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Council has approved moving into the next step to revitalize the Centennial Botanical Conservatory (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

City approves next steps in conservatory upgrade

By Adam Riley May 8, 2023 | 11:52 PM

The Centennial Botanical Conservatory is now one step closer to getting a new lease on life following approval by Thunder Bay city council Monday evening to move into finalizing the design plans for Phase 2 of the project.

Parks and Open Spaces Manager Cory Halvorsen says this next phase will help tie the whole project together.

“Phase 2 is the renewal of the tropical house and wings, with all the walk paths inside. So it’s basically the main facility renewal that had to happen second after the greenhouse replacements.”

This part of the project has an estimated cost of $5.1 million, combined with Phase 1, which consisted of renovations and upgrades to the greenhouses, of $4.8 million.

The project also includes a proposed Net-Zero Upgrade of a geothermal ground source heat pump to cut down on the use of natural gas to heat the facility, however that element is set for closer analysis in the future.

Those greenhouses are what the city uses to populate its flower beds and gardens located throughout Thunder Bay.

For at least a decade, according to Halvorsen, the facility has been operated at a baseline to keep part of the conservatory open to guests and to keep the greenhouses operating.

But Halvorsen says once completed the facility will look like new.

“We’re renovating all around, we’re redoing all the glazing, redoing all the pathways, all the entrances, and the grounds. So it will look completely renewed.”

With the completion of the project it will allow the city to properly market and promote the conservatory to interested parties for various uses.

The plan is to put the project to tender later this year with construction to start in spring or summer of 2024.




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