A long-awaited visitor information centre off the Nanaimo Parkway is a step closer to opening this spring.
The tourism kiosk, a replacement for the visitor centre at Beban House which closed its doors in mid-December, will be built at the Rotary rest area off the Parkway at Northfield Road.
“I’ve been here five and a half years and there has always been a discussion of moving the tourism kiosk at Beban House to a higher profile location with better access,” said Ian Howat, city director of strategic relationships. “And there has always been a desire to have it on the Parkway.”
The project was approved by city council during the 2011 budget process, but time was needed for grant applications. The city received a $155,000 grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
A cost estimate on the project came in at $500,000, but Howat hopes construction bids will come in lower.
“A lot of the structural components are already there,” he said. “The picnic area will be enclosed, the washrooms upgraded and heated and there will be a couple of offices, counter space and display racks.”
Howat said bid packages are ready and the goal is for an opening on the May long weekend.
Some tourism services, now under the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, moved to the visitor information kiosk at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre on Commercial Street. Tourism offices are housed in the temporary NEDC building at 104 Front St.
For more information, please go to www.tourismnanaimo.com, call 250-756-0106 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.