Wildlife Centre nears funding goal

Medicine River Wildlife Centre is closing in on its fundraising goal of about $125,000, a crucial target in its pursuit of a matching provincial grant to go ahead with a major expansion project.

Medicine River Wildlife Centre is closing in on its fundraising goal of about $125,000, a crucial target in its pursuit of a matching provincial grant to go ahead with a major expansion project.

Carol Kelly, the centre’s executive director, said they are about three quarters of the way to their target thanks to the generosity of people who have donated their time and labour, offered deals on supplies and provided cash.

“It’s slow. It’s not as fast as we would love to have it. But it’s moving along quite nicely,” said Kelly.

While it’s been a case of slow and steady progress, Kelly hopes to be in a position to apply for a $125,000 provincial grant by March that will be used to build a 2,000-square-foot addition at the centre west of Innisfail. Fundraising will continue past then to round up the last $50,000 needed.

The $300,000 project will provide a new entrance to bring in injured animals, freezer room for food storage and a quarantine area.

It will be built with an eye to making it as an environmentally friendly as possible.

“Everything we’re doing is green as we possibly can.”

A hot water in-floor heating system could be converted to solar power and toilets could be converted to composting version. They are also looking at using green building materials.

A similar approach was taken to a $60,000 project to make a one-km trail at the centre wheelchair accessible earlier this year. Recycled concrete was used in that project, which will be finished in the spring with the installation of an interactive sign, wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and other touches.

That project was funded with $37,500 from the federal government and $22,000 from the TD Friends of the Environment branches in Red Deer and Edmonton.

Those interested in making a donation for the expansion can go to the centre’s website at www.medicineriverwildlifecentre.ca or call 403-728-3467.

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