Merritt visitor stop closing

The B.C. Visitor Centre at the end of the Okanagan Connector in Merritt is closing for good.

The centre, operated by Destination BC through a third-party contractor, includes washroom facilities, tourist information, souvenir sales and a snack shack. It will close in January.

It will be replaced by a new rest stop being constructed on the Connector between Kelowna and Merritt at the Loon Lake interchange.

The $7-million rest area is expected to open later this fall.

In a statement posted on TripAdvisor, a Destination BC official said significant changes in consumer trip planning behaviour have occurred over the last decade.

"As such, we have seen a corresponding drop in usage of visitor centres, such as the one at Exit 286 near Merritt," the statement noted. "The site is primarily used as a rest area and washroom stop for travellers, rather than a source of travel/trip planning information."

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