Walsh Visitor Information Centre adding staff, extending hours

This year the Walsh Visitor Information Centre will open seven days a week.

Last year the Centre was open from Wednesday to Sunday but Sean Rooney, communications coordinator with Cypress County who manages Walsh Visitor Information Centre, explained they want to serve the community better.

The idea was put before council, which agreed to the change. Last year, the centre had three employees and this year it will need to be four in order to remain open the extra two days each week.

“I think everybody who came by felt welcomed,” stated Rooney. “We were able to provide lots of good service for people to let them know what is going on in the county.”

Rooney said they also managed to promote businesses in the county.

“That is part of it, not just welcoming people but doing some outreach and connecting businesses in the county and doing everything we can to promote Cypress County,” he said.

Opening date and times aren’t set in stone yet. The May long weekend is usually the targeting opening day. The centre was open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. last year, and the plan is to have the same opening times, but two more employees still need to be hired and schedules figured out.

Two staff members from last year are returning.

“I’m really excited about that,” said Rooney. “I saw one of them at the trade show on the weekend and it was nice to catch up.”

The job competition for the two open positions is up until March 15, followed by job interviews, staff training and bringing everyone up to date on health and safety requirements.

The area of the centre that features wares from artisans and businesses is now called The Badlands Boutique.

“I think that’s been pretty well received. Both by the artisans and the public,” said Rooney. “One thing we are going to improve on with that, is we are going to offer (payment by) debit and credit cards.”

In the past, payment was by OptionPay, which adds a $2 surcharge on every transaction. Rooney says he feels it hurt their sales.


SAMANTHA JOHNSOn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News