Since the closure of the Radium Hot Springs Pools in January, the number of guests visiting the tourism-focused community has dwindled and its impacts are being felt.
Mike Gray, Director in the Tourism Radium Board said that the Hot Springs themselves were a more vital part of the village that previously thought.
“We didn’t realize how closely tied our tourist mindset was to the Hot Springs,” said Gray. “Even people that weren’t coming specifically for the Hot Springs view it as an important part of their experience out here.”
According to Parks Canada, the Hot Springs pools had to close down on January 11th due to concerns with the structural integrity of the floor between the showers and the pool decks.
Gray added that while the specific numbers how the close has effected the community is unknown, Tourism Radium has still noticed a difference.
“We’ve had some voluntary surveys that have come back in from business owners in the community. Those indicate that just as we suspected, it has made a significant impact, explained Gray. “There are lots of other activities in the area and people are still coming to Radium. We’re just hoping people get the message that when the sign is up that says Radium Hot Springs pools are closed, they understand that the village is still wide open.”
Mayor Clara Reinhardt also noted the impact, saying that a normally slow part of the year has only slowed down even further.
“What happens in the shoulder seasons, November, January and February, is typically the people who come out, come because they like to hang out in the Hot Springs and relax. What happened is that the accommodators have shared with us that when people find out that the Hot Springs are closed, they’re either not coming or they’re going to Fairmont,” said Reinhardt. “It’s had an impact on the shoulder season, which is usually pretty quiet but is now pretty much non-existent for some of the accommodators.”
Despite the closure, however, Parks Canada and Radium Hot Springs have collaborated to still provide for its guests.
“One of the things that Parks Canada is doing during the shut-down is they’re working really closely with Tourism Radium and the Chamber of Commerce to create new activities for the end of March when there’s going to be spring breaks in our biggest market in southern Alberta. They’re working to entice people and assure them that there’s lots going on here and it’s still a great place to be, and we really appreciate that,” Reinhardt said to MyEaastKootenayNow.com. “I would argue that it’s a renewed relationship between Parks Canada and the village, they’re working very hard and they’re very receptive. We’re very grateful for that relationship.”
According to Gray, Fairmont Hot Springs pools have also offered a helping hand, with discounts being given to visitors to Radium during its closure.
“We know that we work well together. When people are visiting, yeah they’re visiting Radium, but they’re also visiting the entire valley. There is that shared experience for people that come to the area and we want them to enjoy that, it should be seamless for them,” said Gray.
Both Reinhardt and Gray are reassuring guests that despite the closure, visitors are still welcome in the area.
“There are lots of other activities in the area and people are still coming to Radium. We’re just hoping people get the message that when the sign is up that says Radium Hot Springs pools are closed, they understand that the village is still wide open,” said Gray.
More: Radium Hot Springs Pools to Remain Closed (February 27, 2020)
More: Safety Concerns Close Radium Hot Springs Pools (January 11, 2020)