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Proposal thumbs down

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

All he can say is ‘why?’ John Hart is firmly opposed to the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre, his thoughts are: why fix something that isn’t broken? PICTURE: Emily Ferguson All he can say is ‘why?’ John Hart is firmly opposed to the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre, his thoughts are: why fix something that isn’t broken? PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

The idea proposed by City Council to relocate the Broken Hill Police Station to the current Tourist Information Centre has been strongly opposed by local tourism operator, John Hart.

John Hart of the Pro Hart Gallery said even the thought of moving the extremely popular and well-appreciated tourist centre just doesn’t make sense, at any level.

“The whole thing is nuts, I’m not trying to have a go at Council, but I just don’t think they’ve thought it through.”

He believes that relocating the centre would be harmful to the tourism industry in Broken Hill. Being well-travelled he has seen many tourist information centres around NSW and said none are quite like Broken Hill’s, it’s everything you need in one place.

“There is a nice synergy between the information centre and the cafe (Gloria Jeans),” he said.

“The cafe provides an excellent opportunity for tourists to sit down and plan their stay, while relaxing with a coffee and a snack. This is a unique feature of our tourist centre and one that has been a tremendous value add to the perception of Broken Hill being serious about tourism.”

John said, due to the centre originally being a bus station, the space available to all kinds of travel vehicles is perfect and would not be possible or ideal within the main street.

“The parking is easily accessible to small and large vehicles, caravans and motorhomes, without causing undue disruption to traffic. The native garden is well established and provides shade for parking.”

John believes that the City Council have inadvertently created a social hub, with at least thirteen community groups regularly using it as a meeting place.

“What we have created is an experience,” John said.

“The tourist centre over the years has become a community hub in its own right. “Locals, church and social groups meet there on a weekly basis.

“Who would have thought this possible for a tourist information centre?”

John trusts the opinion of the tourists who come through the gallery and their feedback ensures that the information centre is well established.

“I always take tourist feedback seriously. What I am hearing is positive, people tell me that this is the best tourist information centre they have visited,” said John.

“We have got something right, it works brilliantly, and the tourists love it. We have 35,000 people through a year and the only complaint they have is that it (information centre) closes too early.”

John believes the unoccupied space within the centre is due to it not being advertised as available, and he suggested one of the shopfronts be used as a Broken Hill history display.

He thinks it would be great to have the Broken Hill Historical Society there and to bring out all the archives for tourists to see and appreciate. 

“Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of what we have achieved over time. The centre we have is one of the best in New South Wales, the location is remarkably central to the CBD and attractions,” he said.

“Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater and try and fix something that is not broken.

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