Ontario Construction News staff writer
A vision of a new nature centre at the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area in Bradford was presented to Barrie council this week as the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation looks or help to fund the $6.5 million project.
The current nature centre, part of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, has reached the end of its days and a new one is needed to continue the work of introducing youth to the learning opportunities afforded by the outdoors, inspiring a new generation of environmental activists, BarrieToday reported.
The foundation is embarking on its first capital campaign to replace the centre with a new, larger multi-purpose facility that will inspire the eco-champions of tomorrow and be an environmental hub of professional training, workshops, events, and also community programming.
The LSRCA hopes to find a partnership between the public and private sectors.
The current centre includes outdoor education and the opportunity to connect youth to the environment. The centre now consists of three re-purposed portables, and two classrooms in 2,800 square feet of square feet of space. It has a capacity for 60 people, with inadequate washroom and storage facilities, an “old-style” look and is close to the end of its life cycle, councillors were told.
The foundation has raised about $1.2 million towards it campaign goal, and the City of Barrie is being asked to contribute $150,000.
The planned new building has more than 8,000 square feet of space, a capacity of 250, will be built using a sustainable design, will have three flexible multi-use rooms, and is expected to attract 15,000 visitors a year.
A Therapy in the Woods program is also offered at Scanlon, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Hospital. The program is designed to support early learners with sensory and physical challenges, and reduce barriers to outdoor experiences, BarrieToday reported.