Cochrane needs $700,000 to keep Polar Bear Habitat open
TIMMINS -- Residents in the town of Cochrane gathered Wednesday to learn more about the financial situation the Polar Bear Habitat is facing.
The town hosted two public information sessions Wednesday: one during the day and one at night.
Hundreds showed up to ask questions and to share their thoughts.
Town officials say as they prepare the 2020 budget, they need to come up with around $700,000 in new money to keep the facility open. That includes $400,000 for the centre and $300,000 to bring employees’ wages up to par with other unionized town employees.
Denis Clement is the mayor of Cochrane.
"We knew there was going to be a lot of support and we suspected there was going to be some backlash of ‘no, you’re not going to raise our taxes.' We haven’t heard that yet, but obviously there are the silent majority, as they say, and a lot of people don’t come out. Now, there’s still an avenue for those people to make their concern heard by sending a letter, sending an (email), dropping into town hall and letting us know," said Clement.
The mayor says he expects council to discuss possible options at the next council meeting on Tuesday and is aiming to make a final decision about the habitat’s future on Dec. 10.