Anna Kaytor, visitor centre supervisor and executive assistant, and Tammy Verigin-Burk, executive director of the Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce gave a presentation at the Castlegar City Council meeting on Monday.
The two reported that 2012 overall was a good year. The numbers were down somewhat from 2011, but that was attributed to the influx of visitors for the B.C. Senior Games.
“There was some transportation problems where highways were closed and so some tour buses were rerouted this way – which was fabulous for us,” said Verigin-Burk, who took over as the Chamber’s executive director at the start of December. “We saw an increase in tourists from that which hopefully we’ll see a spin off of even more tourists coming this way.”
In 2012 the visitor’s centre received 8,851 phone calls as compared to 7,605 in 2011 and 6,539 in 2010. The number of visitors in 2012 was 12,544 compared to 13,768 in 2011 and 11,126 in 2010. The number of mail/fax/emails was 6,071 in 2012 compared to 4,772 in 2011 and 3,196 in 2010.
The majority of visitors to Castlegar in 2012 were from B.C. (1,820), followed by Alberta at 1,511 and Washington state at 554.
The most enquiries in 2012 were about transportation at 4,131 followed by hiking/biking/fishing at 3,584.
The year brought a new and improved web site for the Chamber and more improvements to the Visitor’s Choice magazine.
“Our new website is more user friendly and we think it’ll increase the number of tourists who want to come here,” said Verigin-Burk.
astlegar city councillor Gord Turner, chair of the Community Wellness and Social Services committee announced that Feb. 1 would be the city’s official Community Skate Party at the outdoor rinks at Kinnaird.
The event goes from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. and everyone is invited to join the fun.
“We have two rinks up at Kinnaird Park and both are available for skating and fun,” said Turner. “We’ll have burn barrels there for people to keep warm. You can bring your lawn chairs and blankets and whatever you want. We’ll have hot dogs for people to eat free of charge and lots of hot chocolate.”
There will be fire works at 7:15 p.m. and music provided by Trowelex.
After having to cancel last year’s tobogganing party, Turner says council is looking at a great turnout for a wonderful event.
“We’re always worried about the toboggan party because we get into February and the snow starts melting or we get too warm of temperatures and we hate to cancel it,” he said. “This way we’ve got the rink in place and things are really in good shape. We can have this in the community and have a really good time.”
Council voted to allow more time before voting on whether to allow a development variance permit on a house on 14th Avenue in Castlegar.
“I rescinded my motion from two weeks ago to do with the variance for the setback on 14th Avenue and brought it forward to March 18,” said councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “That’ll give us time to have a public meeting and have the advisory planning committee take a look at it and bring back a report on March 18.”
West dept. vandalism
Council also postponed a decision on the property maintenance bylaw 1120 regarding West Department Store on 3rd Street in downtown Castlegar.
“The McLarens were in Vancouver and couldn’t fly in today to Castlegar,” said Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “So he asked if we could postpone the bylaw because he has a small presentation for us, which he will now bring to us in two weeks. Out of consideration for him, we agreed to that.”
The original voting on the bylaw in December was postponed to allow the McLarens to meet with the owners of the Element Club Bar and Grill to come up with a solution to the broken windows/doors on 3rd.
“That didn’t work out,” said Heaton-Sherstobitoff. “This time his plane couldn’t fly in, so we’ll listen to him in two weeks and council will have to vote.”
After getting nowhere with Encorp in regards to an eWaste disposal site for Castlegar, council is moving up the food chain to the Ministry of Environment.
“We don’t have eWaste here on a regular basis,” said mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “We’ve tried to contact Encorp, who delivers the services, but we haven’t got anywhere. We’ve asked for the president. We’ve received absolutely nothing. We think this is really important. We don’t want eWaste going to the landfill – it just doesn’t make sense. This day and age there’s precious metals and all these good things that can be recycled. So we’re going to send a letter to the Ministry. What can we do to get eWaste recycling in our community.”