By Mark Squibb | Vol. 32 No. 5 (April 17 2019)
There were no students on hand for the announcement of an $8.5 million expansion of Holyrood Marine Base — they were busy writing final exams— but they are the end target of the investment, which expands the footprint of Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute in the town.
The money is to be directed towards the construction of a new 36,000 square foot mobilization and launch base on the site, which will provide researchers and students with more space and new technology, including technical work spaces, laboratories, classrooms and office space.
Plenty of municipal, provincial, and federal leaders were on hand in Holyrood Thursday, April 11, for the announcement.
The federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), will be providing $5 million, while the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is contributing $2.5 million to the project. The provincial Department of Natural Resources will chip in $1 million to acquire a fully electric, research class, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and a survey grade autonomous survey vehicle.
Liberal MP for Avalon Ken McDonald noted there would be a focus on collaboration between researchers, business, and students.
“The Holyrood marine base will act as a conduit for technology development and commercialization,” he said.
The politicians estimated 100 to 125 jobs will be created for the construction phase, with an additional 10 to 12 permanent employees hired on afterwards.
That’s good news to the ears of Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie.
“The expansion of this facility and the beehive of activity that will occur here long into the future will be a perfect fit with the goals and objectives of the Oceans Holyrood Initiative, lead by our CAO, Gary Corbett, Director of Business Development & Marketing, Marjorie Gibbons and their team, whose mandate is to promote and foster ocean science, research and technology companies both locally, nationally and internationally to invest in our “Blue Economy” and set anchor in the Blue Ocean Innovation Valley,” said Goobie. “By continuing our well-established collaboration and positive relationship between the Oceans Holyrood Initiative and the Fisheries & Marine Institute, it’s a guaranteed win-win outcome for all of us.”
Based on estimated timelines to complete the design and the tender package, government anticipates construction will begin in the spring of 2020.
“As we always say at council, we just don’t want to survive – we want to thrive,” said Goobie. “This announcement today is sure to set us on that path of continued growth, prosperity and sustainability long into the future.”