Visitor Centre in need of cash

Chamber of commerce seeking support from area municipalities

For the Pat Bay Highway Visitor Centre to re-open for the next tourist season, it’s going to need some financial help.

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is approaching its municipal partners and other agencies, seeking an estimated $80,000 to operate the centre next year. Chris Fudge, chamber executive director, spoke to North Saanich council Monday night, outlining the need to come up with enough money to operate the facility and keep it in good condition.

“We have identified the total amount of money we need,” Fudge said, “but we are making no specific request to the various municipalities and agencies.”

The chamber has sent letters seeking support to North Saanich, Sidney, Central Saanich and the District of Saanich. They are also looking to the province, Capital Regional District Tourism Victoria and Destination B.C. The latter group already has committed their normal annual contribution to the Pat Bay Visitor Centre, leaving approximately $55,000 left to go.

The centre is 25 years old and in need of constant repair, Fudge pointed out, adding that plans to replace it with a new facility are mired down.

The chamber and architectural firm Finlayson-Bonet announced last year they had plans to replace the old centre with a new one that would attract more attention from travellers on the highway. This multi-million dollar project is now, however, on hold as efforts to secure funding from the province have been unsuccessful.

Fudge stated in his letter to council that due to ongoing maintenance costs, insurance and pest control, the chamber is “no longer able to bear these operational costs without financial support.”

The centre, without funding, may have to close prior to the 2014 tourist season.

“This is an important visitor touch point,” he said Monday night. “The centre can influence visitors’ length of stay and volunteers there provide first-hand knowledge of the area.”

Sidney already supports the chamber and its Beacon Avenue Visitor Centre to the tune of a $60,000 fee for service.

North Saanich council will consider the request for financial support at its budget deliberations beginning in December.


Just Posted

READERS’ CHOICE: Saluting the stars of the Saanich Peninsula

Welcome to the Peninsula News Review’s 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, our… Continue reading

BCAM slated to get one of last remaining Lancaster bombers

Approval seems certain despite emotional Torontonian appeals

Saanich Peninsula athletes earn their place at B.C. Games

The Saanich Peninsula will be well-represented next week as the 40th annual… Continue reading

A sled dog with an amazing past shows a young pug the ropes

A local school bus driver and passionate dog lover has written his… Continue reading

Launch party for Vancouver Island’s new soccer team a success

Over 3,000 seats will be added to Westhills Stadium in the next 6 months

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

Big-time racing on tap in Langford this month

Western Speedway the place to be for a roaring good time in summer

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

ZONE 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Most Read