Passengers aboard the MV Osprey 2000 are being greeted this summer by Kootenay Lake’s new ambassador.
Thanks to a Canada summer jobs grant and money from the Columbia Basin Trust and regional district, the Balfour Business and Historic Association has hired Jesse Adams to provide tourist information aboard the ferry.
“In the past we tried it with volunteers but it didn’t work out,” says the association’s Janice Cooper. “We’re trying to increase visits and stays in our area and promote the whole region.”
Adams, 25, who is from Nelson, just completed a two-year business administration diploma at Selkirk College and will attend Okanagan University College in the fall.
He responded to an online ad for the ambassador position and started the job the weekend before Canada Day.
“I bring a big bag of brochures and maps and set up a table,” he says. “I do a couple of rounds, approach people, introduce myself and tell them if they have questions to talk to me.”
Adams says he tries to talk to almost everyone on every sailing, and he’s slowly learning who the locals are.
“Feedback has been really positive. Lots of people say it’s a great thing. It also takes some pressure off the ferry staff, who won’t get as many questions.”
Many people ask about about the ferry itself — its dimensions, how fast it goes, and where the washrooms are — while others ask where to stay and what to do in the area. In preparation for the job, Adams checked local hotel and restaurant prices and has been boning up on local history.
For the moment, he’s working Thursdays to Mondays from 11:30 to 6, although he may adjust his schedule depending on when the ferry is busiest.
He’ll be around to the end of summer, exclusively on the Osprey, which has better passenger accommodation than the smaller MV Balfour.
Cooper said they have also realized another dream to install TVs aboard the Osprey — one each in the upstairs and downstairs lounges — which play DVDs from Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism with local information.
She expects there will also be opportunities to sell advertising to make the program self-sustaining.