Chemainus Visitors Centre in new location

Will celebrate its grand opening Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Chemainus Visitor Centre will celebrate its grand opening Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m., states a bulletin from the Chemainus Chamber of Commerce.

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure will cut the ribbon and George Gates will provide refreshments. So you are invited to come see some of your guests’ first stop in Chemainus.

The centre isn’t moving far. It has relocated from its space in the old fire hall to the new building in Water Wheel Square.

This is an opportunity to celebrate, but it may also be a reminder to Lefebure and North Cowichan about an issue they have raised with the Union of BC Municipalities.

Chemainus has a new visitor centre, but could be hard pressed to find funding to keep its doors open and its racks stacked.

Destination BC eliminated funding for visitors centres in 2014, despite the ‘important role’ the centres play keeping tourists informed and making them feel welcomed, stated a North Cowichan motion at the UBCM’s last annual general meeting.

“Communities across the Province have built and operate visitor centres, relying on annual performance based funding from Destination BC,” to run them, the motion said, going on to ask the UBCM to petition the Province to direct Destination BC to restore its “performance-based” funding model for Visitors Centers.

Tourism generates annual revenues of $13.9 billion in B.C. and employment for over 132,000 people as of 2013, the North Cowichan motion stated. “Visitor centres play an important role, keeping tourists informed and making them feel welcomed.”