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Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory ask for support as council considers closing the facility

Jan 30, 2020 07:57AM ● By Editor
A report to council is recommending the closure of the Thunder Bay Centennial Botanical Conservatory. Photo: Supplied

From CBC News · Thunder Bay - January 29, 2020 

A Thunder Bay volunteer group is calling on supporters of the city's botanical conservatory to show their support for the facility as council considers shutting it down.

A recent city program and service review, completed by consultants Grant Thornton, recommends the city close the conservatory permanently. The move, which is being considered by council as part of this year's ongoing budget process, would save the city an estimated $621,000 per year, the report states.

But Sharon Sidlar, chair of the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory, said the facility offers a lot of value to Thunder Bay, and its residents.

"The conservatory is Thunder Bay's only indoor park," Sidlar said. "The conservatory offers a space ... for vulnerable populations."

"For people who are low income, for young families, for people of all ages who may not be able to spend much time out of doors," she said. "The elderly, people with physical or mobility issues, people with mental health issues, as well."

Call for support

The Friends of the Conservatory are working to keep the facility open, and are asking other supporters to step up and help out.

"We're asking them to get in touch with the mayor, and city councillors, to make sure that they know this is a well-supported place," Sidlar said. "I think it means something when council know that there is support."

"How would they, as councillors, know, if they don't hear from people?"

The city's 2020 budget hasn't been finalized yet, and a final decision on the future of the conservatory has not been made.

To read the original article and see related reporting, follow this link to the CBC Thunder Bay website.
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