City seeks “alternative models” for a new Visitor Information Centre

By David F. Rooney

Building it has been discussed for years and a Request for Proposals was even issued earlier this spring, but a new Visitor Information Centre seems just as far away as ever with a decision by Council to consider “alternative models” for the facility, including one that would see the City become its sole owner.

How this will shake out remains to be seen.

The original plan, according to a Request for Proposals issued on May 30, called for a 2,000-square-foot, two-storey office building to be constructed at 100-102 Mackenzie Avenue. The building would be owned by the City, the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Futures Development Corporation. The Visitor Information Centre would occupy about 1,200 square feet of the building.

According to Councillor Peter Frew, who is Council’s representative on the Tourism Infrastructure Advisory Committee, nine architectural firms have expressed interest in the project. Only one is a local firm.

The Chamber of Commerce currently maintains a Visitor Info Centre on the ground floor of the Canadian Avalanche Centre during the summer. In winter, visitor information is available in the Chamber’s office on Campbell Avenue.

What happens now remains to be seen. Council is discussing the proposed VIC in camera and Mayor David Raven indicated that more information will be released once a decision has been made.

In the meantime, Council has approved the allocation of $40,000 in tourism infrastructure funding to pay for architectural drawings and designs. That allocation was one of 10 worth a total of $675,503 approved during Council’s Tuesday afternoon meeting. The other nine are:

  • $20,000 towards reclamation and landscaping of the new Boulder Mountain Cabin opened by the Snowmobile Club this winter;
  • $96,181 to pay for the new Mountain Revelstoke Gateway feature on City-owned land at the base of the old road up the mountain just behind the Railway Museum;
  • $289,141 for signage and bike lanes through town connecting Revelstoke Mountain Resort to the trails at Mount Macpherson, the family trails at Mount Macpherson and the Illecillewaet Pedestrian Bridge in the Greenbelt;
  • $15,000 to construct two short trail linkages off the Mickey Olson Ski Trail to create new one- and two-kilometre loops allowing the Nordic Ski Club to host regional and provincial races at Mount Macpherson. The club has already raised $100,000 to pay for this project;
  • $40,000 for a Snowmobile Welcome Centre at the Boulder Mountain snowmobile area off Westside Road;
  • $30,181 in landscaping for the area along the Trans-Canada Highway in front of the Canyon and Sandman Hotels; and
  • $105,000 to upgrade the irrigation system at the Golf Club.