BC Hydro has closed the Power House at Stave Falls Visitor Centre for the season.
And while the move will save $300,000, it has garnered criticism from Mission’s mayor.
“It’s one of our premiere attractions,” said Mayor Ted Adlem. “BC Hydro has an obligation to keep it open.”
In the past, the Power House operated on reduced hours during fall and winter, and the move to close it completely for seven months, “better reflect(s) seasonal demand and allow BC Hydro to improve the quality of experience for visitors,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer.
“The new schedule was adopted after we conducted an analysis of the number of visitors at the centre at different times of the year,” said Heer. “We see a significant drop in the number of visitors over the fall and winter.”
From April 2011 to March 2012, there were 15,120 visitors, compared to 6,147 during the off-season (October to April).
The facility will be used for BC Hydro staff meetings and training sessions when it’s closed to the public, and there will continue to be security and maintenance checks.
BC Hydro said it will accommodate school and group bookings with extended hours, as required, when the site is open from April to June.
The move also allows the company to include new interactive experiences, upgrade the theatre and add a virtual experience showing how energy is created.
Adlem and his council are writing a letter to local MLAs and BC Hydro to express their displeasure.
Mission residents are already being inconvenienced with limited access to recreational facilities because of the work the power company is doing in the area, noted Adlem.
“If they want to cut something, this isn’t it.”
The Stave Falls facility was closed after the Labour Day long weekend and will re-open April 5, 2013. BC Hydro’s three other visitor centres around the province also close for the winter.