Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association paid attention to the vote on the proposed event centre and understands that community buy-in is very important.
The association is waging an awareness campagin and collecting signatures for its proposed $50-million ocean discovery centre, a facility it hopes will also be considered by Nanaimo politicians as part of redevelopment at 1 Port Drive.
Tim Tessier, vice-president of the association, said the group has to know the community is behind the project for the energy being put into it.
So far, the board has collected 500 signatures in support of the ocean discovery centre, but aims for more than 10,000.
“We saw this with a number of facilities that have been developed in Nanaimo over the last number of years, the most recent one obviously the event centre … the number of people that voted, and as they voted, we recognized it’s very important the community buys in and says this is going to be the right thing,” said Tessier.
The ocean discovery centre is proposed as a world-class attraction which could have a dive-technology museum, a moving theatre similar to FlyOver Canada and a feature where people can experience using a remotely operated vehicle to explore Nanaimo’s artificial reef.
The association wants to focus on environment, ecology, education, how oceans are used and where we’re going, according to Tessier, who gave an example of a possible virtual dive where people would come up into a plastic dump in the Pacific Ocean.
“We have the opportunity to really take those small steps and understand when we put something on our soil in Nanaimo or anywhere on Vancouver Island, it being a rock, it’s going to end up in the ocean,” he said. “We see it if we go looking for it, but to actually go into an environment where you feel the sensation of what’s going on, it will be life-changing for many people.”
Nanaimo city staff are expected to present a summary to council this month about work on a master plan for 1 Port Dr., where the ocean discovery centre is proposed to go. Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association can start fundraising once it has a commitment around location.
For more information about the project, see https://ndda.ca/.