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Sidney’s Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea asks for public input in charting future

Public can submit feedback on its draft strategic plan until Aug. 15
Sidney’s Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is asking for public input on the draft of its new strategic plan. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney is asking for the public to weigh in on the draft of its new strategic plan.

The survey available on the centre’s website is open until Aug. 15 with results shaping the direction of the centre over the next 10 years.

The centre opened in 2009 and the draft strategic plan represents what it calls the “rejuvenation” of its key directions as well as goals for the next decade.

“When the plan is completed, it will serve as a touchstone or ‘north star’ to guide financial and operational planning,” it reads.

The draft itself builds on earlier feedback received from some 330 individuals responding to a 2020 survey focused on emerging strategic goals.

The draft identifies four broad goals: to become an acknowledged education leader; a highly reputable, leading community aquarium; expand outreach and engagement; and become a strong and sustainable organization.

RELATED: Shaw Centre for Salish in Sidney ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the future

According to the proposed vision statement, the centre sees itself as a “place of connection and discovery that inspires personal action to protect our Salish Sea bioregion” with a mission to “create vibrant experiences that inspire learning, exploration, and protection of our unique Salish Sea bioregion.”

The centre’s search for a long-term direction comes against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the centre to close for several months in 2020, leading to lower visitor numbers and trimmed expenses.

The public heard earlier this month from Coun. Scott Garnett that the centre achieved net earnings of about $128,000 as of April 30, 2021, while forecasting a year-end net surplus of just under $74,000 under its continuity plan. Given the circumstances, the centre is doing quite well considering the circumstances, said Garnett.

“Most of this revenue was earned during the first three months of the year, which is their important time,” he said. “However, it is worth noting that both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Town of Sidney were also critically important in helping them reach this position. And as the financial position improves, the wage subsidy lessens.”

Compared to 2019, current revenue from admissions sits at 56 per cent and retail sales at 55 per cent. But membership sales stood at 93 per cent and the centre has been able to attract new visitors through a Groupon program that is getting strong reviews. The centre has also expanded its retail offerings, he added.

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