Rich­mond info cen­tre likely to close


Af­ter more than 30 years, the Rich­mond and Districts In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre looks set to close at the end of March.

Dwin­dling vol­un­teer num­bers along with fall­ing vis­i­tor queries are com­bin­ing to force the clo­sure of the Glad­stone Rd cen­tre in Rich­mond, near Nel­son.

Vol­un­teer co-or­di­na­tor Sally Sy­monds said the where­abouts of the pub­lic toi­let was now the most com­mon ques­tion.

‘‘A sign would solve that prob­lem,’’ she said.

The team of 20 vol­un­teers was half the num­ber who worked in shifts at the cen­tre in 1998. Vol­un­teers to­day may still have five or six queries in the morn­ing and the same in the af­ter­noon dur­ing the busy sum­mer months. How­ever, there might be no vis­i­tors dur­ing win­ter shifts.

‘‘Peo­ple just get sick of it,’’ Sy­monds said. ‘‘It’s not worth our while.’’

Fewer vis­i­tors also made it dif­fi­cult to train new vol­un­teers.

The is­sue had come to the head be­cause an­other three vol­un­teers in­tended to leave af­ter Easter, which would force the clo­sure of the cen­tre at the end of March. Sy­monds, 80, was among the three.

Vol­un­teers be­lieved new tech­nol­ogy was mak­ing the cen­tre re­dun­dant with a no­tice­able drop in vis­i­tor queries over the past two years, she said.

Sy­monds wrote to Tas­man Dis­trict Coun­cil in Jan­uary, out­lin­ing the is­sue. ‘‘Hope­fully, the coun­cil can find some­one to run the cen­tre and ob­tain more vol­un­teers.’’

The com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee last week dis­cussed the mat­ter and noted the coun­cil was ‘‘not in a po­si­tion’’ to take over op­er­at­ing the cen­tre.

Com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment man­ager Su­san Ed­wards asked coun­cil­lors if they would like staff to spend more time look­ing at op­tions for the cen­tre ‘‘or if you’re happy to note that noth­ing, it will close’’.

Cr Mark Green­ing asked if the coun­cil could ‘‘ac­tively go wider to see if there are other vol­un­teers who might want to step in’’.

How­ever, Ed­wards said the coun­cil had been ad­ver­tis­ing and ‘‘there hasn’t been much up­take’’. if we do

Cr Kit Mal­ing said the lo­ca­tion ‘‘isn’t great’’. ‘‘I’m sorry, it’s past its use-by date.’’

Cr Paul Hawkes ques­tioned the cen­tre’s vi­a­bil­ity ‘‘in the ab­sence of vol­un­teers go­ing for­ward’’.

The com­mit­tee agreed to thank the vol­un­teers for their con­tri­bu­tion.


The Rich­mond and Districts In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre will likely have a per­ma­nent closed sign from the end of March.

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