Ocean investment: $8.5 million in federal-provincial funding for Marine Institute expansion at Holyrood

Apr 16th, 2019

By Moira Baird

An artist’s conception of the new building (right) at the Holyrood Marine Base. Photo submitted.
Ocean investment: $8.5 million in federal-provincial funding for Marine Institute expansion at Holyrood

The Fisheries and Marine Institute received a combined $8.5 million federal-provincial investment for the next phase of development at the Holyrood Marine Base.

The announcement was made in Holyrood on April 11 by Ken McDonald, member of Parliament for Avalon, on behalf of Nadveep Bains, minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and minister responsible for ACOA; Christopher Mitchelmore, minister, Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation; and Siobhan Coady, minister, Natural Resources.

President Gary Kachanoski hosted the event. Also participating in the announcement were Betty Parsley, MHA, Harbour Main; Gary Goobie, mayor, Town of Holyrood; and Glenn Blackwood, vice-president of Memorial University (Marine Institute).

The total project budget for new marine base infrastructure, equipment and technology is $23 million, with $5 million coming from the Government of Canada through ACOA and $3.5 million coming from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador through the departments of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and Natural Resources. The Marine Institute will be responsible for securing the remaining project costs.

Infrastructure and equipment

This next phase of the Holyrood Marine Base expansion project includes a new multi-purpose building to provide technical workspace, dry laboratories, classrooms and offices that will enable collaboration among researchers, students and ocean technology partners.

It also includes an adjacent subsea water lot to support research, development and testing of next-generation ocean technology and evaluation positioning systems for remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles.

As well, a portion of the provincial investment – the $1 million from the Natural Resource’s Innovation and Business Development Fund – will enable the Marine Institute to acquire two specialized underwater vehicles for the base. A research-class remotely operated vehicle and an autonomous survey vehicle will support innovation, new offshore business opportunities and the Marine Institute’s education programs in ocean technology.

Federal investment

Mr. Bains says the federal investment will contribute to ocean technologies and help to build an innovative, entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Our government is laying the foundation for Canadians to become more competitive and succeed in the global economy,” he said.

“This investment in the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University is building on our competitive advantages by developing opportunities for local businesses, enhancing oceans-based research and development, and building on the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems needed to boost economic growth and create good, middle class jobs for Canadians.”

Mr. McDonald says the funding will take the Holyrood Marine Base to the next level in the global oceans economy.

“Over the past few years, Holyrood has developed a strong base of expertise, amenities and research capacity to support growth and innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador’s oceans economy,” he said.

“This investment from the Government of Canada will help the Marine Institute to further advance its offerings to both local and international oceans industries, and position it to take full advantage of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and the growing global blue economy.”

Provincial investment

Mr. Mitchelmore says the facility’s importance to fostering collaboration and accelerating the growth of ocean technology.

“Marine Institute’s Holyrood Marine Base is an integral part of the innovation ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

“Our province has the largest ocean economy in Canada, therefore it is no surprise that the existing facilities at the Holyrood Marine Base have reached capacity and there is a demand from researchers and the private sector to expand. This new facility will continue to foster public-private collaborations in support of advanced education and research, while accelerating the growth of ocean technology firms through the provision of space and the latest technologies to test products.”

Ms. Coady says the importance of an expanded marine base to the province’s offshore petroleum industry.

“I am pleased to support this initiative as the project will support increased supply and service sector capabilities in our offshore,” she said. “This funding from the Innovation and Business Development Fund supports Advance 2030: A Plan for Growth in the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industry. It will also help the province train the workforce of tomorrow, needed for the growth of our industry.”

Ms. Parsley says the facility is important to the economic development of the Conception Bay area.

“The Holyrood Marine Base is a strategic asset which supports the plans of the Town of Holyrood to advance the Oceans Holyrood Initiative. Holyrood has established itself as a competitive location to conduct oceans-related research, education, training and business development. This significant investment builds on many previous commitments and recognizes the economic development opportunities in the District of Harbour Main.”

Collaborative hub

Mr. Blackwood thanked supporters of the expanded facility, particularly the Town of Holyrood, and welcomed the investment by the federal and provincial governments.

“This federal-provincial investment is critical to the realization of the Marine Institute’s vision of supporting the contribution of our students, researchers and technology partners in the global ocean economy. An expanded Holyrood facility will be a collaborative hub for testing and refining new ocean technologies in harsh environments and educating the next generation of researchers and business people.”

Established in 2010, the Holyrood Marine Base houses the Marine Institute’s Centre for Applied Ocean Technology, the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre and the Marine Services department, which operates training and research vessels.

The Marine Institute completed an earlier phase of construction in 2017 to rebuild and extend the existing marginal wharf, add a finger pier, create a breakwater and install evacuation systems for ocean safety and survival education, training and research.

Moira Baird is the public relations and communications officer with the Marine Institute. She can be reached at mc.baird@mi.mun.ca.