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When we talk about MacMillan pier, one’s minds are refreshed on the idea of Province Town as a sizeable harbor dominated with a flurry of fishing activities. Normally, we do not think of the nineteen ninety days when almost all the piers were destroyed with the few remaining ones left in a dilapidated state and eventually, descending into a state of disrepair. The state of lawlessness ensured destructive activities such as over-fishing that were being carried out. The tight federal limits did not help either; they ensured that the fishing industry declined into oblivion. The MacMillan pier, for example, transformed from a village, which used to have a large tourist population, into a community based on tourism, which owns a small fishing fleet. The town management did not charge enough fees to fund the renovations, repairs and maintenance. New forms of management and facilities were necessary for reemergence of the town as a fishing and tourist destination (Eisenhauer & Krannich, Blahna, 2000).
Sense of Place at the Pier
Whaling together with fishing has formed the basic economic and social activities in the region. MacMillan Pier is a hallmark to the earlier periods in the development of the town; it provides a link to one’s industrial customs and resources that laid the foundation of the town. Traditionally, the pier has been and still remains the meeting point of the Province Town. Moreover, it is the main economic and social hub where all business activities are centered. People still drive to the region to have meetings, share ideas and agree on some extremely salient issues. As a routine, people still meet for a cup of coffee with adversaries and business associates. Though the area has experienced changes in its’ demography, social and economic activities, strong bonds still bind the society with its business past or even the means of the livelihood related to it.
The spirit of the society was for the construction of a new viable entity that would continue providing the community with means of survival; however, majority advocated for the development of a new pier which was to be dedicated to recreational boating given the boom in resort tourism that the region was experiencing. Apparently, this would convert the area into a marina from an initial industrial state. Different residents of the town were divided along the choice of a future pier. This created a conflict between those who were for the marina and those who advocated for an industrial asset (Daniel & Meitner, 2001).
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Resolution of Conflict using Sense of place
The project was to be done as stipulated by the state and federal laws. It also had to follow the customs of the local society, the coastal management unit, the fisheries department and the transportation department. The locals and the agencies could differ over details and the numbers or experiences from the Macmillan pier past, but they had to have a common ground on what was the collective memory of the place. This is because Province town since the time in memorial had been considered a recreational centre, industrial area and a sporting area. Therefore, by considering how people held Province town in their minds and hearts, community values were defined. These definitions were used to come with a project which could promote sustainability and conservation of the ecosystems. As a result, a common decision to construct an eighteen billion dollar project was made, which underlined the community’s intention. This was done via the act of delicate balancing of the past needs, the present and those of the future (Gibbons & Ruddell, 1995).
The current project replaced a defunct pier, which could not even collect adequate revenues to fund its operations where fishing was done without the thought of tomorrow. The new project was buoyed by the introduction of two ferries and bus services which made accessibility to Boston easier. Furthermore, transport became faster and available at relatively cheaper costs. The pier could hold a fleet of more fishing boats; in fact, the capacity was increased by a hundred percent. Rooms and spaces for accommodating tourists were also increased. Especially, some places for accommodation were fitted with whale viewing and sailing facilities where tourists could marvel at what nature had in store for them. Deep water docks for the large ships and fleets were also made. The result was a masterpiece, which served to protect the region’s cultural values, improve on the income of many people and uplift the livelihoods of the indigenous communities living in the area. This was achieved via attracting more tourists who had the urge to spend more on quality services rendered in the region. Therefore, sense of place can come in handy in planning, managing and conserving the tourist attractions of a given place (Bricker & Kerstetter, 2002).
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Space, according to geographical definition, is the region which envelopes the earth and where all organisms both plants and animals carry out their activities. It differs from the inner and outer space which define the mind of a human. Place, on the other hand, can be on the earth’s surface or its atmosphere and horizons. It comes into being when a human being gives meaning to a particular point in space. Some places, however, like the Black River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, have been given greater meaning. The society identifies with them and to some extent, even become emotionally attached to them. In such instances, people are said to have developed a “sense of place” for that place. A concept that as mentioned above is immensely useful in the tourism management and planning. A space becomes a place for someone when he or she starts developing strong identity and feelings towards that place. These feelings are developed based on the perceptions and experiences of that place and are usually derived from the surrounding environment and ecosystems (Bourassa, 1991).
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An example of a space, which was relatively unknown until people became attached to it such that it eventually transformed into a place is Foxford found in County Mayo on the shores of River Moy. This region was relatively unknown in terms of tourism compared to the Westport region of Ireland. Foxford was relatively remote, but locals were associated with a strong cultural identity. As a result of this identity that region built an extraordinary national heritage, which, eventually, yielded a variety of tourist attraction centers. The indigenous people, who lived in the region, met socialized and shared ideas to commercialize the identity of the place. In this area, tourists are considered as guests, because they are not viewed as people who bring in revenue to the region but as anglers who should be received with warmth and accommodated accordingly. Of particularly interest is the fact that English language catalogs described a journey to the region as a visit into a celebrated past, to the eventual leading edge of splendor and hospitality. Tourists from all walks of life come to the region mainly not only to view the undulating hills and temperate valleys, but to experience the warm generosity offered by the local people living in the locale. These people have identified with the region to the extent of developing a sense of hospitality and care towards the ecosystems and people visiting the region. This sense of hospitality is the one responsible for the recent growth of the region. People from diverse parts of the world have come to experience this generosity. As a result, the region has transformed from a remote space that was initially thought to be, into a place where tourism is booming and rampant growth is being experienced (Bonaiuto & Carrus & Martorella & Bonnes, 2002).
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