As Thunder Bay City Council continues toward ratification of the 2015 Budget, there have been two Councillors suggesting cutting the wildlife park at Chippewa Park.
That move has the volunteer group, The Friends of Chippewa Park, rallying the public to show their support for the continued operation and enhancement of the Chippewa Park Wildlife Exhibit through two separate petitions.
In a media statement, the group says, ‘The campaign has come about because two members of Thunder Bay City Council have stated that the Wildlife Exhibit should close and The Friends want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
According to Lorraine Lortie-Krawczuk, President of The Friends of Chippewa Park, the Wildlife Exhibit is an important part of the natural environment of Thunder Bay and area.
“The Wildlife Exhibit is the home to a broad range of animals representative of the natural environment of Northwestern Ontario” said Lortie-Krawczuk. “And at the same time the vast majority of the animals and birds have been born and raised in a zoo setting and the remainder have been ‘rescued’ at a very young age and would not be able to survive in the wild.”
Lortie-Krawczuk added, “Hundreds of school groups tour through the Wildlife Exhibit each June in order to expand their knowledge of the natural environment. There is nowhere else that they can go to see these animals close up without placing themselves at risk. To close the Wildlife Exhibit is to remove this educational opportunity from our children.”
The approximately $100,000 annual cost of operation of the exhibit is a worthwhile investment of public property tax dollars designed to ensure humane treatment of the animals and birds while at the same time affording residents the opportunity to view them in their natural habitat.
The Friends of Chippewa Park have launched an online petition on their web site (www.chippewapark.ca), face book page and via twitter. The Friends will also be collecting signatures at the Wildlife Exhibit this weekend as it is open for the Family Day Weekend (11:00 AM to 3:30 PM daily) as well as handing out hot chocolate and coffee to the park visitors.
The Friends will make a deputation to Thunder Bay City Council on Wednesday, February 18 during the post budget consultations to make their views known directly to the decision makers.