Thrifty Foods store manager Bill Rutledge tests out the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce’s new information kiosk to help residents and visitors. — Lauren Collins photo

Thrifty Foods store manager Bill Rutledge tests out the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce’s new information kiosk to help residents and visitors. — Lauren Collins photo

Kiosk designed to help residents, visitors of Parksville Qualicum Beach

Parksville chamber hopes this to be first of many

Parksville residents and visitors will have all the region’s information at their fingertips, but it won’t fit in their pockets.

The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce, along with Thrifty Foods, unveiled an informational kiosk, which looks like a giant iPhone, at Parksville’s Thrifty’s store Thursday (Dec. 7).

Chamber of commerce board president Dave Willie said the kiosk had seven sponsors. Willie said the chamber approached Thrifty’s to house the first kiosk.

“It’s the first of many. We don’t see it as being the only one,” Willie said.

The chamber and visitor centre began work on the project early in 2017. The project started as a way to engage both visitors and locals while also sharing information about all there is to experience in the region. As part of that strategy, the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce received $10,000 in a funding grant from Destination BC’s Innovation Funding program to help develop the digital kiosk.

The informational kiosk links back to the Parksville chamber’s website, and includes all the links to chamber of commerce members’ websites.

The goal, Willie said, is to get four or five of the kiosks within the region.

“Obviously, we’d like to take a look at other locations. We were talking about Coombs; making sure they’re placed strategically around town because there’s some pretty high traffic in some high-value spots,” Willie said.

In the region, Willie said, there are fixed locations, such as tourism offices, that people can go to for information.

“The fixed locations are good for part of what we do but we have to additionally look at other opportunities for people to access what they’re looking for,” Willie said. “We need to make sure we’re where people are. They’re not all going to get in a car and drive to the tourism office.”

The informational kiosk, Willie said, can also be beneficial to the businesses housing it. The kiosk can help people to find accommodations, events are going on in the region, highway and weather conditions and local maps.

Bill Rutledge, Thrifty’s store manager, said since staff can’t carry phones during working hours, it gives staff the ability to still help customers when they have questions about the region.

“We have a lot of maps in the store and we go through replenishment on those on a regular basis, on a weekly basis,” Rutledge said. “So this is going to be a great way for people to get the information now and not have to worry about grabbing a map.”

Being a very touristy region, there is such an increase in traffic in the summer that this informational kiosk is a great way for people to access local information, Rutledge said, adding one big plus to the kiosk is that it links to Thrifty Foods’ website.

“We have recipes that people want out of our flyer, and they can access the recipes through there,” Rutledge said.

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