existed at the time when the board came to that decision.
“Over the last few years,” says Howard, “the thing we’ve been struggling with is declining attendance. And that’s mainly because a lot of people that come back to places like the T.re
x Centre are repeat people. If you don’t have something new, they don’t really come back again. Unfortunately, if you don’t keep changing, or at least have new things and are innovating, then you tend to stagnate. And with the loss of revenue
you just don’t have the money to spend on marketing like you’d want to.”
In early 2013, an agreement was finally reached between the T.re
x Discovery Centre’s board and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. The RSM would assume full administrative control of the facility and take over the marketing. Howard says most people in Eastend welcome the agreement.
“Over the years, the T.re
x Centre has been an absolutely fabulous draw for people. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum, of course, has more access to publicity. With them doing this not only do you have the marketing side, but this will give us access to more exhibits which can be brought in or taken out. So the exhibits will change all the time.”
Royal Saskatchewan Museum director Harold Bryant says the RSM is very pleased to be taking this next
step forward with the citizens of Eastend.
“We’ve been involved with the Centre since day one and have two staff stationed at the Centre all year round,” says Bryant. “Eastend is one of the richest areas for fossils in the province. So it has been a good place for us to be, and we have a nice lab set up there. So really what’s happened here is we have decided to take on a larger role which builds on what we’ve been doing in the past.”
Bryant says going forward there will be changes at the T.re
x Discovery Centre, but the public areas of the facility will continue to be public and will, if anything, be enhanced. Bryant says the RSM recognizes how important the Centre is not only to their research, but also to tourism in general in southwest Saskatchewan.
“Obviously, we could have just operated it as a field station, but we appreciate it has been, and continues to be, a key facility in the area to draw in folks to Eastend and the whole southwest. We feel, besides the science, we can also contribute to the exhibitry and we are willing to invest the dollars in the exhibits and the programming. We also hope to do some cross- promoting with the RSM here in Regina to build the numbers up.”
While the RSM is mainly thinking about what they can do in the short term to bring attendance up, Bryant says they are also weighing options of how to expand
One of the many attractions in Eastend is the T.re
x Discovery Centre which is acknowledged by this mural in the community.
the scope of Eastend’s T.re
x Discovery Centre in the future.
“There is lots of possibilities on both the tourism side and the scientific side,” states Bryant. “We’ll definitely be looking at what the Centre can be going into the future.”
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Rural Innovation 15
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