Clarington’s Tourism Info Centre getting new life as recreation facility

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By Glen Hendry

Published April 13, 2022 at 9:47 am

The Clarington Tourist Information Centre, which has been closed since the pandemic began in March 2020, will soon be revived as a multi-purpose indoor/outdoor leisure center and mobile playground for children’s summer camps.

The building and surrounding land became redundant two years ago due to the pandemic and due to a new model for tourism delivery in which Clarington — which outsourced its tourism services to the local Chamber of Commerce — brought those services in-house at an annual cost savings of $50,000 .

Tourism information and support is now provided at the major indoor recreation facilities throughout the community, providing “greater reach” to residents and visitors due to the traffic at these facilities, extended hours and a greater number of customer service representatives on hand help.

Aside from briefly operating as a flu vaccination clinic, the building at 181 Liberty Street has since been closed.

City officials considered demolishing the building, but a staff report noting that Bowmanville, Clarington’s largest urban center, has “severe shortages of programmable space” prompted them to look more closely at how the building could be repurposed.

“The Tourism Information Center provides an opportunity for both indoor and adjacent outdoor recreation opportunities,” said George Acorn, director of community services, in his report to the General Government Committee on Monday. “The outdoor area is suitable for outdoor fitness activities starting in June in conjunction with ‘June is Recreation and Parks Month’. This location will also be a great addition to the Mobile Playground summer camp program and will provide an opportunity for gardening programs.”

Other programs also planned within the building include:

  • preschool programming
  • Babysitting/Home Alone
  • youth art evenings
  • yoga classes
  • nutrition workshop
  • Intergenerational Programming
  • 55+ activities like Euchre and Socials

In order to make the space flexible to offer a range of activities, the staff removed the partial interior partitions, replaced some floors and doors. Accessibility improvements have also been made, including power-operated entrance doors. By removing the interior partitions, the space is fully open and functional for the variety of activities that employees plan.

Most of this work was done in-house by staff to keep costs to a “minimum,” Acorn noted.

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