A group of volunteers were in Nanaimo council chambers last week in an effort to rubber-stamp the city’s support for a state-of-the-art deep-sea educational and entertainment facility.
The proposed Ocean Discovery Centre on Vancouver Island is intended to connect visitors with the evolution of deep-sea exploration and technology in British Columbia.
Interactive, immersive exhibits will also tell the story of the First Nations’ relationship with the oceans.
The Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association first mooted the idea in 2014. Since then, the group has received what it calls ‘generous in-kind support’ from the local business community.
If Nanaimo’s city council gives the green light, the group will move ahead with the next phase of its development strategy.
“For me, it’s really important that this becomes iconic,” association president, Lorne Hildebrand, told Times Colonist. “I want this to do what the planetarium did [for] Vancouver back when they first built it, or when Science World was put in.
“It would be all about the environment, it would be about ocean technology, it would be about having this amazing resource right outside of our front door.
“What we want is a combination of a museum, an attraction, interactive displays and an educational centre.”
Current plans for the Ocean Discovery Centre include a glass central atrium, an auditorium and an undersea area. There are a number of immersive experiences being considered including an interactive virtual tour of the Marianas Trench, a virtual submarine ride and a virtual deep sea dive.
At this stage, there are no accurate costs available but the association says they are likely to be somewhere in the region of $30m – $40m.