Carleton Place BIA launches new online community events calendar

Mark Lovell, a director with the Carleton Place BIA’s Board of Management, demonstrates how user-friendly the new online community events calendar on the BIA website is. Photos Credit: Dianne Pinder-Moss
Posted on: July 14, 2016

By Dianne Pinder-Moss
dianne@pdgmedia.ca
As a person who likes to connect people, Mark Lovell is passionate about his involvement in a new initiative to connect local residents with what is going on in Carleton Place and beyond.
The director with the Carleton Place BIA Board of Management has spearheaded the creation of a community events calendar on the BIA’s website, www.downtowncarletonplace.com.
With the BIA already being part of the social media scene for a few years through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the events calendar is viewed as the next evolution in the organization’s online presence.
“There seemed to be a need in the community for a go-to source for events,” explains Cathie McOrmond, project manager of the Carleton Place BIA.
The calendar, which was launched in April, utilizes Google Calendar software.
“Rather than one person being the single point of contact, we give Google permission to groups and they manage their own events,” Lovell states.
The calendar has different categories – Sports, The Arts, Live Music, Public Meetings, Community Meals, Events, and Activities and Games.
The events calendar is open to submissions from any service club, church, municipality, sporting and other community groups or businesses that organize events, as well as horse farms who want to promote public horse shows. “Also, if there are boating events, I would certainly welcome them on the calendar,” Lovell mentions.
For those wishing to be a contributor, all they need to do is email info@downtowncarletonplace.com or McOrmond at cmcormond@carletonplace.ca and provide a gmail address that is not a private account. The events calendar can also be embedded onto any website, with Valley Granite and Tile having already taken advantage of that opportunity..
Currently, the calendar lists approximately 15 events a week with that number expected to increase as the number of contributors grows. The Town of Carleton Place, Carleton Place and District Chamber of Commerce, Mississippi Mudds, Lanark County Interval House, St. George’s Anglican Church in Clayton and Slackoni’s are among those already utilizing the service.
The online events calendar was developed with two main objectives.
“The whole idea,” says the BIA project manager, “was to make it accessible for everybody and make it user friendly so that it was an easy step process for all community groups to be engaged and promote their events in the community.”     
Based on the feedback Lovell has been receiving, the calendar has achieved these goals.
“It is easy, it is simple,” he has been told, adding,  “non-profit organizations are really happy with it because it is free.” As an indicator of the appeal of the online events calendar, which can be found at http://downtowncarletonplace.com/community-calendar/, it is the second most visited page on the BIA website.
The community events calendar not only includes events within Carleton Place but also Beckwith Township, Mississippi Mills and other areas within Lanark County. Lovell has already reached out to the BIA in Perth and the DBA in Smiths Falls to see if they might be interested in undertaking a similar initiative.
“It would be cool if Perth and other communities would do the same thing,” he said. “Then we could merge into a county wide calendar.”
As a complement to the community events calendar, Lovell has started a social media video campaign on the BIA’s Facebook page – Downtown Carleton Place BIA. What started out as a random idea on his part has evolved due to the positive response into a weekly audio and video segment promoting events taking place in and around the downtown area.
“The BIA represents the downtown core. When you create tourism in your community, it supports everybody,” McOrmond said. “Our ultimate goal would be to bring people downtown to shop.”
Lovell is pleased with the initial response to the videos. “It sort of creates a buzz about Carleton Place,” he remarked. 

OnlineEventsCalendar

Mark Lovell, a director with the Carleton Place BIA’s Board of Management, demonstrates how user-friendly the new online community events calendar on the BIA website is. Photos Credit: Dianne Pinder-Moss