COVE

Irving invests $4.52 million in Dartmouth marine research centre

The largest private contribution to COVE so far is part of the shipbuilding strategy

(From left) Kevin McCoy, Jim Hanlon, Kelly Regan and Scott Brison pose for photos after announcing the investment.   Francesca Handy

Irving Shipbuilding is investing $4.52 million across the harbour to fund Dartmouth’s Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), as part of the national shipbuilding contract deal.

Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding Inc., shared the news at the COVE grounds during an announcement Thursday.

Kevin McCoy talks to reporters after announcement about decision to invest in COVE.   Francesca Handy

Last September, COVE received $19.7 million from the provincial and federal governments to transform the former Dartmouth coast guard site into a marine innovation facility.

The former coast guard building was purchased by Waterfront Development in 2015. The building is currently under construction.   Francesca Handy

Once finished, the facility will include two large deep-water piers, office space and a space for shops and labs. It will also include a startup incubator, which will provide services like training and extra equipment for research and business startups.

A part of the COVE facility that will be used office space and workshops.   Francesca Handy

“Nova Scotia’s economy is impacted by our geography,” said Minister of Labour Kelly Regan at the announcement. “Ocean building and ocean tech — we’re advantaged by our seaside location.”

COVE won’t have its own research team, but will rent the facility out to ocean science and technology sector ventures. These fields include fisheries, aquaculture and shipbuilding.

This future dockside workshop is currently under construction.   Francesca Handy

McCoy said Thursday that COVE will develop products that will be used on some of the combat ships Irving Shipbuilding will construct in the future.

“It strengthens Halifax as a site for ocean, naval architecture, entrepreneurship, engineering, and development of ideas,” said McCoy. “That’s exactly what we’re going to need to tap into with Canada’s future Navy in the next 30 to 40 years.”

The $4.52 million invested was part of the 2011 National Ship Building Strategy, created by the federal government to develop “a sustainable, long-term shipbuilding plan that benefits Canadians and the Canadian marine industry.” Irving Shipbuilding was selected to renew the fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and Coast Guard over a 30-year period.

Outside of the building where the announcement was made on Thursday.   Francesca Handy

This strategy obligates Irving to invest 0.5 per cent of its contract revenues — approximately $12.5 million — to benefit Canada’s marine industry in long-term.

“It shows the benefits of a well thought out shipbuilding strategy,” McCoy told reporters after the meeting. “It’s not only building ships, but also creating opportunity in other parts of the ocean economy.”

McCoy said Thursday the company has already invested about $10.5 of this total, including the investment in COVE.

COVE is scheduled to open in April 2018. The CEO of COVE, Jim Hanlon, said during Thursday’s announcement that he expects to have the spaces rented by then.