Lexi Bainas, Cowichan Valley Citizen, September 09, 2011
Local contributions made it happen
An excited Roger Hart called the Citizen late Wednesday, Sept. 7 with the news that $350,000 in funding has been approved for the Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre.
The Cowichan Land Trust can now get busy because the interpretive centre must be completed by March 31, 2012.
"I’m just amazed that this happened quite accidentally at the same time as we were raising money for Sansum Point and we’ve achieved both. It’s astonishing. People realize now that they can make a difference and they are doing it," Hart said.
How did it happen?
As usual, the Valley stepped up to the plate so the Land Trust was able to meet a necessary goal of raising at least 10 per cent ($35,000) of the project costs locally by Aug. 31.
The groups supplying the rest of the cash are the Island Coastal Economic Trust and the West Coast Community Adjustment Program.
Work is expected to start in October and the centre will be open to the public by next summer, Hart said Thursday morning.
"The first step now is to tell everyone all about it, to let everyone know we have succeeded," he said.
"There are some small details to be worked out before work starts – that’s normal – but a condition is the centre needs to be opened by March 31, 2012 so starting has to be pretty darned soon for that to happen. We have conceptual designs, we have all sorts of people willing to step up to the plate to make it happen."
The Cowichan Valley Regional District is allowing it to be built on their land so the Land Trust doesn’t have to go out and buy real estate before it all gets going, Hart added happily.
Cowichan Bay area director Lori Iannidinardo has been actively involved in the project as well, he said.
Fundraising events included a beer and burger and auction night, an estuary kayak tour and even a private fundraising birthday party.
Now, because some additional funding is still needed, the Cowichan Land Trust, along with other generous community supporters, has organized a limited edition giclée print fundraiser campaign featuring "Fir Tree on Mt. Tzouhalem" by Cowichan Bay artist Peter Spohn, who is also widely known as "Grandfather Heron" following his active support for the Bay’s great blue heron population.
Signed numbered prints can be ordered from the Cowichan Land Trust for $140 with $100 from each purchase going directly to the Estuary Nature Centre project.
Another way to contribute to this exciting local initiative and be recognized for your contribution is to become a founding donor. The first 40 donors who pledge $1,000 or more will be recognized on the nature centre’s founding donor wall. There are only 17 spots left so if this interests you, get on the phone now.
The nature centre will have both indoor and outdoor classrooms and provide interactive opportunities for children and adults to learn about the area’s estuary, its watershed, marine life, and natural and cultural history.
© Cowichan Valley Citizen 2011