PEI

Planned discovery centre would 'reflect the Island'

A planned new discovery centre in downtown Charlottetown would both educate visitors in science and tell the story of Prince Edward Island, says the president of the Homburg Institute.

Centre looking to raise another $3M to $4M

The discovery centre will take over part of the food court, which is often quite empty. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A planned new discovery centre in downtown Charlottetown would both educate visitors in science and tell the story of Prince Edward Island, says the president of the Homburg Institute.

The institute announced on Tuesday the centre could open at the Confederation Court Mall as soon as next summer.

"We want to make it reflect the Island," said Phillip Homburg, president of the Homburg Institute.

"There's universal scientific principles but you can get at them through local examples."

Homburg said there will be 10 to 15 exhibits, some of them permanent, and some that will change regularly to encourage repeat visits.

Free rent

Dyne Holdings, the owner of the mall and a Homburg company, has offered free rent for 20 years to the centre.

That lack of capital costs will make a big difference to getting the centre going, said Homburg.

"We don't have the big capital investment. We're talking about designing exhibits and modifying an existing space. We're pretty confident we can have it up and ready [for next summer]," he said.

We were looking at what we could do to bring some life, and some more life into the downtown.— Phillip Homburg

The centre would go in the existing food court of the mall, said Homburg. The food court was built much larger than a typical one for a mall of that size, he said, and is not a good use of the space.

"It's often quite empty," he said.

"We were looking at what we could do to bring some life, and some more life into the downtown."

The institute is looking to raise another $3 million to $4 million to get the centre going. It hopes to raise about a third of that from private sources and the remainder from federal and provincial government sources.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Laura Chapin

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