Throughout my tenure as Mayor, I was a strong proponent of economic development. During my first term, the Town Council hired a website developer with significant experience in community marketing. He identified a lack of motel rooms as a barrier to the community's future growth.
Motels, campgrounds, and other forms of lodging contribute to the expansion of a community's "Visitor Economy." When someone comes to your community to shop, eat in a restaurant, fill up their vehicle with gas, or go to a movie, they are contributing to the visitor economy of your community. On average, a visitor staying in a motel, campground, or Airbnb spends $65.00 per day at other community businesses.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on travel, Campbell's Accommodations has seen a significant increase in bookings this year. Travel appears to be increasing, as does construction work in the Gull Lake area's agriculture and oil industries.
The construction of the Richardson's Grain Elevator, which will be located east of Gull Lake, is one project that has the potential to significantly benefit the local economy. The project will take several months to complete, and a large number of out-of-town workers will be required to work on the project.
Sadly, Gull Lake is at a severe disadvantage to seize the opportunity. The Safe and Sound Motel's closure has reduced Gull Lake's room capacity. As a result, many workers will be unable to stay in town during construction. Additional accommodations would enhance the town's ability to capitalize on opportunities such as the construction of the Grain Terminal. Additionally, it would also enable the community to host more sporting events, weddings, and other events.
A future opportunity for the Economic Development Committee could be to work on attracting a second motel. It would open up new opportunities for residents and businesses.
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