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Ucluelet's new aquarium officially open

West Coast residents and visitors packed into Ucluelet’s new aquarium to experience the official launch of the new facility.

“I am proud that we have invested in this tremendous facility and am excited to see the benefits it will bring to our region,” says Nanaimo-Alberni MP Dr. James Lunney during one of several speeches made to a crowd of about 200 gathered outside the aquarium before the grand opening of its doors.

“Providing an opportunity for people to have a close-up encounter with life from the undersea and intertidal zones is a huge benefit to locals, visitors, and tourists alike.”

Nanaimo-Alberni MP Dr. James Lunney, left, joins Knuckles the Whale and Ucluelet Aquarium staffer Kane Edwards for a touch tank starfish experience. Over a dozen touch tanks offering a wide range of species await the hands of visitors at the new aquarium. The aquarium celebrated its official grand opening June 1.

Western Economic Diversification provided $624,000 in funding for the aquarium. Island Coastal Economic Trust chair Phil Kent also spoke at the event. The trust provided $515,000 toward the facility’s realization. Kent says the aquarium is an example of what the province had in mind when it created the trust.

“The opportunity for communities to develop visionary projects suiting their needs while allowing them the opportunity to be a part of the decision making process for the allocation of the trust’s funds.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place after the speeches had concluded and then the doors were opened to give aquarium visitors the full experience within.

A 300,000-gallon central tide pool exhibit takes centre stage and is surrounded by over 12 interactive touch tank exhibits. A live underwater feed of Ucluelet harbour presented through video microscopes provides a look at the diversity living in Ucluelet’s marine habitats.

“We wanted to create a place of that fosters sustainability, where people could explore the biodiversity of the West Coast in an interactive environment,” says president of the Ucluelet Aquarium Society Bill Morrison,

For full coverage of the aquarium’s opening and more photos, pick up a copy of the June 7 print edition of the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News.

Source: westerlynews.ca

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