Municipality moving tourist booth into office building downtown
By Liz Dadson
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Kincardine's tourist information centre will be moved to the south side of the building that houses Royal LePage Kincardine Real Estate in downtown Kincardine.
In committee-of-the-whole Wednesday night (Feb. 19), clerk Donna MacDougall said that based on the direction to staff from the Feb. 5 meeting, and given the spaces available downtown, 777B Queen Street was the most favourable site.
At the Feb. 5 meeting, staff had recommended putting the tourist booth inside the Kincardine Arts Centre which will be renovated this year. However, council requested additional options for downtown locations.
Feb. 19, MacDougall said that staff met with Team Kincardine representatives to discuss sharing of rent, working arrangements, etc.
The Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce and the Kincardine Business Improvement Area (BIA) have indicated they would support by contributing $3,000 each to the rent, provided they were included in the tourist booth site. If the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC) were included, those arrangements would change.
MacDougall said that Team Kincardine, which includes all three groups: chamber, BIA and PREDC, has indicated its intent to have its member groups share in all common costs, so the proposal would not cost the municipality any more than the current lease on Highway 21.
In addition, Team Kincardine has offered to provide back-up for tourism services and help in development of a volunteer recruitment program to serve in this capacity. That would assist in extending the hours of the tourist booth.
MacDougall said that agreements with the groups would have to be developed, and proof of insurance received from the chamber and PREDC. Signage would be needed for the downtown location, as well as directional signage on the highway and key points in the urban area.
Plus, the existing sign on Highway 21 would have to be modified.
MacDougall said that staff remains convinced that the tourist information centre should be located at the arts centre, with the added value of highlighting the arts, as well as providing downtown washrooms in a heavy traffic area. In addition, it is a municipally-owned facility and there would be no burden of additional utility costs associated with the tourist booth being there.
The lease agreement for the Highway 21 location terminates Feb. 28, said MacDougall. However, staff has discussed the issue with the owner, and offers for short-term periods have been secured.
Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said 777B Queen Street is ideal for a temporary tourist booth location for two years.
Councillor Jacqueline Faubert agreed it's a good idea to bring the tourist booth off the highway into the downtown, and this location could be used as temporary quarters for some arts groups while the arts centre is being renovated.
Councillor Randy Roppel disagreed, saying the tourist booth should remain on the highway. He suggested moving the BIA and chamber into offices at the Lake Huron Learning Centre with PREDC, given the municipality owns that building as well.
Councillor Maureen Couture also disagreed with moving the tourist booth downtown but said she could see where the majority of council was headed on this issue. However, she said, if 777B Queen Street is chosen, the offices should have air-conditioning.
She also noted there is nothing in the budget for a kiosk on the highway, and perhaps something could be installed at the Kincardine Airport which sees a lot of visitors.
The Kincardine tourist information centre will be moved to this storefront at 777B Queen Street, by the end of April
Mayor Larry Kraemer agreed with using 777B Queen Street for the tourist booth and to co-locate the BIA, chamber and possibly PREDC.
"I'd like to leave the arts centre for the arts," he said. "Our tourist information centre is about promoting the municipality, and that's more than just the arts."
Councillor Kenneth Craig said he would like to see the municipal tourism staff located downtown in the new office by the end of April. As for the other groups, it would be up to them when they could set up offices there.
The committee-of-the-whole agreed with moving the tourist booth to 777B Queen Street, and that was later ratified by council.
For more about the tourist booth, read the article below:
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Sunday, February 23, 2014