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Trans-Canada VRC to open this year

Posted on January 28, 2021 by Maple Creek

The Visitor Reception Centre off the highway will be open this year.
In supporting the move, Maple Creek Town councillors said the centre was vital for business and tourism in the area.
Councillor Cara Teichroeb expressed concern about COVID-19 since the VRC was a stopping-off point for travellers. She said provincial guidelines, which were subject to changes, should be respected.
“I ask that we are very diligent to keep our staff safe,” she said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Last year, the Trans-Canada VRC was closed for the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally, it is open between the long May weekend and September.
The motion to open the centre for the season was put forward by Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor of Maple Creek.
Councillor Len Barkman highlighted the importance of the centre to tourism, something echoed by Councillor Betty Abbott.
“Tourism is extremely important and I think businesses understand that,” she said, pointing out that the VRC benefited the whole community, not just Maple Creek.
Councillor Abbott, who thanked businesses who had written letters of support, liked the idea of making the centre self-sufficient.
Councillor Al Fournier said: “I think it is crucial that we have this open.”
A similar line was taken by Councillor Jill Roy, who said: “I’m absolutely in favour of it … as long as staff are following the rules.”
Councillor Corrine Collura also backed the motion, praising a plan for the VRC prepared by Gillian Moch, the economic development officer, and Savannah Mass, the communications and tourism manager.
“It is a very cautious plan, there is nothing reckless about it,” said Councillor Collura. “It is very well thought through.”
McKenzie said there were pros and cons to opening the centre, adding that she had concerns about young staff working there during a pandemic.
After the meeting, McKenzie said the plan prepared by Moch and Savannah was designed to ensure the VRC was as COVID-19-safe as possible, covering such matters as how many people can be there at a time.
McKenzie was unsure what staffing levels would be at the centre this year.
She said Council had received letters from the Chamber of Commerce and Cypress Hills Destination Area arguing for the centre to be opened.

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