Ground has been broken and construction is now underway on a new test tank and storage facility at our Marine Technology Centre (MTC).
Located in the municipality of North Saanich, between the Institute of Ocean Science and the airport, the MTC houses various ocean tech groups; Ocean Networks Canada occupies space at this site. Here, our engineering team and dedicated contractors can test, assemble and store instruments and equipment needed for our subsea network. As the years have progressed and we have expanded, we have outgrown our workspace at MTC. Storage was spilling over into the parking lot! We were definitely in need of an additional storage building. A new facility will allow us to expand and improve instrument testing.
That building is finally becoming a reality! Planning began early- to mid-2011 and has progressed quickly, with completion expected in just 18 weeks. In fact, foundation pouring for the Hawaiian blue and sand coloured prefab building could begin as early as next week if the weather cooperates! While this proceeds, other decisions are still being made as final tweaks are made to the plans. In addition to the building itself, we will also be adding a new outdoor storage compound to deal with any overflow or large equipment that cannot fit inside the building.
The new space is going to be shared with VENUS and the University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Research Vessel Operations and Ocean Technology Test Bed (OTTB). The Marine Technology Centre as a whole is being developed to support and nurture the growth of the ocean and marine sector regionally.
Although the ocean is close by, testing of instruments and platforms needs to be completed in a smaller, more easily accessed volume and for this we have been using a large dumpster filled with salt water. With our new facility, the dumpster is being replaced by a 5m x 5m, 3m deep tank and equipped with a chiller to keep the salt water within it cool. This tank will allow onsite testing of instrument platforms, nodes and most instruments. A small crane will be permanently installed next to our new tank permanently in order to lift and move smaller instruments. For very large instruments like nodes or POGO, our vertical profiler system, a larger crane will be brought in to lift these heavy, delicate and very expensive instruments.
Not only will this new test tank facility expand our current research & operational capabilities, but this infrastructure investment will help create the critical mass necessary for the Marine Technology Centre to become the regional hub for ocean and marine activity.
Although we will be very sad to say goodbye to our dumpster-tank, we’re really looking forward to our new testing tank and our new building!