Woodlands and Waterways Visitor’s Centre holds soft opening

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan/Northern Advocate. Breanna Parbst, general manager of the Woodlands and Waterways Regional Visitors Centre, talks with residents during the soft opening for the Centre Jan. 2.

Parbst takes on new role as Visitor’s Centre GM

Woodlands and Waterways Visitor’s Centre opened Jan. 2, with a reception and chance to meet the new General Manager, Breanna Parbst.

The Centre is open for information currently as plans are unfolding for how the Centre will look and operate once it’s in full swing, Parbst said in an interview with the Northern Advocate.

The centre opened with Parbst as the only staff currently hosting the public in the facility.

Part of her role initially has been to work with the Board to complete a survey, work out a four-year strategic plan to enhance tourism in the area.

Now, the job is to fatten up the organization to fulfill the mandate set in the strategic plan.

Parbst is working on building a volunteer team and exploring employment options, such as hiring summer students.

“We did a survey and through that survey results we came up with our four pillars.”

The four pillars include: Deliver an Exceptional Tourism Experience; Curate and Engage; Champion Local Culture in Heritage; A Healthy, Confident Organization.

The tourism experience plan requires support from the local population, new residents and visitors. They add value to what exists , build trust with local stakeholders and working to become a valued partner to local businesses and institutions. Educating people, both local and visitors, about the diverse resources within the community.

Within the Curate and Engage pillar, the goals include: Being a hub for tourism in the area; creating a “robust” annual roster of events throughout the year; be a core and enthusiastic promotor of community events and work particularly with new citizens to the area.

Under the pillar Champion Local Culture in Heritage, the goal is to support and celebrate local artisans; support and celebrate the history of the area; and hold space for Indigenous tourism development.

And under the fourth pillar, a Healthy, Confident Organization, the plan includes: “Grow a measurable, sustainable and healthy organizational ensure financial transparency, through responsible practices.”

The Centre closed in the Spring of 2023 after the realization of unpaid PST/GST between 2016 and 2023.

Subsequently, the Board hired Parbst  in late August to manage the centre and began a four-year strategic planning process to revisit the purpose and operation of the Centre moving forward.

Parbst will be in the centre from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and sometime on Friday for the near future.

As time goes by, Parbst hopes to bring the community together for educational events, perhaps use the space for their endeavour, the door is wide open to ideas about the future of the centre and people are invited to drop in and share their ideas to enhance the life of the centre.

The Lac La Ronge Regional Visitors Centre is back with a new Strategic Plan. People are invited to drop by and share their experiences. hopes and suggestions for the future of the Centre.