City of Duncan rethinks funding cut to visitors centre

The Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is delighted that Duncan City council changed its mind and will now hand over the full $30,000

The Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is delighted that Duncan City council changed its mind and will now hand over the full $30,000 that the group requested to help run its tourist information centre.

Supporters packed the council chambers Monday night, Nov. 21, to buttress a presentation made by chamber president Julie Scurr to stop council cutting its contribution down to $24,000.

Scurr said Tuesday that “at the end of the night we got what we asked for, so I could say it went very well. We were able to have the city reconsider their decision and they voted to give us the same amount of funding that they had given us last year. It was a win.”

The chamber needed the cash.

“The issue was that this was the second funding cut that happened. It would have been almost 50 per cent over the last four years if this reduction had gone through so that’s what we were taking a stand on. We deliver so much value for the investment that the city is making. This is not the time for them to be backing off their relationship with us and the numbers that we have that show where tourism is going to be going in the province.

“We want to make sure we’re getting people into the city of Duncan and showing them all the things the City of Duncan has to offer. This was not the time to start pulling back,” Scurr said.

The information centre funnels a lot of visitors into the downtown core.

“We’ve serviced 27,000 people this year so far which is about 133 per cent more than what we did in our old location. We track those numbers, and we sent 10,000 people into the City of Duncan for the Farmers Market, for retail, for restaurants, for the totem tours. These are people that we’re sending directly into the city,” she said.

Info centre staff have been putting their backs into that task.

“That was the message we were trying to get across. Duncan is reaping the benefits from our efforts. That was something I really wanted to say to them, that we’re working hard, but we’re doing it for you and for your businesses,” Scurr said.

“This is a fee-for-service transaction and you’re getting a lot of value from a small investment in us. I was just glad that council was able to hear what we had to say. We had a lot of support there, which was great. A lot of our board members were there, a lot of people that have been involved over the years with the visitors centre, with the chamber and have benefited from the visitors centre were there. It was good.”