The provincial and federal governments announced an investment of more than $1 million in projects for Memorial University’s Bonne Bay Marine Station and Grenfell Campus May 13.
The announcement was made by Premier Dwight Ball and Amarjeet Sohi, minister, Infrastructure and Communities, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Gudie Hutchings, member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, also participated in the announcement.
The investments will support efforts to enhance programming at Memorial University’s Bonne Bay Marine Station and the establishment of a collaborative partnership between Grenfell Campus and the artistic, environmental and tourism clusters in the Gros Morne National Park region.
The goal of these initiatives is to bolster the region’s diversity and capacity, stimulate tourism and business growth, and foster vibrant communities for the benefit of residents, visitors, students and businesses in the area.
Memorial University received a non-repayable investment of $498,892 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and $400,000 from Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation (TCII) to improve infrastructure at the Bonne Bay Marine Station to support program enhancement and diversification.
Grenfell Campus also received a non-repayable investment of $84,160 from ACOA and $85,050 from TCII to engage a consultant to establish and develop a Gros Morne-Grenfell Campus Innovation and Sustainability Cluster to formalize a collaborative relationship between the campus and the Gros Morne National Park (GMNP) region.
The BBMS project includes renovations to the existing building to enhance the public aquarium and lecture theatre space for the performing arts, experiential tourism, research and teaching; construction of a new 900-square-foot building adjacent to the existing building to house a gallery/studio/creative space; and acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment to diversify science-based ecotourism offerings in collaboration with local tourism operators and other community partners.
Dr. Duncan McIlroy, interim director, Bonne Bay Marine Station says the funding will enable the Bonne Bay Marine Station to increase its capacity, both as a multidisciplinary scientific and teaching resource, and to expand its usership to better support initiatives in the greater Bonne Bay region to showcase and enhance its reputation as a hub for the arts.
“The retrofit of the public aquarium will involve the creation of new aquaria, which will be designed to better demonstrate the ecology of Bonne Bay and the research projects in the region, and modernize the displays to improve the visitor experience,” said Dr. McIlroy.
“Our partners on the Norris Point waterfront, Gros Morne Adventurers and BonTours, as well as local schools, will benefit from the improved joint programming, such as our boat-based tours, which have traditionally been focused on plankton, augmented by the acquisition of a submersible remotely operated vehicle and underwater cameras through the Oceans Learning Partnership.”
The other main component of the BBMS support will involve the building of a creative space/gallery that will be made available to artists, in collaboration with Creative Gros Morne. This will help build capacity to host artists-in-residence.
The station already collaborates extensively with partners at Creative Gros Morne and the Gros Morne Cooperating Association, being a venue for a playwrights workshop, a dancers-in-residence program and a student artists-in-residence program supported by Grenfell Campus.
Dr. Ivan Emke, vice president (Grenfell Campus) pro tempore, represented President Kachanoski at the event and spoke to the impact the investment will have on the region and Grenfell Campus.
“I am grateful to ACOA and the province for their investments in our campus and our burgeoning relationship with this magnificent national park and the folks working here in artistic, environmental and tourism circles,” he said.
“The investment will support our work in ensuring Grenfell Campus and the Gros Morne region are sustainable and continue to flourish in the arts, in environmental sectors and in the tourism industry.”