Cochrane Tourism looks to support community business

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The Cochrane Tourism Association (CTA) held an open house at the RancheHouse on March 1, seeking feedback from the community on how the association can best address the needs of the business community.

“In the past, the Cochrane Tourism Association has been about marketing … our (current) strategy is more about taking on the role of helping the businesses, ” explained CTA executive director Jo-Anne Oucharek, adding that the association’s proposal to foster collaborative partnerships and piggyback advertising has been “very well received. ”

The CTA co-hosted the event with the town’s economic development department.

Their presentation highlighted the CTA’s four objectives: to develop the Cochrane experience as a unique destination and to boost tourism; to provide guidance, resources and partnerships to enhance existing tourism products; to attract and create new tourism products in/to town; and to enhance experience through upgrading, enhancement and maintenance of municipal infrastructure.

Over cocktails and appetizers, some 60 people milled about the event to network and provide feedback to event organizers, including jotting down the reasons they love Cochrane on a whiteboard – including western vibe, proximity to the mountains and small-town feel.

Oucharek said the association is encouraging faces new and old to get in touch with her ahead of the CTA’s annual general meeting on March 20, where they are looking for new board members.

Dominic Hickey, who owns and operates of Deja Brew cafe and Killarney’s Family Pub along with his wife, Zeta, said Cochrane needs more hotels and transit to accommodate more tourism.

“I’d like to see more of the details, ” said Hickey, expressing his disappointment in the historical relationship between the town’s economic development department and the existing businesses.

A critic of the Cochrane Dollar that was launched nearly a year ago – a local currency meant to promote Cochrane’s western heritage and boost tourism – Hickey said he wants to see more viable initiatives to foster business development, support and visibility in town.

Hickey said in the last year, between both of his businesses, he has received less than $10 in Cochrane Dollars.

For Cochrane photographer Samantha Chrysanthou of Oopoomoo.com, an online news hub and networking platform for all things photography including stories, links and workshops, it’s an exciting time to be a part of a growing Cochrane business community.

Chrysanthou said she and business partner, Darwin Wiggett, are “looking to expand and learn new strategies ” as Cochrane continues to grow.

To get in touch with Oucharek, contact cochranetourism@gmail.com.

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Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing. She has a knack for getting the scoop on stories and is a strong interviewer. The U of C and MRU English/Journalism graduate is committed to telling every story through a new lens, from a fresh perspective. Currently, her focus is on news and politics reporting, including town hall. She has a passion for providing a platform for underdogs, grassroots movements and those who have the courage to put themselves out there. She bases the strength of her stories on the depth of her connection with her interviewee, which is best done over too much coffee.