Ocean technology facility on Halifax harbour gets $4.5 million investment
Aly Thomson, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:29PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2017 7:44AM ADT
HALIFAX -- A facility officials say will transform a section of Halifax's waterfront and improve the region's prospects in the ocean technology industry has received a multimillion-dollar investment.
Irving Shipbuilding announced Thursday it would contribute $4.52 million to the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship, as part an obligation under the National Shipbuilding Strategy that requires the company to re-invest a portion of its contract revenues.
The five-year funding deal will be used to cover programs and operations at the 3.2-hectare site with a five-hectare water lot on the Dartmouth side of the harbour.
"On one side of the Halifax harbour, we have the most modern shipyard in North America," said Irving Shipbuilding president Kevin McCoy, speaking inside a former Canadian Coast Guard building that is being converted into a marine facility with two deep-water piers.
"Where we stand today will soon become one of the world's most innovative ocean technology incubators."
In September, Ottawa committed about $7 million and the province about $12.5 million towards the project, referred to by the acronym COVE, which will include about 1,500 square metres of office space, 930 square metres of incubation space and about 1,500 square metres of shop and lab spaces.
Jim Hanlon, chief executive of the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise, said the centre will foster ocean technology start-ups and help existing ones grow, serving as a centre for local and global ocean technology companies, post-secondary institutions and researchers.
Hanlon said Halifax is already well positioned to attract leaders in ocean technology to the city, and some already call the region home.
"Generally speaking, we have the largest brain trust around oceans in the country and probably one of the most significant in the world. We need to realize that together we are a very powerful force in the ocean," said Hanlon, noting federal facilities like the Bedford Institute of Oceanography already are centres for scientific research.
He said COVE will be shared with small, medium and large private sector businesses in a variety of fields, including ocean software, electronics and biotechnology.
Hanlon said when the facility opens next year, he expects it to be fully occupied.