The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC) got a financial boost last week, to build a one thousand-square foot building out at the Rm of Thompson dig site. The 1000-square-foot building is designed for half of the building to be for storage of dig equipment and tools, and the other half for a reception area to welcome guests working or touring the dig sites for the day.  This area will include a small kitchen to provide lunch for the guests that are there for the full day or week. 

CFDC Executive Director Adolfo Cuetara explained where the funding is coming from. 

"The whole project is 320,000 dollars. 80% of this amount is $263,000 coming from PrairieCan, the former Western Economic Development in Canada. They're putting in this 80% and the other 10% is being paid by the Province of Manitoba, through the Tourism Innovation and Recovery Fund and the Manitoba 150 grant." 

CFDC had received the Manitoba 150 Grant during the Pandemic and, due to restrictions closing its doors for a good portion of the time, the money went unspent.  Cuetara said permission was received to allocate those funds towards the dig site-building.    

Part of the remaining portion will come from Morden/Winkler Coop, donating $4000 for gas to and from the project. 

Cuetara said the money will go further than the building. 

"We are also purchasing a brand-new excavator. It's going to be a machine with a front loader and backhoe to help in the excavations because we need to prospect and to dig some areas to reach the good layer of sediments where we are finding the fossils. This covers all the needs to start the dig tours in a very attractive and professional way, starting next year in 2023." 

After operating for several years in the basement of the Access Event Centre, Cuetara said the Morden City Council approved a space on the South end of the Access Event Centre for the CFDC to use to build a 20, 000 square foot, two-story building of their own, with the building to begin in two years.  

Cuetara added they have already begun to work with engineers to make plans for funders and sponsors, noting the plans for the structure of the building will be simple and energy-efficient, as the contents will be the main focus of the attraction.  

"We want to make a very special museum here; it isn't going to be a standard museum. It's going to be a very different museum, probably like no other in Canada. We are working with a very interesting technology in mapping and movement sensors to have interactive activities there. Our willingness is to attract not only people with a taste for fossils and paleontology. Anyone will be able to enjoy the experiences that we will have in these new facilities." 

Cuetara estimated the project could cost 15-20 million dollars, but with rising supply and fuel costs it is difficult to plan that far into the future.   

In the meantime, as the result of a new decision made to waive admission fees for student field trips, June has been busy touring classrooms from around the province.