Construction is nearing completion at a massive land-based shellfish hatchery and research facility near Saltery Bay on the Sunshine Coast.
The 34,000-square-metre facility is the first phase of a planned $40-million build-out south of Powell River that is expected to create 30 to 50 local jobs. The company Hummingbird Cove Lifestyles is a subsidiary of Linghai Shenziting Sea Cucumber Hatchery in China’s Liaoning province.
Although construction was delayed by several months due to a lengthy government licensing process and an ongoing legal conflict with a local building contractor, the facility is set to open in February, according to Dan Dyble, a business consultant and spokesman for the firm’s owners.
“Without the approvals in place, we had to slow down construction, but we are quite close to completion now,” said Dyble. “It took longer than expected, but we are moving forward nicely.”
Hummingbird Cove is licensed to produce 23 species of seafood, including urchins, geoduck, sea cucumbers, scallops, oysters, clams and mussels, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
The firm intends to harvest wild scallops to use as brood stock to produce scallop spat (larvae) for their own use and for sale to other local aquaculture operations.
“There is a huge hole in the local spat market,” said Dyble. “Why are (local) growers bringing in spat from New Zealand?”
Owners Xi Ping Ding and Zhiyi Chen plan to add a second facility to grow and export mature shellfish by September, 2020. Once the second phase of investment is completed, Hummingbird Cove will be among the largest shellfish hatchery and farming operations in North America, when operating at full capacity, according to the company website.
Ding and Chen have opened an office under the name Pacific Aquaculture International in Powell River to manage the company’s international interests, but the firm has been flagged as “not in good standing” after failing to file a mandatory annual report according to B.C. Registry Services.
Fresh sea water drawn in to the facility and returned to the ocean is not degraded or altered, the owners say.
The facility’s DFO permits allow installation of two new intake pipes and allows the hatchery effluent to be discharged into Jervis Inlet, subject to review and approval of the utility tenure by the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“DFO recommended mitigation measures during construction of the intake pipes, including an on-site qualified environmental monitor to supervise the intake pipe site preparation and installation, to assess for any species of concern, and to apply mitigation measures to ensure the protection of fish,” the department said in an email. “The proponent has agreed to these measures.”
Pacific Aquaculture has no plans to raise finfish on the site and has consulted with affected First Nations from the project’s inception.
“We were initially worried about waste going into the ocean, but that will be filtered,” said Clint Williams, elected chief of the Tla’amin First Nation. “We have concerns about net-pen (salmon) farms, but this is a dry-land facility and we are eager to see that it is as green as they say it is.”
Members of the Tla’amin community worked on the construction of the hatchery over the past two summers and Williams is optimistic that the second phase of the project will result in permanent jobs for his people.
Hummingbird has faced a number of legal hitches during the construction process, one of which is yet to be resolved.
According to documents filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, a $3-million lawsuit filed against Ding and Chen by Richmond businessman Morris Chen for unpaid loans was resolved November 30. A $118,289 builder’s lien filed by Dick’s Lumber for building materials was resolved July 26.
However, another suit was filed earlier this year by contractor Creative Property Developments, the firm brought in to assembled prefabricated buildings on the site. Work stopped after a conflict arose about the suitability of the foundations, according to documents filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Creative is seeking $157,000 for work completed, extra work requested by the defendants and loss of profits.
Hummingbird filed a counter claim against Creative in the amount of $464,000 for failing to complete the work as agreed.
Work resumed on the site after a third party engineer verified the suitability of the foundations, according to Dyble.
“I’ve never worked on a large construction project that doesn’t have setbacks,” he said. “When you look at the magnitude of what we are trying to do compared with what already existed before in Canada, that’s normal.”
Originally Published: http://vancouversun.com/
Council commits to new Coast convention centre
MONEY from the sale of Sunshine Coast Council land will be reserved to help bring a convention and exhibition centre to the new Maroochydore CBD.
A new facility is expected to cost about $200 million and the council commitment is intended to encourage state and federal contributions.
The commitment was made in a confidential session of the most recent council meeting after a motion moved by Cr Jason O’Pray was successful with seven votes for and three against.
Mayor Mark Jamieson, Cr Tim Dwyer and Cr Peter Cox opposed the motion.
Cr O’Pray could not release details of the yet-to-be-sold property or how much money would be raised but said he thought making the financial commitment, on top of providing the land, was a positive step in achieving a suitable facility.
