The Holyrood Marine Base got an infusion of cash from the province Wednesday.
Innovation Minister Keith Hutchings and local MHA Tom Hedderson presented funding of almost $280,000 to the centre on behalf of the government.
This most recent gift is the latest in a long line of investments by the province into the base, which is part of Memorial University’s Marine Institute (MI), said Hutchings.
“We as a government see our investments solidifying the Marine Institute reputation on a local and certainly a global stage. These investments also bring Memorial University a step closer to better commercializing local ocean technology research,” he said.
The money is coming from the province’s Oceans of Opportunity strategic funding program and will be used to build a temporary storage facility and floating dock at the base.
Robert Coombs, manager of the department of marine services with MI explained the reasoning behind the two projects.
Despite being open for less than two years, the base has outgrown itself, said Coombs.
“One of the things our clients have asked for on numerous occasions ... is space,” he said.
The need for these two investments, the building and the dock, has been an unexpected, although welcome, surprise, he added.
When the base was first envisioned it was planned in two phases. Wednesday’s announcement was sort of Phase 1 1/2.
“Phase 1 is the building we’re in now,” said Coombs, referring to the current base.
“Phase 2 will be the bigger breakwater and the large building. But this is an intermediate step that helps us help clients,” he said.
The storage building will be built next to the existing facility that’s used as parking space.
When it’s done it will be between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet, but will only be a temporary structure. Once construction of Phase 2 of the base starts, the storage building will be dismantled and reconstructed somewhere else.
The storage will allow client companies using the marine base to do research to safely store their gear, which can sometimes be quite large.
The second part of the project, the floating dock, will allow the companies easier access to the water. The base uses an old fishing dock that it refurbished, but it’s too high above the waterline to allow easy access to the bay.
The docks are already built and will soon be ready to go in the water, added Coombs.
“When we get them out, that will give (client companies) a working platform that is a lot more efficient,” he said.
When the base was opened in August 2010, the government said, “the base would become a gathering place that fosters collaboration among local, national and international researchers, scientists, in-structors and students in the oceans sectors.”
And it suggested the base will be a focal point for Memorial University’s Marine Institute for research and education activities in such areas as ocean technology, fisheries, diving, offshore safety, survival, oil spill response, oceanography and marine biology.