I have read with interest the recent letters from folks who are baffled by the recommendation and approved rezoning which makes way for closure of the two existing tourist information centres on either end of the City of Vernon. I am also one of those giving my head a shake at the decision.
How many cities can boast of not one, but two such ideal locations: highly visible, direct access from a main road, with lots of space to easily park rigs of all sizes and for the travel-weary to get out and stretch their legs?
Access to the single, proposed smaller location is awkward at best and won’t be as safe for travellers who are unfamiliar with the city and traffic patterns.
From a personal perspective, if I am travelling through an unfamiliar area, I not only appreciate easy access to visible information centres, but if they are too difficult to find or access, I will keep moving.
Who wants the added stress and frustration of having to watch for and read signage while driving, then try to backtrack if you find yourself in the wrong lane and miss the turn?
Is this a fiscally responsible decision?
There will be costs associated with decommissioning the two existing sites and setting up the new one.
Is there a plan to repurpose the abandoned locations?
I would also be interested in public clarification regarding the true intent of this plan. Is it to encourage visitors to remain in the area longer and spend their tourist dollars here, or to actually try to decrease visitor numbers?
If the goal is truly to invite and encourage travellers to stop and stay in the area, which I hope is the mandate of our visitor services representatives, the current visitor information locations are obviously ideal. Presumably that is the reason an investment was made to develop them.
Invest now in well-informed, friendly staff who are able to knowledgably promote the area, and also quality information kiosks which provide similar self-serve information during the hours that the locations are not staffed.
Even if a necessary reallocation of resources resulted in no staffing, I would challenge any suggestion that the proposed centralized location is as traveller-friendly as the existing ones.
I’m sure there are many citizens of Vernon who are silently shaking their heads regarding this issue, but are not comfortable publicly voicing their disagreement. If the process continues and you disagree with it, remember that your vote in the November election can be your voice.
According to published results, Mr. Spiers was the only member of council who voted against it.