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/
First look at new university campus north of Brisbane
Builders have started hauling heavy machinery into Petrie, as construction commences on the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new campus.
When completed, the multi-storey building will boast a large lecture theatre, an auditorium and a number of teaching rooms.
It will accommodate 1200 students studying up to 50 courses including business, education and computer sciences.
“There’s some quite innovative spaces inside the building,” Greg Baumann, from building company Hansen Yuncken, said.
Construction at the site has officially begun. (9NEWS)
Positioned next to the Petrie train station, the new campus will slash travel times for thousands of students who live between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Hill said the lack of university locations north of the city has seen up to 1500 students travel from the Moreton Bay area to the Sunshine Coast campus every week day.
“Moreton Bay is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions, but has been the only region of its size in Australia without its own full-service university campus,” Professor Hill said.
“You have a better chance of finding a young person with a degree in outback Northern Territory, than you do in Caboolture.
“It’s an outstanding statistic, and we’re going to do something to fix it.”
An artist’s impression of the new campus. (Supplied)
The new campus has the full support of the Moreton Bay mayor, who described the development as “well overdue”.
“This is just fantastic for the future of the young people of the Moreton Bay region” Allan Sutherland said.
“There are a lot of families here that just never even envisaged that they would end up going to university. All that is about to change.”
The foundations should be finished by early next year, with the university expected to open its doors ahead of Semester 1 in 2020.
Queensland’s $46 Billion Infrastructure Boom
The Palaszczuk Government has released an update to its 2018 State Infrastructure Plan as it aims to roll-out a total of $45.8 billion worth of infrastructure over the next four years.
The second part of its State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) focuses on a range of infrastructure spending with its updated release, outlining the $11.6 billion of infrastructure investment to be rolled out in 2018-19, which aims to support up to 38,000 jobs.
Economic forecaster Deloitte Access Economics said that the outlook for engineering construction in Queensland is better than it has been for some time.
“Rather than wallowing in cash from a strong property market and asset privatisations as NSW and Victoria are, the Government is relying more heavily on raising new tax revenue and increasing debt to fund this infrastructure,” Deloitte’s quarterly Business Outlook report said.
Up to 65 per cent of the Queensland’s infrastructure budget is allocated outside of the greater Brisbane area, explained Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick.
“Programs like the Queensland Transport Roads and Investment Program 2018-19 to 2021-22 outlines $21.7 billion in transport and road infrastructure over the next four years, estimated to support an average of 19,200 direct jobs over the life of the program.
The $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, the biggest state funded infrastructure commitment in more than a decade, will be delivered in partnership with the private sector, explains Dick.
Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief executive Steve Abson said the infrastructure investment strategies update provides the private sector with confidence to invest in their Queensland operations.
With it now required to be “actioned collaboratively by all levels of government and the private sector”.
Seven new projects have been added to the Building Queensland (BQ) infrastructure pipeline, including upgrades to the centenary motorway and Sunshine Motorway, and a third track to be added to the Gold Coast rail line between Kuraby and Beenleigh.
BQ Infrastructure Pipeline Report which presents priority infrastructure proposals under development by the Queensland government, shows 18 proposals from the pipeline has received funding commitments from state government since June 2016.
These include upgrades to the M1 from Eight Mile Plains to Daisy Hill, and Varsity Lakes to Tugan, the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade, the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project and the New Performing Arts Venue.
A rise in interstate migration is seeing more people moving to Queensland, according to the Deloitte’s Business Outlook report, which says the sunshine state now has the third-fastest rate of population growth behind Victoria and the ACT.
The report said that Queensland is “well and truly” through the worst of its mining construction downturn as eye-watering house prices south of the border are sending more “economic refugees north to Queensland”.
Budget delivers more record road spending for the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay areas
The Palaszczuk Government will deliver $509.7 million in 2018-19 for the North Coast district as part of another record investment in road and transport infrastructure for the third year in a row.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the district was one of the many beneficiaries of the blockbuster roads budget being delivered under the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP).
“Funding for the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay area is part of the Queensland Government’s record spend on road and transport infrastructure across the state for the third year running, with an investment of about $21.7 billion over the next four years,” Mr Bailey said.
“This will include $2.917 billion of works planned just for this area alone, over the next four years, supporting an average of 2689 direct jobs.
“Continuing works on the Bruce Highway and other key links around the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay are the main focus.
“We’re also looking to get cars off the Bruce, and Sunshine Coast commuters will benefit from $160.8 million Queensland Government funding for the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade, which will support an average of 312 jobs per year over the life of the project, with design work getting underway in 18-19.
Mr Bailey said major projects for the North Coast district in 2018-19 included:
– Bruce Highway Upgrade Project, continue widening of the highway from four to six lanes between Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway and upgrading the interchanges for a total cost of $812.9 million (2018-19 $200 million)
– Bruce Highway, continue installing safety barriers along the highway between Beerburrum and Cooroy for a total cost of $79.8 million (2018-19 $42.5 million)
– Burpengary Caboolture Road (locally known as Morayfield Road) and Beerburrum Road Route Safety project, start work on safety treatments along these sections between the Bruce Highway and D’Aguilar Highway overpass for a total cost of $28.8 million (2018-19 $8 million)
– Continue upgrades to improve access to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for a total cost of $22 million (2018-19 $4.8 million) with works starting on a third package to improve capacity at Nicklin Way between Main Drive and Waterview Street and provide access from Production Avenue to Kawana Way
– Caboolture Connection Road Route Safety Strategy, continue safety improvements along various locations on Caboolture Connection Road between the Bruce Highway and D’Aguilar Highway for a total cost of $7.6 million (2018-19 $3.7 million)
“We are also providing $3.7 million in 2018-19 through the 50:50 Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) to support councils to develop the local transport infrastructure they need,” he said.
Mr Bailey said this budget showed the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing commitment to delivering key infrastructure and creating jobs for the people of Queensland.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s investment in roads, rail, marine, passenger transport and active transport infrastructure is estimated to support about 19,200 direct jobs, on average, over the life of the four-year program,” he said.
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