With the opening this week of the visitor information centre (VIC) in St. Jacobs, the township has kicked off another tourism season.
Dorothy Roberts is the new tourism counsellor who’ll staff the facility four days a week until mid-October. Her first day was May 12.
“Dorothy has a great knowledge of the township and is looking forward to helping our visitors find their way and discover new things. She has also worked at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, so has a lot of experience working with the tourist crowds in one of our most popular areas, Woolwich’s economic development and tourism officer, Laurel Davies Snyder, said in a statement.
While the township had considered expanding the hours of operation at the St. Jacobs VIC, budget constraints and the economic downturn put an end to that idea for this year, explained chief administrative officer David Brenneman.
The centre will be staffed Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., essentially coordinating with market days. Under a deal with Mercedes Corp., since 2005 the township leases the so-called “yellow house,” a refurbished farm home at 844 Weber St. N. adjacent to the farmers’ market.
New this year will be Internet access for visitors. When the building is staffed, the counsellor will be available to help tourists plan and map out their visit to the township and the wider area.
“This is a continuation of the process that started in 2005,” said Brenneman, adding services at the VIC will be more integrated with regional tourism efforts. The township is a partner in the Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation (WRTMC).
The township will also soon begin looking for community groups that might be interested in leasing the building that once housed the Elmira VIC. That facility was closed down when statistics showed it made sense to concentrate on the St. Jacobs location, taking the Elmira services in-house at the municipal building on Church Street.
Making the First Street building available could help out a community group or two while providing the township with some additional revenue, said Brenneman.