A popular pit stop during B.C. road trips has closed for good.
The visitor centre just outside Merritt, at the interchange of Hwy 5 (the Coquihalla) and Hwy 97C (the Connector), has closed its doors permanently.
Use of the building as a place to get visitor information has declined steadily over the last few years, leading to the closure and a change in strategy for Destination BC and Tourism Merritt.
“Visitor services is not ending in Merritt, it is just moving to a new location in the downtown core,” Destination BC’s Clare Mason told NowMedia.
“Destination BC is transitioning visitor services in Merritt from a provincial model to a community model, to allow for a more flexible, location-based, customer-centric model aligning to the unique services required by travellers and local businesses in the area.”
The new location is at the Baillie House in downtown Merritt and will offer face-to-face visitor services.
Merritt’s new visitor centre won’t act as a rest stop, but there is a solution in regards to that as well.
The Ministry of Transportation will be opening a new rest area on the Connector in the near future, located at the Loon Lake Interchange.
In addition, there are existing rest areas on the Coquihalla at Britton Creek, the summit and Walloper.
The site of the now-closed visitor centre at exit 286 belongs to the provincial government and no decisions have been made regarding its future.