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October 3, 2019


The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority has arranged for the demolition of the Wildlife Interpretive Centre to begin shortly after the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  The 5,700-square foot Centre came into operations in the mid-1970’s and for more than 40 years the building was the scene of hundreds of community activities and environmental education and awareness programs, exhibits and displays.  Thousands of school students and adults participated in the activities and the building drew thousands of visitors to the valley every year.

The Centre which no longer met public use standards was closed in the fall of 2017 and plans for a new Centre have been underway thanks to the efforts of the Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society, a charitable non-profit society.  The Society stepped-in to continue the educational programs and activities and, with funding provided by the Columbia Basin Trust, established a small building to serve as a visitors’ centre and facilitate small class activities until a new “Discovery Centre” is constructed.  The Wildlife Area continues to attract thousands of visitors and the educational programs and activities continue to serve and inspire people of all ages.

The Creston Valley Wildlife Area is an internationally recognized wetland under the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.   A pre-design study funded by the B.C. Rural Development Fund resulted in the Society choosing a site that is consistent with the principles established by the RAMSAR Secretariat’s Handbook on the Best Practices for Planning, Design and Operation of Wetland Education Centres (2014).  Once the demolition is complete, the Society will begin the complex work involved in moving the project forward.  Progress can be followed on the Discovery Centre website:  www.discovery-centre.ca

The Society intends to preserve and incorporate some of the exhibits and displays from the previous Centre into the Discovery Centre. 



April 26, 2018

Environmental Education and Awareness Programs to Continue at the CVWMA


CRESTON, BC – Environmental education and awareness programs will resume in the Creston Valley this spring under the oversight of a local, non-profit organization.  The Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society (KCDCS) is taking over the delivery of education programs which were previously operated by the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority (CVWMA) until October 2017.


KCDCS was established in 2015 to consider options for the continuation of environmental education programs in a new facility at the CVWMA.  Thanks to financial contributions from the Columbia Basin Trust, the CVWMA, the Province of B.C. and many others, the long established and popular educational programs and activities will continue into the future while KCDCS continues developing plans for a new, vibrant ecotourism “Discovery Centre” that will promote environmental and cultural awareness in the Kootenay-Columbia region.  “The CBT, the CVWMA and the Province have stepped forward with significant funding to help with transition costs and to run programs and events” says James Posynick, the Chair of KCDCS.  “Both public and private fundraising initiatives are ongoing” Posynick added. 


Engineering studies of the Wildlife Interpretation Centre found that its life-span was rapidly deteriorating and the cost of repair was prohibitive.  For the next few years, KCDCS will operate a temporary facility onsite in the Wildlife Interpretation Centre parking lot while the development of a new “Discovery Centre” is underway.  “KCDCS is very excited about our role in environmental education and in developing a modern facility that will showcase the wetlands, be a gateway to the Kootenay-Columbia’s natural resources and enhance economic opportunities throughout the region” Posynick says.


The temporary facility will house a small indoor display gallery, an interactive kids zone and information on trails and ongoing programs and events for the general public.  Naturalist staff will be onsite to deliver programming, host school groups and welcome the public when they visit the wetland. Amenities such as toilets, a small gift shop, and picnic tables will be available for visitors to use.  “Our confidence in the continuing success of programs is hugely bolstered by the retention of Carla Ahern as our Senior Manager.  Carla brings over 10 years of communications and educational program delivery experience with her from the CVWMA.  We could not be more pleased than to work with and learn from Carla as we move forward!” Posynick added.


To stay tuned into programs and KCDCS’ progress, generally, you can visit www.discovery-centre.ca.  the website is being updated and improved daily, so check back regularly for information.  Be on the look-out for membership campaigns and opportunities for how you can become involved!


