Both the manager and the chair of the board of Gold Country Communities Society were at Cache Creek’s Dec. 14 Council meeting to propose a takeover of the Village’s Info Centre next year. Council members are considering it.
Since it opened in 2005, the Village has contracted with the local Chamber of Commerce to staff it and keep it open during the summer. The Centre assists on average 7,000 tourists annually between mid-May and mid-September.
GCCS manager Terri Hadwin told Council that she was approached by the late Ben Roy, who was president of the town’s Chamber, to tell her that the Centre’s manager was retiring that that he felt a partnership between GCCS and the Village to manage the Centre would be a good fit.
“Gold Country Communities Society finds the Visitor Information Centre to be a very important piece of the hospitality that needs to be offered to our travelling visitors,” said Hadwin.
Council was a little taken aback by some of the society’s requests, such as more money than the Chamber was paid as well as any revenue from the Sani-Dump in the parking lot.
The Society would also like to eventually move its office into the Centre and would like to remove the Graffiti-Days themed benches along the north wall.
“I’m challenged by the elimination of the booths by the window,” said Mayor John Ranta. “I often see people sitting there going over maps or checking their email.
He said the area helps reinforce the town’s Graffiti theme and he is reluctant to see that go.
“When I was in there this summer one booth was packed with boxes,” said Hadwin.
She said they would look at relocating one of the booths, and at some point would apply for money to expand the space to accomodate the Gold Country office.
“We seem to be in a little bit of transition with Chamber and Info Centre,” said Ranta. “It will take some to-ing and fro-ing to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.”
He said the partnership “makes sense from a village point of view. It would make more sense if we could save some money.”
Hadwin said that although the Village was paying the Chamber $15,500 to operate the Centre, $20,000 is a more reasonable figure.
GCCS chair Steven Rice pointed out that the Village would receive value-added benefits of staff who would be able to let tourists know about events happening in the region as well as Cache Creek.
Coun. Wyatt McMurray said if staff was going to promote other communities, then perhaps those other communities could be contributing financially to the operation of the Centre.
“I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand,” said Ranta after the delegation had left. “It’s a valuable service that we provide. It enhances tourism around the region and keeps travellers in Cache Creek.
McMurray agreed that if there was a way to save money for the Centre’s operation, they could keep it going.
Council agreed to establish a committee to work with administration to look at the GCCS proposal.