I read that the CCF Visitor Centre recently burned down. Can you tell us about any plans to rebuild?
It was definitely a sad occurrence in the history of CCF. Thankfully, our staff reacted instantly and a lot of material was saved; most importantly though, I can report that there was no injury to our staff or to any of our animals.
We are now able to look at the fire as an opportunity rather than solely a tragedy. We have an approved plan to rebuild, and that plan is one that will see all current functions replaced plus will include a significant upgrade in our life sciences and genetics lab. This will give the public a much better view into our intensive scientific research.
Much has already been completed: Public toilets have been replaced as a standalone unit; the Reception and Gift Shop areas have been moved into a wing of the Education Centre; the space where the CCF Visitor Centre once stood has completely been cleared; and an office has been renovated into a Café/Kitchen which is functioning quite well in offering food service for our guests.
We are awaiting bids for the major part of the renovations, and anticipate the cost to rebuild will come in $300,000 Cdn, perhaps a little bit higher. While this is more than the insurance pay-out will be, we believe the incremental cost will be manageable. We look forward to picking a contractor soon, and hope to be operational for our busy season starting in June.
*Please note that we have edited Laurie’s and Bruce’s answers slightly for presentation here.