After much speculation about the fate of Golden’s BC Visitors Centre, the Golden Area Initiatives Board has begun to take steps to divest itself of the facility.
Although the building is owned by the GAI board (even though the organization no longer exists, the board remains intact as it still has assets under its control), the land underneath it is owned by the Province.
“It’s really hard to sell the building when the land doesn’t come with it,” said board member Jon Wilsgard.
Currently the building is being leased by Destination BC to use as a BC Visitors Centre, which covers the costs associated with owning the facility. But once the proper steps have been taken, and the building is sold, the proceeds will be split evenly between the Town of Golden and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
Step one is reaching out to the Province with a request to purchase the land. The GAI coffers have enough in them to cover that cost. Once that goes through the building will be put up for sale.
“We’re looking at about a two-year process for this to happen,” said Wilsgard,
Destination BC has been looking at the way they offer visitor services around the province, and here in Golden. Visitor trends show that online sources for information are more frequently used.
But the organization will likely wait until the building sells before making any major changes.
One of the options that is being looked at, which will require collaboration from the municipality, Tourism Golden, and the Chamber of Commerce, is to use the Crown land on the highway strip (where the old weigh scales were) as a seasonal hub for visitor information.
“We might even look at bringing some of the outdoor infrastructure (such as picnic benches) from the current Visitors Centre down there,” said Wilsgard. “That is going to be a long process, I wouldn’t expect to see anything physically there for about four years.