Escarpment Centre Ontario

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will the construction of ECO cause any environmental damage?

All human activity has an effect on the environment. The ECO project is designed to have minimum impact. Much of the land for ECO is presently a cornfield and before that cattle grazed it for several decades. An inventory of all sensitive areas on the site was done with the help of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, Niagara Escarpment Commission, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Cliff Ecology Research Group from the University of Guelph. The location of the building, parking lot and the rest of the development complies with the Niagara Escarpment Plan in being 1000 feet or more back from the cliff edge.

The building was designed according to UNESCO's principals of sustainable architecture. Its construction will meet the requirements of a certified green building according to the LEED rating system of the US Green Building Council. More information about the environmental design of the building can be found on our website.

Land on the property not needed for ECO will be naturalized as part of an educational component of the project.

What is included in the $7.3 million cost of ECO?

The $7.3 million is the complete cost to get ECO up and running and the amount we are fundraising for is $6.8 million. The building and state of the art displays will cost just over $5 million. In addition there is $180,000 for opening marketing, $250,000 for an operating reserve, money to upgrade and make trails, landscaping, opening inventory for the gift shop, fees, 10% contingency and money to hire staff prior to opening. The development cost as prepared by the consultant is as follows:

Component   Cost
Building (17,000 sq.ft.), exhibits, FF&E   $4,319,000
Landscaping   200,431
Site Development   571,613
Site Services   242,880
Contingency   533,392
Sub Total Construction   $5,867,316
Furniture & Equipment   $ 150,000
Fees & Permits   429,000
Pre-Opening Expenses   363,825
Sub Total   $ 942,825
Total Cost   $6,810,141

The City of Owen Sound has committed $500,000 to the project. This amount will be used to help fund ECO's operating reserve of $250,000 and other related expenses. These figures are not included in the above table.Source: Grant Diemert, Architect, Apropos Planning, Northwood Associates Landscape Architects Ltd., Gamsby and Mannerow Limited

Why do you think ECO will attract over 100,000 visitors a year?

The Grey Bruce area already attracts over 2 million visitors each year. Research done by Georgian College Students showed that a large percentage of school groups would be taking in the experiences of ECO. Furthermore, the number of visitors will be comparable to other similar interpretive centres. Visitors that have a good experience when visiting ECO will tell their friends.

A study conducted by the Tourism Company of Toronto showed that a large number of these existing visitors would be interested in a facility such as ECO. The study also indicated that with the right marketing and a strong visitor experience at the centre, ECO would be able to attract new visitors from around Ontario and the bordering states.

Who is involved with the elements of ECO?

The City of Owen Sound and the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority have been the lead organizations on this project with the involvement and help of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Municipality of Meaford and the Township of Georgian Bluffs. Several subcommittees made up of various groups from the public have also been working hard on ECO.

Who controls ECO?

ECO is governed by an arms-length Board of Management of the City of Owen Sound. Its membership includes a representative of each from Owen Sound, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Meaford, Georgian Bluffs and 5 public members at large.

What do you anticipate the admission cost to be?

Admission to the centre will be $9.00 adult, $4.50 children (5-17 years). An annual family membership fee of $40.00 offers unlimited general admission for a family of 2 adults plus children living at home. $3.50 a person will be charged for special events. A senior's discount will also be offered. School programs will be $4.00 a student for a half day and $6.00 a student for a full day program.

How do I go about making a donation?

Anyone wishing to make a donation to making the dream of ECO become a reality, please feel free to make a donation on-line or mail a cheque payable to Escarpment Centre Ontario or ECO and send it to Escarpment Centre Ontario, c/o City of Owen Sound, 808 2nd Avenue East, Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 2H4. A tax receipt for the entire amount will be issued




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