Plans for a new wetland interpretive centre to replace the current facility in Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area marsh are moving forward, said Regional District of Central Kootenay Area C director Larry Binks.
For more than a year, a committee chaired by Binks has been working to shape a new future for one of the Creston Valley’s most valuable resources.
Having defined the mission of a new interpretive centre as needing “to promote knowledge and foster appreciation of Columbia Basin history, Ktunaxa culture teachings and wetland ecology,” the committee worked through a consultation process that included area residents and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited Canada, local governments, Columbia Basin Trust, First Nations, Creston Community Forest, Wildsight and Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“It was important to me to get full representation from all interest groups and the general public,” Binks said. “I wanted to be sure we all had a voice in the outcome.”
The formation of Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society has targeted a property off-site from the wetlands, but adjacent to Highway 3 in full view of the marshes.
Society chair Murray Oswald said sustainability is important as the project moves ahead.
“We were given a clear mandate from the committee to develop a sustainable business model around the creation of a new centre in close proximity to the wildlife area,” he said.
With engineering reports revealing that the existing, aging Wildlife Interpretation Centre needs replacing, the society has secured appropriate property. A new discovery centre would offer year-round education and programming to connect people to the landscape, and provide additional amenities such as research facilities, an amphitheatre and much more.
“With the incorporation of our society now completed, we can develop an investor and fundraising package,” Oswald said. “It is exciting to see the project moving forward with the energy and experience of our board.”
Founding members of the society also include Jim Posynick, John Huscroft, Chad Luke, Carolyn Mead, Dr. Colin Yerbury, Jen Comer and Art Tremblay. Jim Abbott, retired Kootenay-Columbia MP, serves in an advisory role.