Organizers optimistic Discovery Centre will go ahead in Summerside

The group behind a science and discovery centre for Summerside is optimistic construction will begin next year, even though it has yet to secure funding.

'Elections got in the way' of project's progress

'The project is moving forward, it's exciting,' says P.E.I. Discovery and Research Centre board member Cyril Moyse. (Summerside Discovery and Research Centre)

The group behind a science and discovery centre for Summerside is optimistic construction will begin sometime in 2020, even though it has yet to secure funding.  

The P.E.I. Discovery and Research Centre is a partnership among the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association, the Summerside Y Service Club and the City of Summerside, and has been in the planning stages since 2015.  

"It's important for P.E.I.," said Cyril Moyse, the president of the centre's board. 

Organizers have been meeting with federal and provincial governments, which wanted to see that the project had funds in place to ensure ongoing operations — which it does, Moyse said. 

"And then of course, two elections got in the way," he said. 

Meetings are once again underway, Moyse said. Board members recently met with the province to apply for infrastructure funding available through federal and provincial governments. 

"The project is moving forward, it's exciting," he said. "We're very positive about it." 

'From their textbooks into real life'

Moyse said the building itself will cost about $7.5 million, up from an estimated $6.5 million in mid-2018. He said they'd like governments to pay the entire capital cost, adding the centre will fundraise to make up any shortfall. 

The City of Summerside is providing this land on MacKenzie Drive on the waterfront for the centre. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"I'm hoping the application will go through smoothly and quickly so we can continue with our planning," he said. The board would like to see the centre open by the end of 2020. 

Local community groups have pledged to help with the centre's operating costs. 

The proposed location for the centre is on Mackenzie Drive near the Summerside boardwalk, on land donated by the city. 

Organizers said they like the site because there is water and natural areas nearby, where they are hoping hands-on research can happen. 

BBEMA said it's an opportunity for everyone to learn more about science and P.E.I.-specific research.

"It's going to offer an opportunity for groups to bring in and do research on-site, but also a great opportunity for classes to come in and see kind of how it's actually being applied from their textbooks into real life," said Chris Newell with BBEMA. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Laura Meader


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