Happy 1st Anniversary MyPelham.com!

Over the past year the MyPelham.com community website has developed to become a comprehensive on-line source of information about all aspects of life, work and entertainment in the Town of Pelham.

“We are basically a hyper-local, web-based yellow pages” explains co-founder, Cathy Berkhout-Bosse, “If you are looking for anything in Pelham you can use MyPelham.com as your localized search engine. Our social enterprise delivers internet exposure to all sectors of our local community – business, non-profit groups, service clubs, sports organizations, farms, churches, schools, artists- you name it – it should be there.”

Berkhout-Bosse and MyPelham.com business partner, Melissa Wells began building the community site last November in order to create a fully inclusive on-line environment where all community groups could share content and attract a common user base. In turn, all participants benefit by having the opportunity to cost-effectively promote their events, services and sales offers to a local internet audience.

“We are thrilled by the response that we have received from our local community”, the founding duo explain, “We now have 46 community business sponsors, more than 40 non-profit groups and several local bloggers actively submitting content. 1500 subscribers receive our e-newsletter every week and our site is now ranking #2 on Google for the search term “Pelham” – right next to #1 – the Town of Pelham’s www.pelham.ca

The operating team also provides promotional support to Pelham area businesses and organizations via social media. The MyPelham Facebook page serves as a free resource for local community members to share links and the pair also actively utilizes their MyPelham Twitter profile to promote local events and the sales offered by business sponsors.

One of the team’s primary long term goals for MyPelham.com is to create a sustainable, marketing resource that actively collaborates with other Niagara regional initiatives. MyPelham.com is now linked with Tourism Niagara, Niagara Economic Development Corporation and MLS-Niagara. As the marketing strategist for MyPelham.com, Berkhout-Bosse also proactively interacts with other regional organizations such as Niagara Parks, Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Tourism Partnership of Niagara and Brock University to further enhance opportunities for future partnerships.

“From Day One we stated that we were not simply creating a website”, Berkhout-Bosse clarifies, “We have established a social enterprise that provides long term economic development and tourism benefit to our Town. Our intention is to generate sufficient advertising revenue to function as a self-sustaining entity that limits the potential tax burden of Town promotion.”

Lucky Witness of Chorus Niagara “Flash Mob” Performance at Seaway Mall!

Chorus Niagara, Niagara’s premier 100 voice choir treated shoppers to a delightful surprise at the Seaway Mall food court this past Saturday at Noon. Most of us who were at the mall as part of our normal Saturday activities were unaware that ninety of the folks eating their lunch amongst us were actually choir members. At noon one by one they all stood up and their voices joined together to entertain us with a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.

It was simply awe inspiring generating many a teary face in the audience (and among the choir members). BRAVO to all involved!

 Be sure to view the video below and you will no doubt experience the same pre-Christmas cheer.

Niagara is a Changin’

Is it just me or are we starting to see more development initiatives taking place with a Niagara-wide prospective? The formation of a new organization called Niagara Heritage Alliance (NHA) is one of the most recent examples.

It is a regional alliance of volunteer individuals and organizations from communities across all twelve Niagara municipalities who are dedicated to heritage preservation. The group recently held a conference themed “Our Heritage in Crisis:  Do you Care?” at Navy Hall in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

According to attendee, Pamela Minns’ blog article posted on www.niagaraatlarge.com  “Navy Hall was filled to overflowing with people from clear across the Region of Niagara” and the audience included “some of our regional planners and councilors, several mayors and MPPs, the chair of the Niagara Parks Commission, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, school boards, as well as a notable Canadian author.”

The Niagara Heritage Alliance describes heritage as “encompassing the legacy of natural heritage – landscapes, vistas, agricultural lands, etc., and built heritage – buildings, structures, sites, etc., individually or in groups, which are considered to be of cultural, environmental, historical and/or architectural significance.”

As a citizen with a profound level of respect for cultural heritage I applaud the broad scope of this definition.  As a local real estate professional I recognize the challenges of incorporating such ideals into future development planning.

Establishing a regionally focused approach is an excellent start. Slowly but surely we are reducing the number of redundant (although well intentioned) silos of effort throughout our Niagara Region.

Just this past Spring our Niagara tourism stakeholders joined together to form the new Tourism Partnership of Niagara.  This month one of the conclusions of St. Catharines/Thorold Chamber of Commerce “Supporting Prosperity Through Effective Government” report was that “Niagara can no longer afford a multi-tier approach to economic development.”

 To quote the iconic Mr. Dylan…..the times they are a-changin’. 

For more information about Niagara Heritage Alliance: www.niagaraheritagealliance.org