Sandwich St. N. tourist booth to remain open as TWEPI agrees to staff it

 

VICBy Ron Giofu

 

The tourist information centre on Sandwich St. N. won’t be closed in 2014 after all as Tourism Windsor-Essex County and Pelee Island (TWEPI) has agreed to staff the building.

TWEPI CEO Gordon Orr and vice president Lynnette Bain appeared before town council Monday night after Orr had previously crafted a letter to council outlining TWEPI’s goal of keeping the tourist booth open and covering the costs of staffing the facility with summer students. The one-year pilot project runs from May-late September and would see staff promote regional attractions and sites.

A report from manager of tourism and culture Anne Rota indicated that approximately $8,000 in savings would be realized for student summer support though $7,000 would have to be reinserted into the 2014 budget for utilities and maintenance on the building. Rota told town council it would cost at least $4,000-$5,000 to maintain the building anyway, even if it sat empty for the year.

Councillor Bart DiPasquale wondered if local students would be hired with Orr noting that while Rota has collected a number of residents, no preference will be given by geographic location.

DiPasquale also asked if the visitor information centre that operates out of the first floor of the Gordon House would still be used with Rota confirming that it would be.

“This is a really great opportunity for us,” said Councillor Carolyn Davies. “It’s a fabulous, fabulous fit. I really think it is going to be a win for both of us.”

Councillor John Sutton said the fact TWEPI was interested in staffing the Sandwich St. S. tourist centre was recognition of the “high volume of tourists” that visit Amherstburg on a yearly basis. He said the partnership with TWEPI allows the tourist booth to be open at half the price if the town had chosen to go it alone.

Mayor Wayne Hurst said TWEPI is a fixture at many local festivals and events and predicted the partnership to keep the tourist booth open in 2014 would be a good one.

“This partnership endeavour is going to be a success also,” said Hurst.

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