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Civic Centre could host travel information centre 0

By Sean Chase, Daily Observer

Town of Petawawa Municipal Building

Town of Petawawa Municipal Building

The Petawawa Civic Centre is emerging as the leading candidate to host a tourist information centre.

Recently, the Petawawa Library board of directors discussed the feasibility of running an information centre at their location.

While library staff already distribute information and offer travel counselling to guests, Councillor Theresa Sabourin said Monday the library is not a suitable option due to lack of space.

“The staff at the library presently answer a host of questions and they are very well informed about the community,” said Sabourin, who represents council on the library board, adding it would be a lot for the staff to take on these new responsibilities.

She said discussions next week will focus on housing the tourist bureau inside the Civic Centre complex, itself.

Last year, the town pulled out of the Petawawa Research Forest Visitor Information centre partnership. Council decided to allocate its $5,750 share to financing the development of a tourism strategic plan. Consultant Richard Innes suggested hosting a centre was not fundamental in properly servicing tourists as many destinations are getting out of the visitor centre business due to the high overhead costs.

However, council has not ruled out the possibility of an information centre. Councillor James Carmody, who also sits on the library board, said they plan to explore the scope and mandate of a tourist bureau and how it would fit in with the Civic Centre’s current infrastructure. He said it is something that you can’t introduce that dynamic without forethought and planning.

“We are looking at whether we even have to go with bricks and mortar or is it time to go with an electronic version of a visitor’s centre,” said Carmody. “Petawawa has a lot to sell to tourists. Now it’s just a question of how we package it. The possibilities are endless.”

While the strategic tourism strategy identified the Civic Centre as a host location as it is central to many amenities and attractions, the Pembroke and Area Airport was suggested as a possibility. Innes had told council that tourists are now utilizing other tools such as Wifi enabled tablets, smart phones and websites.

Council is aiming for something to be in place by the summer even if it is preliminary in development, added Sabourin.

“Where it is housed is the question,” she said. “That it is required is not in question. Perhaps a kiosk would be more practical.”

Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

sean.chase@sunmedia.ca

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