After a year of construction, the Haliburton welcome centre is open for business.

Provincial and federal representatives, Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts and the Rotary Club of Haliburton were on hand to cut the ribbon, celebrating the building which has been in the works for more than four years.

Proposed by Rotarians as a way to celebrate their 75th anniversary, it was made possible with $75,000 from the club and a government grant of $375,000.

“It’s awesome to finally have it open and we’re getting rave reviews from the community,” said Rotarian and past president of the club, Ted Brandon, who was on hand when construction began last August.

Brandon said the building meets the needs of Haliburton’s growing community.

“There are lots of new people in the area, lots of opportunities to tell them all the great things that are happening here in the Highlands.”

The centre has seven washrooms as well as a central space with tourism information and staff available to answer questions.

“This is an absolutely amazing day,” MP Jamie Schmale said. “The fact that the community can come together. They recognized there was this missing piece, they raised the funds locally, they submitted a strong application and the government felt it was worthwhile.”

Schmale supported the application for funds at the federal level: “To see it finally happen is a great feeling,” he said.

He also said the welcome centre represents a step forward for the County’s growing economy.

“The fact that we can have this centre here and provide that little bit of information, and highlight some of the beautiful shops, cafes, stores in the area and among other things,” he said.

“It all comes together as a big piece in this puzzle, to help the economy of this area.”

The welcome centre and its washrooms are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Head Lake Park.

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