CHARLOTTETOWN — The federal government unveiled plans on July 5 to build a $14.5-million climate change research centre in a rural corner of Prince Edward Island.
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay said the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation will be built in St. Peter’s Bay, which is in his riding.
The new centre will “set the standard” for climate change education across Canada and around the world, the minister said in an interview.
“We need research into climate change and this is the appropriate place to do it,” he said, adding that the project has been in the works for three years.
“This is a first of its kind…certainly in Canada. It’s dedicated specifically to climate change and the effect it has on our environment.”
He said the location for the centre — about 50 kilometres northeast of Charlottetown – is key because the ecosystem in the area is unique.
The project calls for construction of a 45,000-square-foot facility that will offer state-of-the-art equipment and a so-called living laboratory with access to nearby wetlands, forests and coastal habitats.
The centre will be affiliated with the University of Prince Edward Island, which already offers a bachelor of science in applied climate change and adaptation.
The federal and provincial governments are contributing $9.7 million, and the university is adding $4.8 million, though no details were provided about how many people will work and study there.
MacAulay said the centre’s research will drive innovation in green technology and help with Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, the university’s president, issued a statement saying the centre will become a destination for world-class research.
He said the centre will use a multi-disciplinary model that will provide students and faculty with opportunities to work with industry and government partners, forming a “cluster of discovery.”
The money will come from the federal government’s $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, which is being rolled out over 12 years. About $27 billion has been set aside for green infrastructure projects.