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Fergus information centre to become self-serve by end of year

by Mike Robinson


It looks like the Fergus visitor information centre is going to bear the brunt of cutbacks as it moves to a strictly self-serve location.

A report to council by managing director of community services Brian Detzler noted the municipality currently has two staffed information centres - one in Fergus and one in Elora.

Detzler stated that over the past five years, visits to each location were recorded.

The Elora location realized an annual increase of 119% (15,981 visitors), while the Fergus location experienced an annual decrease of 56% (5,000 visitors).

Meanwhile, staff has increased the access and number of self-serve venues such as the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex, Fergus Grand Theatre and Grand River Raceway.

In the report Detzler said staff believe the Fergus Information Centre could serve the same needs as a self-serve location.

Based on actual attendance figures which reflected the declining number of visits, staffing on Fridays and Saturdays was discontinued in June and the location now serves as a self serve counter.

Earlier this year, there was staff on Fridays from 1pm to 5pm and on Saturdays from 11am to 3pm.

The office remains accessible to the public from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

The location is leased within the Chamber of Commerce building and consists of 250 square feet inclusive of shared washrooms.

When staff was not available in the past, the space served as a self-serve counter.

Effective in late summer, staff will establish space in the Chamber of Commerce to accommodate a self-serve computer terminal and brochure racking.

An information bulletin board will be located outside the building to provide information outside of regular business hours.

Rental of the space is currently $10,000 and will be negotiated in 2014 to reflect the smaller space and accessible hours of use.

A letter from Deb Dalziel to Janet Harrop of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce states “Having tracked tourism numbers for several years, the steady decline in visitors no longer justifies continued operation in its current format. Staffing focus will move towards servicing and promoting visitor requests and inquiries through electronic and digital media.”

“Having a smaller selection of brochures in the Fergus office will concentrate focus on Centre Wellington and Wellington County attractions as opposed to province-wide festivals and events.”

Dalziel wrote the aim is “to encourage visitors to explore the vast array of opportunities that we have rather than as a place to simply pass through.”

She noted work is also being done to create a web based service centre.

Council approved the recommendation.

Vol 46 Issue 34

August 23, 2013



Wellington County

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