Vernon may permanently close visitor information centre | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon may permanently close visitor information centre

The Vernon Visitor Information Centre.
Image Credit: Google Street View
April 25, 2021 - 10:00 AM

Next week, Vernon city council will decide whether to permanently close its tourism visitor centre and shift its services online.

The Vernon Visitor Information Centre has been closed at its location on 39 Avenue since the city decided not to give out a new contract to run the centre, which was due to start May 1.

The information centre's closure is one of several cut-backs the city is implementing within its tourism sector, along with the delayed hiring of a new tourism manager and the cancellation of advertising and other tourism projects.

“The business of providing visitors to communities with local travel and amenity information has changed significantly over the past five years, moving from bricks and mortar locations to cellular phones, tablets and computers. The Tourism Commission recognizes this shift,” according to city council documents.

The Tourism Commission has recommended its closure as there has been a steady decline of usage of the centre and increasing cost to service visitors.

READ MORE: Lack of tourism dollars means Vernon visitor centre will remain closed

Vernon Fire Rescue Services staff is currently using the office space to operate the emergency services program and Fire Rescue Services has previously advised council of their interest in establishing a permanent level three emergency operations centre within the building, Kim Flick, Vernon director of community infrastructure and development, reported in council documents.

There is also a need for public washrooms for the new City Centre Park at this location, she said.

If council decides to close the visitor centre, there is also little need to keep the sani-station at the current location, Flick said.

Staff is proposing to bring back a report in July 2021 , outlining the repurposing of the visitor centre building as well as provide a timeline and budget for the centre.

City staff recommends to shut down the visitor centre and close of sani-station as well as to direct staff to investigate and report back with options for a future permanent location of the sani-station.

Council will make a decision at its next regular meeting, April 26.

 


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