Under brilliant sunshine and bathed in warm ocean breezes Wednesday, September 8, 2010 will long be remembered by the staff of the Centre for Shellfish Research and Vancouver Island University as Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a surprise visit to the Deep Bay Field Station. A large motorcade of black SUV’s and limousines, imposing security detail and RCMP officers marked his arrival. Dr. Ralph Nilson VIU President and Vice Chancellor and Mike Brown, VIU Board Chair were on hand to greet the Prime Minister along with Don Tillapaugh and Brian Kingzett from the CSR and local MP Dr. James Lunney.
Dr. Nilson thanked the Prime Minister for taking the time to visit the Deep Bay Field Station which is a flagship project of VIU and demonstrates VIU’s leadership in supporting sustainable economic development of coastal communities along Vancouver Island and throughout coastal British Columbia. Prime Minister Harper was interested to learn the history of Vancouver Island University and its uniqueness as an educational institution that supports both trades and academic training. The recent construction of the 40 ft aluminum catamaran MV Chetlo by the VIU aluminum boat building program students using Canada Foundation for Innovation funding received for the Field Station highlighted this point for the Prime Minister.
Looking out onto beautiful Baynes Sound and the working waterfront of shellfish farming activity that can be viewed from all points in the Field Station, Brian Kingzett explained the importance of this area to the shellfish industry, the $20million in sustainable annual economic value and the associated jobs.
Throughout his conversations with the Prime Minister, Don Tillapaugh emphasized the importance of federal science and technology programs to the development of the CSR and the Deep Bay Field Station as well as all of the research activities conducted in support of the shellfish aquaculture industry such as our AIMAP sponsored raft program. (See list below). Tillapaugh went on to explain the strategic importance of the public education and engagement programming that will be undertaken at the Field Station. The Prime Minister was very interested in the culinary theme (beach to bistro) and marine science education.
Field Station project architect John Hemsworth discussed the sustainability aspects of the building including wood components and the ocean geothermal technology that will provide heating.
Prime Minister Harper took the time to meet and shake hands with both the VIU representatives at the event as well as the Field Station construction crew and insisted on group pictures to mark the event for everyone. The smiling faces shown in the accompanying pictures tell the real story of the day.
The Deep Bay Field Station is one of 200 research infrastructure projects funded as part of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program rolled out under the federal economic stimulus package in 2009. The Field Station is unique in Canada due to its rural nature, clam shell shape, intended LEED Platinum design and multipurpose function. .
Federal programs supporting the Centre for Shellfish Research and the Deep Bay Field Station
- Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP)
- Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
- Genome Canada (through Genome BC)
- Western Economic Diversification (WED)
- National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
- DFO Aquaculture Research and Development Program (DFO- ACRDP)
- DFO Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (DFO- AIMAP)
The motorcade – which got all the gossip going when they did a dry run the day before.
Giving an overview in front of the media
The PM was interested as is everyone else about our oyster shell driveway and showed it off to the media.
On the new temporary entrance ramp where everyone is actually getting a chuckle at the crew (next photo) skylined on the ridge before they came down and met the PM.
Simon, Carpenter for Heatherbrae meeting the PM who took time to talk to all the crew at the end after the media had left. We really appreciate the work that the great team did to get ready and their patience with all the interruptions that this visit caused.
Upstairs on our few days old new floor – note the plywood over air circulation vents which we had hurriedly covered up lest someone went through.
Note the very serious bodyguards.