Strathmore Visitor Information Centre in the works for new Chamber office 0
The Strathmore & District Chamber of Commerce (SDCC) is moving to new digs and taking on renewed challenge in the hope of drawing more visitors to Strathmore.
From its current location of about 150 square feet, the SDCC is moving to comparatively palatial 950 square feet of new digs just off the Trans Canada Highway, in half of the space formerly occupied by Prairie Saddlery in the Country
The mission of the new visitor centre will be to entice travellers to "stop and stay," said SDCC office manager Lin Walker.
"We want people to stop right here, where there are hotels, gas stations and restaurants. Fuel up, feed yourself, maybe stay overnight. The purpose of the new visitor
information centre is to make people stop and stay and bring new business opportunities to Strathmore,"
The SDCC is in the process of applying for accreditation as an Alberta visitor information provider.
The deadline for this application is Sept. 30. Should the application be approved by Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, will also provide highway signage to announce the new visitor information centre. However, getting this accreditation was impossible in their current location because it did not meet any of the criteria, said Walker.
"There was no point in even thinking of applying for signage in our current location. We needed to have sufficient parking, public washrooms, and wheelchair access, none of which we had. We will meet the requirements at the new location," said Walker.
At the current location on 3rd Avenue, there was no room for trailers and campers to park, and hardly enough space in the office to accommodate more than a handful
of visitors and not much space to shelve tourist information such as maps, brochures and Alberta vacation, campground and accommodation guides.
Currently there are brochures and tourist information at the Dairy Queen, but not many of the targeted people (visitors) know about it, said Walker.
The new visitor information centre will recruit volunteers and use such employment programs as Alberta Works for staffing the 40 hours a week mandate. Up from
the current allotment of ten hours a week.
"The Chamber came to Town Council to get a loan and a grant," said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Linda Nelson.
The SDCC was granted $10,000 and loaned $30,000, the latter to be paid back over five years.
"Our council is quite excited about the new visitor information centre. We hope it is a good draw for new business and tourism. It's much needed," said Nelson.