GeoTour plans expansion after strong year

By Angelica Ingram

The GeoTour committee has been hard at work planning for the next few years with ideas on how to expand their popular attraction in Highlands East.

On Nov. 23 geocaching committee member Joanne Vanier made a delegation to council outlining a development plan the committee had created and requesting financial support moving forward with the project.

The plan covers the next three years with ideas on how to expand the popular GeoTour from now until 2018.

Some of the main elements of the plan include the creation of GeoArt expanding the tour from 100 caches to 150 in 2017 (to coincide with the country’s 150th birthday) and creating a new cache canoe route along the Irondale river.

“When we had such an overwhelming success of our GeoTour we knew that we needed to keep the momentum going and build upon it” said Vanier in an interview with The Echo.

The committee would like to see the formation of an information centre in the municipality which would greatly aid in promoting the tour as well as other area events.

“We would love to see an information centre in Wilberforce” said Vanier. “I think council is in favour of it too but they can’t commit until they do their budget deliberations.”

Vanier told The Echo the GeoTour heavily relies on Agnew’s General Store in Wilberforce where the information and materials are made available to the public.

“We need a place not just for geocaching but for the mineral tours and information about our hikes” she said.

In total the GeoTour committee is requesting more than $20000 in funds to complete the many phases of their development plan.

The money will go towards a variety of things such as maintaining the caches that currently exist paying for a website domain purchasing materials and promoting the tour.

The bulk of the request is for the implementation of an information centre with costs going towards staffing and equipment.

Formerly working under the umbrella of the Algonquin Gateway Business Association the committee recently became a committee of council a decision made by councillors earlier this year.

Vanier said the change was a good move based on the growth of the tour and the fact it encompasses the entire municipality.

“It’s so nice to be getting positive feedback from the people who are doing the geocaching and from business owners and from council. They are continuously giving us praise and thanking us for the work” said Vanier.

Council passed a resolution at their Nov. 23 meeting granting $2000 to the committee which was divided up by allocating $400 from each of the five advisory committees to the GeoTour committee.
The additional request for funds was deferred until budget deliberations in 2016.

Vanier told the paper the $2000 will go towards the creation of the GeoArt and to maintaining the caches in place.

The GeoTour committee members are all volunteers said Vanier.