October 18, 2018
David Garland CPA, CA, CMA
Chief of Staff to the Honourable Sylvia Jones
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
900 Bay Street, 9th Floor, Hearst Block
Toronto, ON M7A 2E1
“FOR THE PEOPLE”
I am taking the liberty of writing to you this morning as the President of the Wellness Tourism Association, but also as a Canadian citizen, journalist, and resident of Ontario.
It has come to my attention that one of the jewels of the wellness tourism industry here in Ontario – in fact, in all of Canada – is in jeopardy. And, I am asking for your assistance in helping correct this injustice. I have also cc’d the owner on this email.
As the Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport you may have heard that the global wellness tourism industry is one of the fastest growing travel sectors and, according to the Global Wellness Institute, poised to reach over $800 billion U.S. by 2020. As a Canadian travel writer and industry journalist (including nine years as a columnist with the Toronto Star) I can tell you that Ontario – and indeed Canada as a whole – is well positioned to get a slice of those tourism dollars. But not if local treasures such at Grail Springs Wellness Retreat in Bancroft – honoured as the top wellness retreat in Canada for the last three years – is to be destroyed.
A recent decision to open a quarry on a piece of land that shares their property line will, in effect, destroy this popular wellness destination that brings in between two and three million dollars into the area, and are ready to expand increasing that amount plus adding more jobs.
I am told that there is an immense amount of protest from surrounding residences, cottagers, and businesses, however, the local council and the provincial ministries are getting ready to approve. To the best of my understanding, one of those ministries is your own – the Ministry of Tourism, Sport & Culture. I can understand the need to develop the region and create more jobs for the local residents, however, if this is allowed to happen, the blasting and continuous crushing that will be ongoing within 1,000 meters of this retreat – a place that both Canadians and visitors to Ontario seek out for its peace and quiet environment – will not only destroy this 20 plus year-old business but the lives of the owner, her family and the 40 plus people she employes.
I thank you for the time you have taken to read this and implore you to take a look at this issue and please let me know what can be done to stop this quarry from opening right next door to one of Canada’s wellness tourism treasures.
President Wellness Tourism Association