The Aug. 19-20 weekend is shaping up to be the busiest one of the year for Pemberton. In addition to the Feast of Fields at North Arm Farm, the Second Annual Slow Food Cycle and a fundraising skate jam at the skate park, the new Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Pemberton Visitor Information Centre is holding its grand opening.
On Saturday, Aug. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. members of Pembertons business, service and arts communities will be joining forces to celebrate the opening of the new, improved space at the corner of Portage Road and Highway 99. While the location remains the same, the new wheel-chair accessible building offers much more space and amenities, such as public washrooms. These improvements should positively influence funding.
"As an official Tourism B.C. Information Centre were scored every year and receive a point evaluation. With the improvements, we should see a higher score. A higher score translates into more funding," said David MacKenzie, chair of Tourism Pemberton.
The building, a singlewide trailer, sports a western façade complementing the architecture of nearby Pioneer Junction. "Its a vast improvement, but its not a permanent solution. We envision having a much larger Welcome Centre. This is part of our evolution," he said.
MacKenzie, who is also on the chambers board of directors, points out that the project was completed by a volunteer organization with very little funding.
Lizz Kelly, who is managing the PR for the grand opens, echoes MacKenzies sentiments. "Its fantastic. And its been done by volunteers. Thats amazing."
MacKenzie sees the improvements as having more than just an aesthetic impact on how the centre will be perceived.
"In the past, attracting staff has been a challenge. Now we have air conditioning for those hot Pemberton summer days and heat for those cool spring and fall ones."
The previous centre, a small simple wooden structure, has been donated to the Pemberton Wildlife Association. Those familiar with the previous info centre are sure to be surprised by the changes. In addition, theyll have the opportunity to have a look around and maybe find out a little more about whats going on in their hometown.
"First of all its for the Pemberton community to come out and see whats happening. Cops for Kids will be serving up food to help promote their causes. Were looking at having them serve locally grown food. Chamber members will be well represented," assured Kelly. "Its also a local forum for service groups and community minded folks as well as chamber members. For example, the local arts community has also been invited to come and sell their wares. Participation is free and tables are available on a first come, first serve basis."
Keeping with the community spirit of the day, the organizers have planned activities for kids.