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Cash needed to repair aging visitor’s centre

Repairs would tally nearly $40,000; councillor slams expense, saying it would be better spent in online tourism options

Sitting unused during the colder months of the year, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce is coming to the city asking for $40,000 to fix up the Visitor's Centre. The building, which sits at the corner of Simcoe Street South and Bloor Street, sees approximately 3,400 people pass through its doors during the three months of the year it is open.

Sitting unused during the colder months of the year, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce is coming to the city asking for $20,000 to fix up the Visitor’s Centre. The building, which sits at the corner of Simcoe Street South and Bloor Street, sees approximately 3,400 people pass through its doors during the three months of the year it is open.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

It’s a point of contention with councillors and now almost approximately $20,000 will be needed to fix it up.

The city’s aging Visitor’s Centre, sitting at the corner of Bloor and Simcoe Streets and operated by the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, will need some work done before the summer months roll around.

Detailed to the city’s finance committee by Nancy Shaw, the chamber’s CEO, it was explained that thousands of dollars in work will be needed, including a paint job both inside and outside, repair leaks, new flooring and further interior work.

“I think it needs some serious TLC,” Shaw said.

“We just need to make it a better face for Oshawa.”

During the three months in which the centre is open from June to the end of August, it sees approximately 3,400 people walk through the door. For the remainder of the year, tourist information is available at the chamber’s downtown offices.

The work was slammed by Councillor Amy McQuaid-England, who said she did not see it as a “value added project.”

“I don’t think it’s a good use of resources,” she said, noting that, for her, the money would be better spent investing in an online, interactive app for tourists such as a popular locations map system. She recommended that staff should look at what other municipalities are doing in terms of their visitor’s centres.

However, Shaw noted that she felt a presence was still needed in the community for visitors coming in to the city.

The building, which was previously a model home, was obtained by the city in 1995 and has been sitting at its current location for the last 21 years. Any repairs needed to the building would be the responsibility of the city.

The item was referred to budget deliberations in January.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated the cost of repairing the Visitor’s Centre would be $40,000. This number was incorrectly stated during council’s committee meeting and later clarified to be $20,000.