Chamber concerned with retail sales at VIC

  • Jun. 4, 2003 8:00 a.m.

The islands Chamber of Commerce is so concerned about the Queen Charlotte visitor info centre’s plans to sell merchandise that they’re writing to federal Heritage Minister Sheila Copps about it.
“The Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the visitor information centre using a tax-subsidized facility to sell retail items,” said president Mary Kellie. At its last meeting, the Chamber voted to write a letter outlining those concerns to Ms Copps, to MLA Bill Belsey, and to the Friends of the Visitor Information Centre, the group which runs the Queen Charlotte facility.
Ms Kellie said that the Friends wrote a letter to the Chamber outlining their future plans, which include selling retail items in order to cover some of their costs.
Greg Martin, a director of Friends of the Visitor Information Centre, said the group is required, through its contract with Parks Canada, to develop a revenue stream.
“We are obligated to find ways to make the visitor centre self-supporting,” he said.
Parks Canada plans to withdraw from the visitor info centre within the next few years, Mr. Martin said, which means that it’s especially important for the centre to find a way to support itself.
“Selling merchandise is one small way,” he said. “We are not interested in putting any local merchants out of business… We’re sensitive to that.”
At the moment, the centre is only selling Gwaii Haanas shirts, Mr. Martin said.