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

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 will feature West Coast modern architectural style, and the design will allow visitors to move at their own pace through the components. The different spaces and hands-on educational displays will provide the visitor with an experience of moving through different environments: meadows, forests, ocean shores, and wetlands.  The visitor centre will also feature 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 will also feature trails and a wetland area, with interpretive signage.

The project is currently underway. Once completed, 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.

2,500
person years employment created (construction phase)
50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together
$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated
2,600
post completion jobs created
$4.6
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested
$230
million leveraged into the region
$49.1
million disbursed
$50.9
million committed
185
economic development projects
150
projects completed
36%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities
50+
communities with ICET projects

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