He said he took advice from council officers in making the plan.
“I had tossed and turned about this for quite some time when I knew we were selling land in Maroochydore,” Cr O’Pray said.
“My main reasoning for quarantining this money was because I’m absolutely certain we will need state and federal backing on this.
“It is really important to me to see the CBD has its own convention centre.”
He said securing a private backer would be “even better” than relying on government funding for the project.
“Council can clearly not afford that (cost) on its own.”
Cr Jamieson was contacted for comment but declined to publicly detail his reasons for opposing the motion, with a council spokesman saying the mayor did not disclose matters discussed in confidential session.
The spokesman said the council would contribute to a convention and exhibition facility by providing the land on which it was developed and in all likelihood, having to cover the ongoing annual maintenance and other costs.
“The ratepayers of many other regions across Queensland have not been required to contribute towards the cost of developing their convention and exhibition centres,” the spokesman said.
“The cost to construct such facilities in many of these locations has been borne by the State Government.”
He said a new functional brief and specifications for a new convention and exhibition centre had been completed.
Consulting firm PG International was engaged by the council in March last year to complete the work.
“The functional brief and specifications will inform the development of a business case and preliminary design, which will be done if and when, funding becomes available.”
A Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning spokesman said the department didn’t currently have any funding allocated for a convention and exhibition centre on the Coast.
However, he said the minister for the department and the former director-general wrote to all local governments on March 12 inviting submissions for the Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program.
He said the grant program was available to all local governments through a competitive process to undertake strategic planning for infrastructure and develop business cases and detailed design.
Submissions close on April 9.
“Sunshine Coast Council could make a submission for potential assistance in developing its business case for this project,” the spokesman said.
Fast rail a boon for future generations
Sunshine Coast Business Council chairwoman Sandy Zubrinich said the North Coast Connect project, which looks to draw on rail duplication and the CAMCOS corridor, would cater to the bulk of current and future Coast populations.
She said about 65 per cent of the current population of about 170,000 people lived within proximity of the CAMCOS corridor and 85 per cent of the future Coast popualtion growth is to the region’s south, in proximity to the rail corridor.
“Locals will benefit significantly from the increased connectivity,” she said.
The North Coast Connect project has received Federal Government backing by way of a share in $20 million for a business case to be developed.
It was one of just three projects nationally to secure the funding and the Palaszczuk Government has also committed $5 million towards the business case.
Supported by Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa councils, the project is seen by Ms Zubrinich as one perfect for bi-partisan collaboration.
“It is certainly a project that the three tiers of government and the community can get behind and support,” she said.
The business case will be delivered by a consortium of KPMG, Urbis, Stockland and Smec and is expected to take 12-18 months to put together.
The vision is to slash travel times from the Coast to Brisbane down to 45 minutes.
Originally Published: www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au
Sunshine Coast Gets $225m Airport Runway in Tourism Boost
Construction and engineering group John Holland has been awarded the $225 million contract to deliver a new and enlarged runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport. The runway is due for completion by Christmas 2020.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Jamieson said that with increased air capacity will come the demand for new hotel accommodation as well as the refurbishment of existing stock.
“The new runway will accommodate larger, more fuel-efficient aircraft and open up direct access for the Sunshine Coast to more Australian cities, international markets in Asia and the Western Pacific and in turn, drive significant economic growth.”
The new runway is part of the Airport Expansion Project, and when complete is expected to contribute $4.1 billion to the Sunshine Coast’s economy over the period to 2040 – generating around 2,230 jobs and boosting tourism as well as providing new direct access to the region and access new markets for food and agribusiness sectors.
The expansion is part of a $372 million privatisation deal with Palisade Investment Partners. Palisade took control of Sunshine Coast Airport last year under a 99-year lease with Sunshine Coast Council.
The long-term lease sees Palisade responsible for operating, investing in, and developing the airport, as well as overseeing future expansion of both domestic and international routes available to and from the Sunshine Coast.
Current estimates for the whole project sit at $303 million, including design, environmental offsets and works undertaken to date.
The Australian Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation have helped to bankroll the expansion project, providing around $181 million in concessional loans which will be repaid from the proceeds that council receives from its commercial partner, Palisade Investment Partners, in 2022.
John Holland Group will take possession of the project site over the next couple of weeks to start preparing the site for the dredging works to commence mid-year.
The project is on track for completion by Christmas 2020.
Originally Published: theurbandeveloper.com
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