For further inquiries, please contact:

James Posynick

Chair, Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society

(250) 402 6364



Carla Ahern

Senior Manager

Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society

(250) 402 6905





  • In June of 2012, after a provincial mandate review of the mandate and operation of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA), the Management Authority announced that financial support for the Wildlife Interpretation Centre and its programs would cease in order to focus more resources on habitat management.  The Centre was closed permanently in October of 2017.  The importance of having interpretive programs in Creston was widely recognized and therefore an Interpretive Centre Committee (ICC) was struck in 2012 that included representatives from the CVWMA, Columbia Basin Trust, Province of BC, local government and stakeholder groups.  As a result of ICC meetings and public open houses, the Kootenay Columbia Discovery Centre Society (KCDCS) was formed and tasked with investigating options to continue to deliver interpretive programming at the CVWMA. 
  • KCDCS’s mission is to promote environmental and cultural awareness in the Kootenay-Columbia region through the development and operation of a vibrant ecotourism Centre for education, conservation, science and research in the Creston Valley.
  • As part of the process of transferring assets and responsibilities from CVWMA to KCDCS for operation of the Wildlife Interpretation Centre, an engineer was brought in the survey the Centre in January of 2018 to assess its safety and potential program use by KCDCS.  The assessment identified a variety of serious issues that would require significant infrastructure investments to meet health and safety standards.  CVWMA determined that the building was not suitable for public use in its current state.   As a result of the closure of the Centre, KCDCS developed an alternate 5-year plan that will allow for the continued delivery of programming in a safe, functional and appealing temporary environment. 
  • KCDCS is proud to continue this high-quality programming into the future and is working closely with CVWMA, the Province of BC, regional and local government, schools, like-minded organizations and the business community to ensure educational programming at the CVWMA is successful for the next 5 years while plans for a new "Discovery Centre" are developed. 
  • The impact of potential closure and loss of environmentally education programming at the CVWMA would represent a serious educational, economic and cultural loss for the entire Kootenay region. 
  • In the last 4 years, the staff at the Wildlife Centre hosted 25,000 visitors and delivered environmental educational programming to 11,000 people. This includes: 7,500 school students, 288 Jr. Naturalists, 2,800 people on guided excursions (canoe & walking tours) and another 2,700 plus in other science & nature related programs & events.  Twenty plus volunteers participated each year in visitor services & conservation initiatives and staff worked with a variety of community groups to promote education and conservation in the Region.
  • School programs are strongly supported by Kootenay area districts 5, 6, 8, 10 and 20.  School program attendance has increased by 50% over the last 4 years.  The Jr Naturalist summer science camps attendance has increased by 41%. 
  • Educational programming at the CVWMA has been ongoing since 1974. 


March 24, 2018


Columbia Basin Trust provides $295,000 toward facilities and programming


(Columbia Basin) – Environmental education and awareness programs at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area are going to continue under new management. Since 1974, these programs were provided by the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority, but this ended with the permanent closure of the interpretive centre in October 2017. Now the programs will continue thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Authority and the Kootenay-Columbia Discovery Centre Society (KCDCS), with funding from Columbia Basin Trust.    


The informative and fun programs engaged with thousands of visitors each year, teaching them about wetland ecosystems and wildlife. Now, with $295,000 in support from the Trust over five years, this valuable service will continue to welcome students, residents and tourists of all ages.


“The community showed great support for these programs, and residents moved quickly to make sure they wouldn’t lose this educational, economic and cultural resource,” said Kindy Gosal Columbia Basin Trust, Director Special Initiatives. “We’re pleased to help this community act on such a widely held priority and give the society a sense of financial stability while it works toward its future.”


KCDCS will use $95,000 this year to cover transition costs; install a portable classroom, office and washrooms; and deliver a variety of programming for adults and children, such as canoe tours, family fun days and special events. For the subsequent four years, the Trust will provide $50,000 per year to continue to support the programs.


Jim Posynick is Chair of the KCDCS. “The Wetland Education and Awareness Program creates an understanding and appreciation for the natural world so participants can make informed decisions and actions related to the environment. It also gives volunteers, community members and other organizations opportunities to help promote wetland conservation, stewardship and research. Having a safe, functional and appealing temporary home and the funding to think long-term will provide us with the foundation we need while making plans for a permanent location.”


This project is one example of how the Trust helps communities and residents achieve their collective priorities and take action on issues and opportunities. Learn more at ourtrust.org/community.


Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.




Emily Gilmar

Columbia Basin Trust