Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Time for a Mountain Road Shuttle

During my recent stay in Stowe Vermont, one of the things I couldn’t help but notice was a shuttle bus between the village and Stowe Mountain Resort. This bus picked up passengers at various points around the town including hotels and transported them to the mountain and back and it's free!  From what I could find out the service is independtly run by the Green Mountain Transit Agency a community and public services entity in central Vermont.  Stowe Mountain Resort has been named one of the Top 10 'No Car Needed' Resorts in the world by http://www.onthesnow.com/.  Besides eliminating parking hassles at the resort or to help those that don’t drive or have access to a vehicle, having a shuttle allowed those that may want to ski longer that the other members of their party the opportunity to do so with transportation back to town available for them at the end of the day.

  For several years, talk has persisted about the need for such a service between Collingwood and Blue Mountain yet nothing has ever materialized.  Whether it be to transfer our youth and others to the hill and back for skiing/snowboarding or for work purposes, I can’t help but think this would be a well used service.  What about bringing those staying out at the mountain back into town for shopping or dining?  I suspect such a service may not be self sustaining financially but the indirect financial benefits to the local economy could be substantial.
  Stowe Vermont is nowhere near the size of Collingwood nor does it have a neighbouring population the size of the GTA an hour or two away.  There’s no Wal Mart, Home Depot or McDonalds. Just a variety of small independently run, non-franchise businesses that appear to be propsering such as ski shops, art galleries, clothing stores, home furnishing/accessory stores, even a ski museum. One of the local attractions is a tour of a nearby Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory, more on that later.
    Addressing how to better potentially utilize some of the areas assets ie: Collingwoods downtown and waterfront as economic drivers is a longer term issue(s) to address.  Implementing a shuttle service to and from Blue Mountain isn’t and it’s time the municipal governments of Collingwood and the Blue Mountains along with Blue Mountain Resort, the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce and Downtown BIA looked at this seriously and figured a way out to make it happen.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.