Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat given more time
COCHRANE -- The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat will remain open, for now.
Town council voted Tuesday night in favour of funding the facility for another year.
Only one councillor spoke against the resolution.
Following the vote, habitat staff expressed exclamations of relief.
After two recent public meetings demonstrated overwhelming support in favour of keeping the habitat open, council is giving the facility’s board of directors a chance to improve operations.
For 2020, the Town of Cochrane will include $400,000 in its budget to keep the doors open.
Denis Clement is the mayor of Cochrane.
"We’ll be negotiating an operating agreement with the board of directors, making it so that certainly the facility can stay open moving forward at a reduced cost to the taxpayer. What that cost will be, again, it just remains to be seen and that’s up for discussion," said Clement.
Renelle Belisle is a Polar Bear Habitat board member.
“I'm just elated. I have shivers. I am so happy that council decided to move forward as a team with the Canadian Polar Bear Habitat and it resonates for our community that we can work together. And this is our first step, creating an ad hoc committee, and working towards the viability of the Polar Bear Habitat, which is the bears and taking care of our bears," said Belisle.
The mayor says the committee will include four members from the town and four habitat board members. He says they’ll get to work right away looking for ways to reduce the burden to taxpayers, including reaching out to other levels of government.