The federal and provincial governments announced last Thursday that they are investing $9.75 million toward a state-of-the-art Centre for Environmental Innovation at Mount Allison. Additionally, the federal and provincial governments are each contributing $250,000 toward athletic resource improvements through the Strategic Investment Fund Program and the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and Canadian Coast Guard and Beauséjour MP Dominic LeBlanc announced the federal government’s $6.5-million contribution to the new facility. Likewise, Premier Brian Gallant presented the $3.25-million investment from the provincial government. Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Bernard LeBlanc and Mt. A President Robert Campbell also spoke at the announcement.
Mt. A is contributing $3.25 million to this project through the university’s general maintenance and renovations budget.
The federal government is “focused on creating world-class innovation and world-class research centres across the country, which will benefit the long-term economy of the country,” said Dominic LeBlanc.
Gallant presented the provincial government’s goals of “investing in infrastructure, investing in our people through education and training, and fostering innovation”.
“In 2015, the economy of New Brunswick grew by 1.9 per cent…it was the largest increase we had seen in years, and it was the fourth largest increase in the country,” said Gallant.
The funds will go toward renovating the long-vacant Gairdner building––which is where the new environmental centre will be––and the outdated Barclay facility. Barclay, home to the chemistry and biochemistry departments, will receive upgrades to its labs and infrastructure. Both facilities will be more energy-efficient after the renovations.
According to Campbell, the Centre for Environmental Innovation will conduct research that “will help us all understand and mitigate the effects of climate change” and “ensure the long-term sustainability of marine and freshwater industries.”
He added that “the real payoff of this public investment will be the increased opportunities that it will give to our students.” No details about specific layout and function of the centre have been released to students yet.
The construction of the Centre for Environmental Innovation has already begun with the clearing out of the Gairdner building. Projected timelines for the renovations estimate that the centre will be completed in the spring or summer of 2018.
The portion of the funding directed to athletic resources will go toward upgrades to the athletic field. This will include improvements to the scoreboard and bleachers. Mt. A is also contributing $250,000 to the field, which was obtained through fundraising events.
Talks about field upgrades began in spring of 2016. Mt. A wanted to complete the project quickly to be ready for the 2016 fall season. According to Dominic LeBlanc, this was an important upgrade not only for the campus, but also for “giving the Tantramar community the facilities and infrastructure that make Sackville such a wonderful place.”
The announcement of the athletic field upgrade comes as a surprise to many Mt. A students.