TIMMINS -- An important meeting was held in Cochrane on Sunday, where the board of directors for the Polar Bear Habitat offered some strategies on how to keep the facility open.

The Polar Bear Habitat’s board of directors has a long list of ideas they say will infuse new money into the facility to keep it open.

Board officials say they’ve been working on a strategic plan for the past two years and they want a chance to show their ideas will work.

"I would ask and hope that they would reflect on the information we provided today and come to the town meeting with a really clear understanding of where the habitat is, and where the habitat can be, and to have that discussion with mayor and council at the town meeting," said J.P. Bradette, chair of the Polar Bear Habitat board.

Ideas include:  rebranding it as the Canadian Polar Bear Habitat; fundraising and sponsorship opportunities, and repositioning it as a research and edu-tourism centre.

On top of the packed open house meeting, letters of support have come in from around the world.

But the town's mayor, Denis Clement, insists it’s time for supporters to put money where their mouths are.

"Find us a half a million dollars, so we can move on with our plan," said Clement.

Most of the people that attended Sunday's meeting are ardent supporters of the Polar Bear Habitat.

Some in attendance that spoke to CTV News said:

"I think it just has a lot of potential as a research facility, and I think the time needs to be taken in order to allow them to transition to what their long-term plan is, and wean off the town."

"I just think though it’s fairly new for the Canadian logo. We went from a local stage to a national stage, more so lately, and we need time for that traction. Hopefully that happens."

In an effort to keep the conversation going, the town is inviting anyone who’s interested in learning more about the habitat to visit the centre for free on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 

Another big question hanging in the air is: what would happen to the bears if the centre closes?

Officials tell CTV News that can’t be answered at this time and those who love the polar bears don’t even want to think about it.


TIMMINS -- People for the Polar Bear Habitat are gathering in the town of Cochrane to discuss solutions to make the Habitat financially sustainable.

The Board of Directors will share its direction for 2020 and other groups will express why the facility is important the them.

CTV's Lydia Chubak is attending the information session.

Stay tuned for the fully story tonight.