The tourist chalet is currently very difficult for many visitors to locate. Once tourists arrive on site, many don’t realize that this is in fact a tourism information centre, mistaking the chalet for a utility building. For the summer 2014, the Community Enhancement Committee has recommended adding signage identifying the location of the chalet throughout the community. A motion was made at the April meeting of Council to add a second door to the front of the building, to highlight the fact that it serves as an tourist information centre. Town Councillor Ralph Carey has very generously offered to install the door himself.
If adding signage and moving the door of the existing tourist chalet to the front of the building is unsuccessful in 2014, the members of the Community Enhancement Committee have voiced that Council should likely consider building another tourist chalet somewhere near the main beach, and using the existing chalet as a seabird interpretation site or as a Puffin Launching Station in 2015.
Moving the tourist chalet somewhere near the main beach would:
• Make it much less difficult to find for visitors;
• Attract more people in a more prominent, high-traffic location. Location, location, location!
• Increase business at nearby shops;
• Allow for the current chalet to be put to another use (as the Puffin Patrol headquarters and/or as a Seabird Interpretation Centre)
Council may already own land at the intended site. Alternatively, a moveable building could be placed near a business (which would significantly increase this business’ customer base), and Council could draw up an agreement with the business owner for the employee’s use of the facilities. This solution would also resolve the potential issue with the availability of parking.
It was suggested that this second building should itself be a reason for visitors to stop. The list of suggestions to ensure that this will happen include making this building look like a fishing stage or a miniature historic house. The services of a professional architect would be invaluable. Should Council choose to construct a new tourist chalet, we could draw from local talent for its construction, and make it a real community effort.
Moving the tourism chalet is not without its disadvantages, however. Appropriate land may not be available, and the Lower Pond site could lose some of its appeal for visitors. Residents and Committee members have also raised concerns about an increased chance of flooding and possible wash-out (depending on location), as well as a potential increase in vandalism (also depending on location). The cost is another significant factor, since while the existing building could potentially be moved, it is more cost-effective to build another (there may, however, be programs to help defray some of these costs).
Community Enhancement Committee Projects: