May 26, 2008
ST. GEORGE (CNB) - Construction of a new $2.36-million provincial fish-health laboratory began today with an official sod-turning ceremony in St. George.
Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet; Larry Hammell, Atlantic Veterinary College; Michael Beattie, chief fish-health veterinarian for the province; and Mayor Stan Smith took part in the ceremony.
"This tremendous new facility will transform aquatic-animal-health science in our province," Doucet said. "The modern laboratory will meet national certification requirements in conducting regulatory and research fish-health testing, and it will support and promote the sustainable development and competitiveness of the aquaculture and fisheries industries in our region."
The new laboratory will provide the aquaculture industry with provincewide support to veterinary diagnostics; emergency response and follow-up with respect to reportable diseases; and proactive surveillance testing for potential pathogens in finfish and shellfish.
The province's contribution to the project is $1.82 million. The Atlantic Veterinary College is providing $535,571 as part of a Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant. With a modern laboratory and the increased research presence of the Atlantic Veterinary College, New Brunswick will be at the forefront of aquatic-animal-health science.
The new lab is being built next to the current departmental regional office on Mount Pleasant Road in St. George, and will be about 513 sq. metres (5,700 sq. ft.) in size. The construction contract has been awarded by the Department of Supply and Services to Castle Rock Construction Services of Saint John. Construction is underway, and is expected to be completed in late fall of 2008.
The province currently rents space in Blacks Harbour from the federal government to house the existing laboratory, at an annual cost of $61,000. Once the new laboratory is constructed and operational, this rental cost will no longer be incurred.
The province's capital construction program engages the design and construction industry in being a partner with government in building a stronger, more self-sufficient New Brunswick. The program, managed through Supply and Services, includes hundreds of construction projects each year, totalling millions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Judy Cole, communications officer, Department of Supply and Services, 506-457-7903; Alain Bryar, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444-4218.