The Manitoba government has committed more than $8.5 million to help fund conservancy and educational activities at FortWhyte Alive in Winnipeg.
Premier Brian Pallister announced the funding, which includes $4.5 million for the FortWhyte Forever Capital Campaign, Thursday.
“For three decades, FortWhyte Alive has been a leader in nature education and advancing conservation, helping generations of Manitobans and visitors understand the value of a healthy natural environment,” said Pallister in a government release.
“Programs that deliver environmental education are important for the future of our province and planet, and our government is proud to support FortWhyte Alive and the tremendous work it does to help teach and support our leaders of tomorrow.”
The province says the capital campaign contribution will help pay for a “deep energy retrofit” of the interpretive centre exterior and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in interior spaces and exhibits.
A new Buffalo Crossing multi-purpose public facility will also be built, and will include educational and recreational elements with the funding, which is being made available through a partnership with the federal government, which is also investing $4.7 million into the project.
Pallister said work has started on the interpretive centre and construction on the Buffalo Crossing is expected to start early next year with a targeted completion date of 2022.
The province has also given $4 million to the FortWhyte Forever Endowment Fund held by The Winnipeg Foundation, which the government says will create roughly $200,000 in revenue to “consolidate and replace” annual funding previously provided by several provincial grants.
Last month the province gave FortWhyte $75,000 to help the centre create an interpretive plan.
“Now more than ever, we see how important time spent in nature is as it restores us, builds resilience and gives us a sense of hope,” said Liz Wilson, president and CEO of FortWhyte Alive in the release.
“This forward-thinking investment by the Province of Manitoba provides stability to FortWhyte Alive and ensures hands-on environmental education, grounded in climate change science, will be accessible for generations of Manitobans.”