World-class wetland centre coming to Creston Valley
Plans are moving ahead to build a new wetland interpretive Center in the Creston Valley.
The mission of the center is to promote knowledge and foster appreciation of Columbia Basin history, Ktunaxa cultural teachings, and wetland ecology.
Through the creation of a vibrant ecotourism Center for education and science, conservation and research excellence the goal is to provide a captivating visitor experience and inspire passion to protect wildlife and habitats.
The Discovery Center is being planned for a location just off wetlands property; a decision that was arrived at after an in-depth process of stakeholder and public engagement.
In Spring 2014, a consultant was hired by the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area Interpretive Center Committee to produce a range of options for consideration for the future operations of the existing wildlife Center.
The consultant held public forums to hear ideas from residents of the valley and consulted many stakeholders including the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, Local Government, Columbia Basin Trust, First Nations, Creston Community Forest, Wildsight and the Creston and District Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Based on the consultant’s report, the Committee recommended that a new Center be built off-site from the wetlands and include revenue-generating activities to contribute to its sustainability.
“It was important to me to get full representation from all interest groups and the general public,” said Committee Chair, Director Binks.
“I wanted to be sure we all had a voice in the outcome.”
The newly formed Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Center Society is now tasked with bringing the Committee’s dreams to reality.
Murray Oswald, Chairperson of the Society states “We were given a clear mandate from the Committee to develop a sustainable business model around the creation of a new center in close proximity to the wildlife area.”
The decision to build a new Center, rather than renovate the current Center, was arrived at through the stakeholder engagement process as well as from information revealed in engineering reports on the existing aging facility
The Society has secured a property adjacent to the wetlands and Highway 3 providing good visibility and access to the wetlands trails.
The Discovery Center would offer year round education and programming to connect people to the landscape, and provide additional amenities such as research facilities, an amphitheater, and much more.
“With the incorporation of our Society completed, we can now develop an investor and fundraising package. It is exciting to see the project moving forward with the energy and experience on our Board,” says Oswald.
The Kootenay Columbia Discovery Center Society consists of the following individuals: Jim Posynick, John Huscroft, Murray Oswald, Chad Luke, Carolyn Mead, Dr. Colin Yerbury, Jen Comer and Art Tremblay.
The Honorable Jim Abbott, retired Member of Parliament, serves in an advisory role to the Society.