I applaud the efforts of AdvantageHOPE to relocate Hope’s Visitor Centre at the historic Station House. I also strongly support the investment of public funds needed to make this happen.
The Hope Visitor Centre is a crucial component in our town’s economy. It reaches 40,000 people each year, and those visitors receive their first impression of our community there.
An improved Visitor Centre will not only serve our tourism economy by promoting local businesses and attractions, it will also encourage visitors to consider living here. When someone decides to move their family or business to Hope, it has a huge long-term economic and social benefit to our town.
The present building is small, in poor condition, and is poorly located to capture the largest possible audience. Even if the present Visitor Centre were to remain, a significant investment of time and money would be needed to improve it. It is smarter to make that investment at the Station House.
The Station House is larger, much more aesthetically appealing, and better located to capture a larger audience. It is also an important historic building, once serving as Hope’s passenger station for the Canadian National Railway, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year. It is a smart use of resources to both improve our Visitor Centre while at the same time preserve an architectural gem celebrating Hope’s incredible railway history.
Consultants will soon be assessing the structural integrity of the Station House, and assuming that their reports indicate the building and site are viable, I strongly encourage mayor and council to support the project.
As a taxpayer, I’m proud to see public money used for strategic investments in our town.