Changes could be coming to the Highway17/Ottawa Street intersection. (Supplied by Livestream)
There’s consensus among West Nipissing council to let the local chamber of commerce move into the Information Centre on Front Street.
The chamber told council it can use it to provide information to tourists travelling through the municipality.
Jay Barbeau, West Nipissing’s CAO, says while the chamber’s proposal is an excellent one, it also raises the question of what does council want to do with the building over the long term.
Barbeau says the space is suitable for the chamber’s needs and that includes providing storage space.
He adds the chamber could locate itself at the Information Centre with another partner and use the facility as an economic development hub.
But he also points out that the municipality has been looking at efficiencies which include potentially selling the building.
That’s because West Nipissing has several buildings that are not being fully utilized including the town hall.
Barbeau says selling the Information Centre could get the municipality about $600,000 in revenue.
In addition, the municipality would save about $50,000 in maintenance costs and would no longer spend about $20,000 annually in electricity for the building.
And if the building sells, then West Nipissing gets more tax revenue as councillor Yvon Duhaime pointed out during the debate.
The chamber indicated it’s willing to pay $400 a month in rent to be at the Information Centre.
Councillor Dan Roveda said that wasn’t enough and added there are other agencies that rent from the municipality and pay much more than $400 a month.
As a solution, Mayor Joanne Savage suggested that in addition to the $400 a month rent, the chamber could also provide in-kind services to the municipality.
Roveda agreed with the Mayor’s suggestion.
In the end, there was a general agreement to open the Information Centre to the chamber as long as the business group understood that the building could be sold at some point.