’s Show held March 17-20.
In a report to council, Sanou said the trio talked to about 300 people over the four days.
Their tactic was to buttonhole passersby by asking them if they were sports fishermen, liked fishing for salmon, or had ever been to Kitimat to fish.
“We gave everyone we spoke to all the pertinent information about fishing in Kitimat, and if they were more interested in hiking and outdoor pursuits, like photography, we provided them with the Chamber of Commerce hiking guide,” she said.
If the people were in their 50s or 60s, they also talked to them about the benefits of retiring in Kitimat – low cost of housing, milder winters than northern Alberta and availability of recreational and health care facilities.
Sanou said 30 couples/individuals expressed “a very high degree of interest” in retiring here and she expected most, if not all, would be coming to check Kitimat out this summer.
While nearly all were fishing enthusiasts, other things they found attractive about Kitimat included low municipal taxes and utility costs, the wide variety of outdoor pursuits, the pool and other indoor recreational facilities and the hospital/availability of family doctors.
A number of others had expressed an interest in retiring in Kitimat, but Sanou was not as sure they would follow up with a visit.
Several fishermen were interested in buying a summer home here while two individuals were “strongly interested” in investing in real estate.
And the owner of a production company was keen on filming in Kitimat for a fishing show he was working on.
While concluding that the Edmonton show was an excellent venue for promoting our community, Sanou said next time they needed to book earlier so as to get a booth on the main corridor or perimeter aisles where the traffic was greater than the side aisle location they had this year.
The trio also brought back a couple of pointers for the community:
q given the popularity of salt water fishing with the majority of people they talked to, “it is extremely important to increase our marina capacity”, and
q from a retirement perspective, “It is essential we retain all the services available at Kitimat General Hospital.”
Sanou also added that Kitimat would be even more attractive to northern Albertans as both a retirement location and vacation destination if there were direct Edmonton to Terrace-Kitimat flights.
The cost of the booth was covered by Rio Tinto Alcan while travel and accommodation costs would come out of the council grant for this year.