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Marine Institute receives boost for SmartBay ocean observation project

By Darcy MacRae

The Marine Institute’s SmartBay project featured prominently in a major funding announcement by the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in March.

SmartBay, an award-winning oceans observation system in Placentia Bay, was the recipient of $5 million in combined funding support from the two levels of government, with the federal and provincial governments each contributing $2.5 million.

During the announcement, Peter MacKay, minister of national defense and regional minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, announced new investments in infrastructure projects that will increase the efficiency of the transportation system, contributing to long-term economic prosperity in the province.

The federal government will contribute up to $15.68 million to these projects, while the provincial government’s contribution will amount to $14.43 million. The total value of the projects is in excess of $43 million.

The investments include the installation of a category III instrument landing system at St. John’s International Airport. Funding will also make it possible to construct a new roll-on/roll-off ramp at the Port of Argentia; rehabilitate the runway at Gander International Airport; and expand the SmartBay project of the Marine Institute by installing additional buoys and sensors to enhance marine traffic management in Placentia Bay.

Glenn Blackwood, executive director of the Marine Institute, represented MI at the announcement, which took place at the St. John’s International Airport.

Federal support for these projects is from the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund, which is designed to support transportation and trade-related infrastructure at Canada’s strategic gateways and border crossings. Funding is conditional on meeting all applicable federal eligibility and approval requirements.