Nakusp chamber 2017
In Nakusp, B.C., visitor services are closely interwoven with business support
Cedra Eichenauer, manager of the Nakusp & District Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre, was a little breathless when she answered my phone call in early April. And no wonder—she had just picked up five boxes of promotional display materials from the post office and carried them into the centre.
Eichenauer said that, happily, the number of inquiries she handles at the visitor centre has continued to rise in spite of easily accessible information on the Internet. Hence her new supply of informational materials.
As well as being a provider of guidance and information for visitors, the centre is a convenient source of assistance for area residents.
“We help local people with their travel plans,” Eichenauer said. “We do copying and printing and scanning for people, we help local seniors find services. And,” she added, laughing, “we also have a public washroom that’s very handy, whether you’re a visitor or a local person.”
She said that the focus of the chamber of commerce is about the same as it’s always been. “I try to connect residents and visitors and businesses in whatever way I can, by referring people to various businesses for various services and by engaging businesses and getting their information for our calendar and our newsletter. My job is to be an intermediary, and the visitor services are very interwoven with business support.”
Together with the Kaslo and Slocan chambers of commerce, the Nakusp chamber continues to work on the West Koot Route, an important tourism initiative for the area. Eichenauer called the initiative a work in progress, and said that included in the new phase of work on the West Koot Route is a sustainability study that will examine funding options for hiring a paid staff person.
Lights along the waterfront
Thanks to the Rotary Club of Nakusp, the best-known attraction in the village is more beautiful and welcoming than ever these days. The club spearheaded an effort to get dark-sky-compliant lighting installed along the village’s waterfront walkway and Japanese garden, to be lit from darkfall to midnight. The lighting system was designed and installed by Artistic Lighting Design Ltd. in Kelowna, and went live in early December 2016.
“It’s beautiful,” Eichenauer said. “There are LED lights under all the railings along the walkway and on all of the stairways that access the walkway. The Toru Fujibayashi sculpture is lit up and some of the key trees and shrubs have lights on them. It looks amazing, and the footing is safer as well.”
The Nakusp Rail Society is planning a grand opening to celebrate the acquisition of two pieces of rolling stock from CP Rail—a 1970s caboose and 1920s snowplow. Restoration is still in progress at this point, and the rail committee has been in discussions with Artistic Lighting Design about a possible lighting system for the rolling stock.
New stacks of tourism brochures at the Nakusp visitor centre and increased volunteer activity outdoors are sure signs that spring has arrived in the West Kootenay region—and not a moment too soon.