Saint-Elie-de-Caxton: harmony and pleasure are gone
Faced with a sharp drop in the number of tourists in 2019, the Municipality of Saint-Élie-de-Caxton can not rely on its tourism engine that is Fred Pellerin to implement in 2020 the activities organized by the municipal administration. The storyteller and his accomplice Jeannot Bournival refuse to continue the adventure with the Municipality, because harmony and pleasure in the context of their work “were not really at the rendezvous”.
Theonday in council meeting, elected officials have announced that the tourist season displays a traffic decrease of 59% between June and August, compared to 2018. The Board data also announced that the two artists do not renew their agreement with the Municipality that invited the duo to continue the work.
Le Nouvelliste contacted the two artists on Tuesday as well as Productions Micheline Sarrazin to find out the reasons for their decision. Ms. Sarrazin states by email that after a 12-year collaboration with the Municipality for audioguides and the Christmas Fairy and “given the current context, the time has come to do things differently”.
“Fred Pellerin and Jeannot Bournival will continue to collaborate on different projects with the people of the village, in another way. It is important for them to work in harmony and pleasure. Unfortunately, during the last year, they were not really at the rendezvous, “writes Ms. Sarrazin.
The latter specifies that the duo now goes to something else and that the projects are already numerous.
At the beginning of August, Robert Gauthier announced that Saint-Élie wanted to renew his agreement with Fred Pellerin. The current five-year agreement expires on October 14, at the end of this current tourist season.
If he refuses to comment on the reasons mentioned by the Productions Micheline Sarrazin, Robert Gauthier is disappointed by this decision of Fred Pellerin and Jeannot Bournival.
“The driving force of tourism is Fred. We lose our engine. That’s why we are disappointed. In early August, City Council informed Productions Micheline Sarrazin of our interest in having a new two-year agreement. We wanted to have a meeting to lay the groundwork for this new agreement. On August 22, they inform us that they are not renewing the agreement. We are faced with the fait accompli. This is not the answer we wanted. Our first choice was to continue with Fred. That’s why we decided in advance. I respect Fred. I respect their reasons. We hope they continue to get involved in the village and that’s good if they do. ”
The comments made by Micheline Sarrazin suggest that relations seem difficult between the storyteller and some stakeholders in the Municipality of Saint-Élie. This is in addition to Fred Pellerin’s public release in December, which was disappointed with his absence from the Christmas Fairy and negative comments about municipal management and labor relations in his village.
Mayor Robert Gauthier said he would like to meet with him early in 2019 so that both parties can get along better in the future. The meeting would never have taken place.
In the same month of December, Fred Pellerin confirmed that he was working on a theater project in Saint-Élie. The storyteller announced in April that he was giving up the idea, saying he could not invest nearly a million dollars with partners in a context of uncertainty.
Asked if he greeted Fred Pellerin when they meet somewhere in Saint-Elie, Mr. Gauthier refused to answer.
“I do not want to comment on my relationship with Fred. It’s a question that challenges another person. ”
Jeannot Bournival and Fred Pellerin
The disappointing weather at the beginning of the season, the growing competition for tourism and a tale that has just been refreshed, are among the reasons to explain the 59% decline in ticket sales for sleigh rides and audioguides. June to August. But the fact that the universe of Fred Pellerin is less present on the waves of Ici Radio-Canada with the end of the series Saint-Élie-de-Légendes and the embargo on the carrioles (from December 12 to July 3) have hurt, says Robert Gauthier, who expects the Municipality to absorb a deficit of about $ 50,000 due to the poor tourist season.
“For group visits, people want to book in advance. It calls from the end of January to book dates in July. We could not at that moment guarantee them that we would have the carriages, we were in negotiations with the government. Groups, it reserves for 48, 50, 55 people. It’s the volume we did not have. That may be 20 or 25 percent of the total decline. And for Saint-Élie-de-Légendes, there were 700,000 spectators at Radio-Canada. If 2% of these spectators come to Saint-Elie, it’s 14,000 people. Our ambassador to Saint-Elie is Fred Pellerin. We are very happy to have it. The growth of tourism in Saint-Élie is due to the growth of Fred’s career. If people do not see us on TV, they do not think about us anymore and go elsewhere. ”
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