Malcolm Morris, Smith Falls’ Chief Administrative Officer, commented at a special Committee of the Whole meeting, May 7, that the initial stages of a First Impressions program have been put to work.
He described the program as “a look at the town through the lens of a tourist.” A first reaction driving through town is often an emotional one, he said, and the town beautification program will help make the first impression a good one.
“We now have the report and over 100 photos of offending items” in six pages of observations. Staff is starting to track them.
“Some are easy fixes,” he added, but the intent is to spiff up the town in preparation for tourists. “Staff will also be looking for property standard violations,” which might include peeling paint and crumbling parging on stone walls.
Town teams are already out with their early April laundry-lists looking for things like bent sign posts and even faded signs. Morris says the town has a lot of signs, maybe too many. “We really only need what’s necessary but those have to be clear and reflective.”
He sees the exercise as “about becoming better and making improvements” because “the tourism season is almost upon us,” and “we’re expecting more tourists this year than ever before.
“No one has to do a lot,” he added, “but many have to do a little.”
Councillor Dawn Quinn suggested asking people to get out with their brooms and sweep the sidewalks. “Or volunteers,” she added, putting members of the Downtown Business Association on the list of possible broom-wielders as well.