By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Minister for PrairiesCan, Dan Vandal announced a new PrairiesCan service location in Lethbridge on Jan. 18. The announcement of the new regional office also heard Minister Vandal deliver funding announcements for 18 projects across southern Alberta.
A portion of the $11.2 million in funding has been awarded to the Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale.
Weir said in addition to the $500,000 from PrairiesCan, the Foundation has also received $500,000 from Travel Alberta to support the project.
Weir said, “there’s a part of a site that’s undeveloped since we’ve been on the property in 1991 and this will give us the opportunity to open up a new Section of the centre for visitors. It will give us improved facilities to handle groups that come through.” He noted the project will enable the centre to host multiple groups of visitors simultaneously and the current facility is posed challenges when traffic is high.
Overnight accommodations will make it viable for previously untapped markets, such as those outside of the region to visit the centre. Schools will also be able to take advantage of the on-site learning and accommodations in a way the existing infrastructure does not allow.
Wier said the site will see, “a few more classroom-size areas, so that we could have two or three school groups working on-site at the same time.”
Weir said the expansion will also allow the Centre to “offer (programming such as) private courses and private experiences as well.”
“Long-term, this is part of our goal to keep increasing the experience that visitors get so that we can hopefully keep building the centre’s reputation and increase visitation over time into the future.”
Weir said, “part of the (expanded) facility will be open this summer. Then, the overnight part might take a little bit longer — into the end of the season or 2024.”
The foundation of the expanded facility has been poured and the project is currently underway.