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Future still uncertain for tourist centre

The Diamond Valley Chamber of Commerce is hoping a new group will support the tourist information centre in Turner Valley as it’s unlikely the non-profit organization can continue taking on the task by itself.
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Discussions continue about the future of the visitor information centre, currently located in Turner Valley.
Discussions continue about the future of the visitor information centre, currently located in Turner Valley.

The Diamond Valley Chamber of Commerce is hoping a new group will support the tourist information centre in Turner Valley as it’s unlikely the non-profit organization can continue taking on the task by itself.

Only three of the Diamond Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 15 members voted to continue operating the facility last week. The remainder felt another organization should take on the responsibility.

Bev Geier, president of the Diamond Valley Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber executive will meet this week.

“We will go over some ideas and find a clear path where we can go from here,” said Geier, adding an official decision has not yet been made. “I know there are some passionate people that want to see the chamber continue with the visitor information centre, but it’s not a good business model. We have to look into all our options.”

The Chamber of Commerce had planned to relocate the 1800s style wooden shack from beside the Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool in Turner Valley to land along a busier stretch of the highway in Black Diamond this past summer to increase the centre’s visibility, yet the move was cancelled due to concerns of expenses, sustainability and logistics, said Geier.

Concerns have been raised about the ability of the five-member chamber executive to operate the facility while running their own businesses.

Geier said she hopes an organization will express interest in operating the centre in enough time to open it for the 2015 tourism season.

According to Geier, some chamber members at the chamber’s Oct. 15 meeting expressed interest in forming a committee to help operate the center if another organization takes it on.

Rod Ross, Black Diamond’s planning and development officer, said closure of the centre would be a huge loss to both Black Diamond and Turner Valley and that ideally he would like to see the centre located in Black Diamond.

“We have a lot of tourists in the downtown and we think that the visitor information centre (in Black Diamond) would probably get a lot more traffic going through it,” he said.

“I think it can play a really important role in raising awareness about the various businesses and recreational opportunities that are out here.”

Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck, who attended last week’s chamber meeting, said the chamber executive has a tough decision ahead of them and understands the struggles they have been experiencing.

“They’ve had a really tough year (since the 2013 flood),” she said. “The chamber has struggled over the last few years and I don’t think they are any different than any other chamber.”

If the building is moved from its location in Turner Valley to Black Diamond, Tuck stated in an earlier interview that a satellite centre will be established in the Sheep River Library. She added that a permanent visitor information centre is included in the town’s downtown revitalization plan.




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Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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