MARS Wildlife EcoCentre

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS)

Sources of Funding
ICET:$236,000
Applicant Equity (Bequest, Mortgage, Contribution):$296,160
Private and Corporate Sponsors:$48,400
In Kind Contribution:$56,940
Total Budget: $637,500
Quick Facts: 

The EcoCentre established a home for MARS educational programs, and a source of revenue to support its wildlife rehabilitation program. 

Courtenay’s Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has provided wildlife rehabilitation and education to central and northern Vancouver Island since the mid-1990s. A necessary move to a new site created an opportunity to increase the scope of their educational offerings by developing a new visitor facility to attract educational tourism, families and other visitors interested in wildlife rehabilitation.  The North Island is already an established wildlife tourism destination attracting international visitors and the Black Creek area where the facility will be located already attracts families, creating a perfect market opportunity for a new wildlife education facility. 

Built on a 4.4-hectare site between Courtenay and Campbell River, the Society’s new Wildlife Eco Centre features West Coast modern architectural style, with a design that allows visitors to move at their own pace through the components. The different spaces and hands-on educational displays will provide visitors with an experience of moving through different environments: meadows, forests, ocean shores, and wetlands.  The visitor centre also features a small theatre screening nature movies, closed-circuit camera viewing of the activities in the wildlife hospital facility as well as the recovering wildlife in the aviary.  The site also features trails and a wetland area, with interpretive signage.

Completed in 2019, the Wildlife Eco Centre is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors and educational tourists per year, supporting an estimated six new permanent local jobs. The Eco Centre received almost 300 people and made $3500 through sales of merchandise, memberships and donations during the opening weekend, and has hired a half time manager and a part-time student to work in the centre. 

ICET By The Numbers

2,500
person years employment created (construction phase)

ICET By The Numbers

50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together

ICET By The Numbers

$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated

ICET By The Numbers

3,650
post completion jobs created

ICET By The Numbers

$4.6
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested

ICET By The Numbers

$236
million leveraged into the region

ICET By The Numbers

$50.5
million disbursed

ICET By The Numbers

$52.1
million committed

ICET By The Numbers

212
economic development projects

ICET By The Numbers

170
projects completed

ICET By The Numbers

36%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities

ICET By The Numbers

50+
communities with ICET projects

2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT

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