Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Government of Canada has announced the start of major construction at the Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre (ASEC) in Moncton, N.B.
The project will be completed in three phases, allowing the existing building to remain operational during construction. Site preparation work is currently underway as part of the first phase, with construction of the new science wing to the north of the existing building scheduled to begin in 2024.
The Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre is expected to become a hub of scientific collaboration, bringing together researchers from various fields and organizations under one roof. It aims to transform research on the vital and complex ecosystems of the Atlantic Ocean, which holds immense importance for the region. The research conducted at the center will play a crucial role in gaining a better understanding of the impact of climate change on this significant marine environment.
Dominic LeBlanc, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure, and Communities, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “I am thrilled to see construction get underway on this project. By bringing scientists from different fields and organizations all under one roof, the Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre will transform the way research is done on one of Atlantic Canada’s most important and complex ecosystems – the Atlantic Ocean.”
The final phase, commencing in 2027, will see scientists moving into the newly constructed science wing. Additionally, the project will include the redevelopment of the Gulf Fisheries Centre and the construction of the remainder of the facility, with careful consideration given to preserving the historical facade of the original building.
Helena Jaczek, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, emphasized the significance of the Laboratories Canada strategy, which aims to strengthen federal science infrastructure across the country. She remarked, “Today’s ceremony marks the first visible step towards building a state-of-the-art research facility in Atlantic Canada that will empower and enhance scientific communities by providing them with modern facilities and tools to conduct world-class research.”
Once fully occupied in 2031, the Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre will boast modern laboratory spaces and advanced technology tailored to scientists’ needs. It will accommodate over 700 employees from four federal organizations, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the National Research Council Canada. The Canadian Space Agency will also participate as a virtual partner in the ASEC initiative.
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, recognized the collaboration of local Indigenous businesses and communities, who will play a crucial role in the project’s successful outcome.