BoFEX wants your help: Digby marine centre to try crowdfunding

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Dean Kenley and Karen Mosher are hoping the community will donate to the Bay of Fundy Experience Centre, which could be built at the southern end of the Admiral’s Walk, where the visitor information centre now sits.

The Bay of Fundy Experience Centre (BoFEx) board is about to ask the local community for a very real show of support.

They are hoping people from the Digby area will donate $5, $10, $20 or whatever they can afford to support a centre proposed for the Digby waterfront.

Dean Kenley, chair of BoFEX says they will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo before the end of January. The first week or so of the campaign they will be focussing their efforts on attracting support in Digby, Digby County and south west Nova Scotia.

“The stronger our campaign is locally, the more attention we can generate, the better our campaign will do globally,” says Kenley.

The idea behind BoFEx is to build a world-class marine experience centre to highlight the Bay of Fundy—a feasibility study, released by the committee last March, put the price tag between $9 million and $16.7 million dollars, depending on final plans.

[Digby marine experience centre moving forward March, 2013]

Crowdfunding is a financing option that asks lots of people to make little contributions that add up to a big amount.

Indiegogo is a web-based international crowd-funding platform that enables fundraisers to get the word out and the money in. The fundraisers pay a fee equal to 9 per cent of the funds raised, which is reduced to 4 per cent if they reach their goal amount.

Kenley says after the first week or so of building momentum and buzz locally, they will launch the campaign globally.

“If we can raise $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 locally then people will take more notice,” said Kenley. “That would be a good start to our campaign.”

The Indiegogo campaign could last between 40 and 60 days and the BoFEx committee is hoping they can raise about $150,000 for the project.

Kenley says that money will help them take the next fundraising step – hiring professional fundraising consultants, preparing high-quality videos and other information packages to present to prospective sponsors and partners.

“If this works, if people get behind this, it will also show the province and the federal government how important this is for the community, and hopefully, for the country,” said Kenley. “People can’t just wait for the next guy or government to do this—we’ve got to do it for ourselves.”

Karen Mosher who sits on the BoFEX board believes the centre would be a big positive for the area.

“It’s going to put Digby on the map in an even bigger way,” she said. “It will attract a ton of people. The Bay of Fundy is ours and we need to do something with it before someone else does.”

The feasibility study recommended a 16,000 sq. foot facility on the waterfront near the Digby’s visitor information centre. The building could house visitor experience galleries, live animal displays and touch tanks. The displays would focus on four main themes: tidal landscape, tidal innovation, marine ecology and tidal living.

The centre would also include space for education, research and industry partnerships.

The committee is currently working on a webpage for BoFEx and they expect the page and the Indiegogo account to be ready to go sometime before the end of January.

They do have a Facebook group set up and Kenley hopes people will join and keep up-to-date on developments with the project, and of course, the fundraising campaign.

Organizations: BoFEx committee, BoFEX board

Geographic location: Digby County, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

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