Tourism Squamish to Turn Adventure Centre into Promotion Hub

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April 28, 2016
Is council interested in reestablishing the Squamish Adventure Centre as a hub for tourism promotion? Is council okay with Tourism Squamish leading the process?
Council answered yes to both these questions and endorsed a Tourism Squamish plan to create a program that would enable the Squamish Adventure to be a hub for tourism promotion.
 It will take the district staff to a few months to scope out the project and present some options before the council on what that program may look like, Gary Buxton, a district official told the council. 
Mayor Patricia Heintzman said the original idea when the adventure centre was built was to enhance the visitor experience, build tourism potential and increase revenue for the building. But lack of a budget and clear objectives meant the building could never achieve that potential.
An initiative of former Mayor Ian Sutherland, the adventure centre has been a controversial project. It was managed by Squamish Sustainability Corporation (SSC), which was supposed to be an arm’s length district company and would also work as an economic development arm of the district. The Greg Gardner council stripped the SSC of its economic development function.
The SSC board, made up of councilors and officials, manages the adventure centre but with no power to take policy decisions.
“Originally, the intent was to have a programming piece but there was no action on it and I think the intent here is to bring it back to that level so it can really drive tourism,” she said.
Heintzman said people saw it as a community asset and a community hub and she felt the new program should retain that element of a community gathering space.
Coun. Doug Race agreed, saying the adventure centre was a tourism asset but also a gathering spot for the community and the new program shouldn’t exclude that.
District staff will bring proposals before the council on how Tourism Squamish would anchor the Squamish Adventure Centre so it could be a tourism hub for visitors to town.
Scott McQuade, member of the Tourism Squamish board, said he was excited to see what the future programing would be as the adventure centre is developed as a tourism hub. “I trust the vision of people who will work on this and I’m excited to see the change,” he said.