Cowichan Estuary Interpretive Nature Centre

Cowichan Community Land Trust

Sources of Funding
ICET:$87,500
West Coast Community Adjustment Program:$210,000
Rotary Club of Duncan:$20,000
Pacific Salmon Foundation:$5,000
Cowichan Land Trust Donations:$22,904
Other Grants:$8,500
In Kind Contributions:$11,048
Total Budget: $364,952
Quick Facts: 

The peak bird watching happens in the fall, winter, and spring - attracting visitors during the shower shoulder seasons. 

Located on the Cowichan Bay Waterfront just west of Hecate Park, the Cowichan Estuary is rich with marine and intertidal life. This region, like most of Vancouver Island, is actively pursuing economic diversification and focused on attracting niche tourism markets and high value opportunities. Community members, supported by the Cowichan Land Trust, had a vision to create a nature interpretive centre to help preserve the estuary and provide an opportunity for people to learn about the diversity of the rich coastal environment.  The Cowichan Land Trust also recognized the opportunity to leverage the region’s existing profile as a prime bird watching destination and the availability in  Cowichan Bay area of the high end accommodation and dining options to attract higher income birding tourism market. 

The Cowichan Estuary Interpretive Nature Centre is a beautiful post and beam structure located on the estuary in the heart of Cowichan Bay.  Indoor amenities include aquaria, touch tables, microscope stations and interactive displays.  An oceanfront interpretive trail was built and outdoor signage placed along the trail leading to a two level viewing platform with telescopes to watch wildlife and birds.

Completed in August 2012, tourists, school groups, and local families now have the opportunity to learn about the amazing diversity of intertidal systems and coastal environments. The development of the Cowichan Estuary Interpretive Nature Centre has helped position Cowichan Bay as a prime birdwatching destination.  The increase in this higher end market has created new employment and supported local retail shops, hospitality and eco-tourism businesses. As peak bird watching season is in the spring and fall/winter, the Centre is attracting significant tourist dollars into the community during the shoulder seasons when they are most needed, supporting a more sustainable economy and better investment opportunities.

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

2018-19 Annual Report

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