Vernon’s new visitor information centre opens its doors

Ministry of Transportation approval allows city to proceed with plans

The controversy is over as Vernon opens its new visitors information centre.

The facility is expected to open Tuesday next to Civic Arena.

“We’re off to the race. We’re excited to make the move,” said Kevin Poole, the city’s economic development manager.

The centralization of visitor services from two locations at the north and south end of Vernon to one site caused extensive debate in the community. Some residents were concerned tourists in RVs would be unable to turn off the highway easily while others questioned the $292,215 cost for renovations.

The city had originally hoped the centre would open May 1 but a delay occurred because the Ministry of Transportation had not approved property rezoning. Ministry support was needed because the property is 800 metres off of Highway 97.

With the ministry signing off on the project, city council adopted the rezoning bylaw Monday.

“It’s a great location because it’s downtown,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

“It will bring people downtown.”

Quiring is confident that the public complaints over the site will cease now that the centre is open.

“When people see folks using it, they will realize it’s a good location,” he said.

The lone opponent to the bylaw was Coun. Bob Spiers.

“It’s a ridiculous location. There will be a decrease in the number of people who will use the booth,” said Spiers.