Monthly Archive for December, 2011
In April 2011, Thompson City Council directed the Thompson Zoo Society to formulate a new plan for the current zoo that was established in the 1960s. After many months of surveys, polling, and analysis, the concept of a Boreal Discovery Centre emerged and was presented to Council for approval. The Boreal Discovery Centre builds on Thompson’s strategic direction as the “Hub of the North” by developing the theme of the Centre as a place where people meet, learn and celebrate the communities of the boreal wetlands, skies, and the forest.
Development of this Centre addresses areas in the Master Parks Plan concerned with developed recreational space, infill development, local biodiversity and Type C accessibility.
In the development of all exhibits of the Centre, input from Nisichawayasihk Cree will be pursued, as well, the significant aspects in local traditional culture relating to the exhibits will only be developed with permissions and guidance from First Nations themselves.
The heart of the Boreal DISCOVERY Centre is a unique one story, 3,000 sq ftinterpretative centre located over the existing man-made wetlands. This structure alone will be worth a visit in itself; the result of state of the art sustainable building technology.
The interior or the facility will house exhibits showcasing, in an experiential fashion, the unique adaptations found in the Boreal wetlands, skies (focus on birds of prey), forest (Predator Zone focusing on Timber Wolves and the Prey Arena focusing on Moose/Caribou) and human communities. Exterior habitat exhibits will complement and abut those in the interpretative centre. The largest exterior exhibit area will be Human Connections – What is Possible. Here human adaptations including traditional and emergent green technologies, living lightly and sustainably will be showcased. All exhibits will be accessible year-round to encourage continued attendance.
This vision has the support and endorsement of Spirit Way Inc., and consensus has been reached in an agreement in principle. The Spirit Way wolf enclosure is the Boreal Forest Community – Predator exhibit. Fund-raising efforts for, and development of, this exhibit by Spirit Way Inc. are intact and on track. Subject to the approval of the new Board, the wolf enclosure would be Phase 1 of a multi-year development. A top notch wolf enclosure is essential for Thompson to continue to promote itself as the “Wolf Capital of Canada”.
The financial basis for the Boreal Discovery Centre is a balance of government and corporate funding with self earned revenue through memberships, programming, workshops, admissions, and guest services. The cost to the City and taxpayers is actually reduced with this new model of operations.
The current Thompson Zoological Society will dissolve and a new corporate entity will be created; the Boreal Discovery Centre, Inc. A foundation will also be created to support the operations and capital expenses of the Centre.
When fully operational, twelve positions consisting of full-time, part time and summer student will form the staffing complement of the Centre.
Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg, Manitoba has indicated their support in the development of the centre, as well as a willingness to work together in developing programming and the possibility of evolving into a “sister centre” in the north. Other strategic partnerships include the City of Thompson, TNRC, Thompson Unlimited, UCN, Food Matters Manitoba and other educational institutions.,
The Boreal Discovery Centre, a community legacy project, will be an important asset to the City of Thompson. It will provide the opportunity and the facilities for residents to experience and foster connection to the communities of the magnificent boreal region in which we live. It will provide meaningful, safe and family-oriented programming creating awareness and respect for the non-human communities we share the land with. And it will showcase ways in which we can live sustainably, creatively and lightly now and in the future.
For more information and a visual representation, visit the Boreal Discovery Centre at http://borealdiscoverycentre.blogspot.com. For further news on Wolf Capital initiatives, visit www.thompsonspiritway.ca