Recently the Meaford Chamber of Commerce again hosted the annual Community Awards, an event it initiated and organizes. One particular award “is presented for a commitment to local tourism through a welcoming attitude, awareness and promotion of local attractions by a business” – The Tourism Award.
Oddly, The Tourism Award went not to a “business” but to the Chamber itself – although indirectly as it was given to The Apple, an iconic structure owned and staffed by the Chamber through student grants and an $8,000 municipal operation grant.
This is a second time the Chamber has won for tourism, essentially winning one of its own awards. Yes, the nominations for the Community Awards come from citizens and yes, there is an independent selection committee but was this committee aware of the fact that the Chamber created the Tourism Award, and owns, and operates The Apple as a tourism and business promotion (a perk of Chamber membership) and trains the staff?
Certainly in some way honour and congratulate the students who work and provide a service at The Apple on behalf of tourism and business. But surely the Meaford Chamber of Commerce should question itself on the appropriateness of winning any award it gives out, especially one the Chamber created to honour others. Does the Chamber need to continue patting its own back? It is not a good look.
Perhaps it is in the Chamber’s best interest to recuse itself from future nominations of its own awards and return to acknowledging one of the many outstanding businesses that offer tourism initiatives. Much better optics.
Donna Gorrie, Meaford