Wildlife centre seeks federal grant

Medicine River Wildlife Centre has a last-minute chance at $370,000 in federal funding to upgrade its facility, but it needs to raise $100,000 in matching funds by Monday. Executive director Carol Kelly said a corporate sponsor, who has donated money to the centre in the past, may contribute the $100,000.

Carol Kelly

Carol Kelly

Medicine River Wildlife Centre has a last-minute chance at $370,000 in federal funding to upgrade its facility, but it needs to raise $100,000 in matching funds by Monday.

Executive director Carol Kelly said a corporate sponsor, who has donated money to the centre in the past, may contribute the $100,000.

But it’s not a certainty so a call is going out to Central Alberta for help.

The $370,000 federal grant and all money raised in the community would go towards a $500,000 project to upgrade the centre’s nature trail and build a new wildlife hospital. Improvements are part of the centre’s $3-million renovation project.

“Suddenly to have the bulk of money dangled in front of us is very encouraging. So it’s certainly worth the effort,” Kelly said.

But there’s less than a week to “pull this off,” she said.

Located west of Innisfail, the centre has a wildlife hospital and environmental education centre dedicated to assisting injured and orphaned wild animals to return back to their natural environment.

Kelly said the centre was notified on Jan. 29 that the money had “tentatively” become available from the Community Adjustment Fund.

Even if the $100,000 is found in time, the government may still deny the application.

Last summer, the centre applied for the same grant and was turned down.

To get another shot at the money, the centre has to raise a total of $150,000 in money or pledges. The centre has until the end of the year to raise $50,000, but $100,000 must be raised by Monday.

Even though there’s no guarantee the centre will get the grant, and it’s an awkward position for the centre and its supporters, Kelly said it’s worth a shot.

“I think we have a very strong chance. I don’t think they would have approached us to put in all this work if there wasn’t a chance.”

“We’ve got to try for it to see if we can do it.”

If successful, construction would begin in June.

“We are poised and ready.”

Anyone who wants to donate or wants more information about the centre’s renovation plans can call Kelly at 403-728-3467.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com