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Travellers react to coming closure of Gateway Park visitor centre
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Monday, October 13, 2014 6:21PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, October 13, 2014 6:53PM MDT
It’s a major pit-stop for travellers coming in and out of Edmonton on the south side, and has been for more than a decade – but the agency that runs the Gateway Park Visitors Centre is closing the facility by the end of the year, citing lack of use and some are not happy about it.
“It’s kind of like a monument in Edmonton, so you know you’re here,” traveler Matthew Humeniuk said.
The Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), which operates the tourist centre, says it does not plan on renewing the lease on the land, which means the centre will close at some point before December 31, 2014.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous, I mean people are looking for info, when they are coming into town,” visitor Craig Rutherford said.
According to the EEDC, most people stop at the facility to use the washroom – so the agency is planning to shift their focus to digital information services.
However, at least one visitor to the site told CTV News he probably wouldn’t use digital services.
“I’m kind of old fashioned, I like a paper map or to talk to somebody,” Glen Sabatier said.
The City of Edmonton Executive Committee will talk about options for the building and site Tuesday.
“It’s always sad to lose a facility that is in the city, but it has to make economic sense,” Councillor Amarjeet Sohi said.
“There are two options, one is whether we can have city staff use it for different purposes, or we can engage the private sector, maybe a restaurant.”
Meanwhile, the centre also serves as the site for the historic Leduc #1 Oil Derrick, and Sohi said any decision on the future of that structure should be handled with care he said he doesn’t see why it would need to move.
However, there is a chance the provincial government may need that piece of land for future expansion of the QE2 Highway.
“If it has to be moved in the future then where it goes and how it’s moved and it should be in a visible location as well,” Sohi said.
Staff at the centre told CTV News they were not told about the closure.
The Committee will discuss the future of the land Tuesday.
With files from Nicole Weisberg