Dartmouth waterfront land earmarked for ocean innovation centre

April 1, 2015

In a positive development for the ocean-related industry in Nova Scotia, news recently broke that a stretch of land on the Dartmouth waterfront will soon be turned into an ocean innovation centre.

According to a release posted on its website, provincial crown corporation Waterfront Development was recently given the go-ahead from the Nova Scotia government to purchase the 9.5-acre site at 27 Parker Street from the federal government. The $6.5 million plot used to belong to the Canadian Coast Guard before the organization moved to its current base of operations at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Today, the land at 27 Parker Street is home to several buildings, two 100-metre piers and more than 850 metres of wharf, all of which make it the perfect site for ocean technology researchers and private-sector marine businesses to set up shop.

"Acquiring the land is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, preserving a key site that will create new markets and opportunities for people in Nova Scotia's marine and ocean-related sectors," said Michel Samson, minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, in a statement.

Ocean science and technology a core part of Nova Scotian economy

Samson went on to describe the ocean as the province's "competitive advantage." Indeed, the ocean science and technology industry in Nova Scotia is a force to be reckoned with that runs the gamut from scientific research to aquaculture to shipbuilding.

Within the past few months alone, the province has secured several major wins within the marine and oceaneering sectors. For instance, in January, Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding finalized a $3.5 billion contract with the federal government to deliver at least five Arctic offshore patrol ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, with the first vessel expected to be delivered in 2018, CBC News reported. The previous month, Cooke Aquaculture announced plans to construct a fish processing plant in Shelburne and a hatchery in Digby, as well as expand an existing feed production plant in Truro, according to The Chronicle Herald. In terms of marine research, a March announcement revealed that the Bedford Institute of Oceanography – the largest centre of its kind in the country – will be receiving $3.5 million in federal funding from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Natural Resources, Global News Canada reported.

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The ocean offers many practical applications for industry in Nova Scotia.

Innovation centre will take oceaneering to new heights

"Nova Scotia is home to some of the world's best ocean technology companies," noted Jim Hanlon, CEO of the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise. "Providing this new facility as a space for collaboration and waterfront testing will allow those companies to more effectively innovate and compete globally. Having this as shared space brings even more value to industry and to the students who will create the next generation of ocean industries."

According to the Waterfront Development website, the corporation's goal is to "foster the creation of waterfronts that drive economic opportunity, enhance tourism, provide experiences and reflect and protect our marine heritage." The centre will also be adhering to the goals laid out by the oneNS Coalition, which is working to cultivate business startups, bolster exports from growth-oriented enterprises and facilitate research and development partnerships.

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