During a regular council meeting on Dec. 8, 2015, Burns Lake council renewed the rental agreement between the Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Burns Lake for the property located at 540 Hwy. 16.
The chamber currently pays $600 per month to the village. The rental agreement, which expires Dec. 31, 2015, was renewed for 2016.
The agreement has a clause of renewal each year for three years without renegotiation upon approval by both parties – 2015 marked the year where renegotiation was supposed to take place for 2016.
The rental agreement is tied directly to the visitor information centre agreement. Therefore the visitor information centre’s operating agreement between the chamber and the village was also approved for 2016.
The operating agreement will be brought back to council in 2016 to explore long-term options. This will take place after the completion of the village’s economic development strategic plan, allowing village staff time to formalize tourism actions and determine what the future of tourism for Burns Lake may look like before a long-term contract is signed.
In 2015, the chamber of commerce was paid $56,144 for their services. This will remain the same in 2016.
Chamber manager Susan Schienbein explained that all of the funds that the chamber receives go to the visitor information centre to pay for things such as visitor centre wages, publications, marketing and research.
The funding for the 2015 operating agreement will come from the Lakes economic development service (LEDS) function through the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako Area B and the village. In addition, the visitor information centre has secured increased funding from Destination B.C. for $10,000 a year for three years.
From Jan. 1, 2015, to Nov. 1, 2015, the visitor information centre had 5912 visitors. Schienbein said she’s confident the visitor centre will exceed 6000 visitors in 2015.
According to the village, maintaining a visitor information centre is an important way to showcase Burns Lake to visitors travelling Hwy. 16 – it encourages people to stop and spend the night, shop in local businesses, use local services and visit attractions unique to Burns Lake. In addition, the visitor information centre is often the first stop for people who are considering moving to Burns Lake.