By Kristen Douglas
Campbell River Mirror
Published: January 22, 2013 2:00 PM
A local group trying to open a public aquarium downtown has selected a location for the facility.
Discovery Passage SeaLife Society has been meeting with city staff since November to work out the details of two potential sites at the Discovery Pier.
The options were to put the 16 x 48 foot facility either on top of the cement ramp to the left of the pier staircase (leaving just the right-side ramp), or in the grassy patch to the left of the ramp, which would leave it intact.
City staff said Friday that both parties have come to a decision as to where they would like to see the aquarium.
“The society’s and staff’s preferred location is immediately adjacent to the northern ramp, which is Crown land leased to the Campbell River Harbour Authority,” said David Morris, the city’s general manager of facilities and supply management, in a report to council.
“The footprint of the pier entrance, including the ramps and shelter, is on land licensed to the City of Campbell River from the Campbell River Harbour Authority.”
Morris added the location can easily be serviced with power, water, sewer and sea water.
The site for the aquarium was up for approval at last night’s city council meeting after the Mirror went to press.
The small building, which resembles a shed, was purchased by Discovery Passage SeaLife Society with a donation from the Noon Hour Rotary Club from Ucluelet, which bought a new aquarium last June.
The facility comes with all the pumps and equipment needed to run the aquarium but needs to be on waterfront property in order to pump salt water into the tanks.
Sandra Milligan, society director and an instructor at North Island College, said the aquarium will be designed to show off what Campbell River has to offer.
“It’s always great to showcase our assets,” Milligan said at a council presentation in November.
“We know Campbell River is an excellent scuba diving location and a public aquarium allows us to bring those assets up from the sea to the surface for everybody to enjoy,” she said.
Milligan said the society would also look into educational opportunities through partnerships with School District 72 and North Island College.