Alberni ‘aquarium’ closer to opening

Soon, the Alberni Inlet won’t be the only place fish are swimming at Harbour Quay, thanks to West Coast Aquatic.

A design concept shows what the interior of the West Coast Aquatic Stewardship Centre will look like.

Soon, the Alberni Inlet won’t be the only place fish are swimming at Harbour Quay.

The inside of the former Clocktower Gallery has been painted a vivid ocean blue and the aquariums are being installed this week as West Coast Aquatic prepares to open up their stewardship centre. A soft opening (as opposed to a grand opening) on May 1 will coincide with the Race the Train event.

The first thing you’ll see as you walk in will be a giant sea creature, said West Coast Aquatic stewardship executive director Sheena Falconer.

“When you walk in, we’re putting graphics on the far wall—we’re down to between whales and octopus—so you kind of get a sense right off the bat,” Falconer said.

To the right of the entrance are three tanks—freshwater, estuary and intertidal—meant to show the life cycles of salmon.

“In the freshwater tank, the salmon are swimming in a figure eight around a vegetated salmon,” said Falconer, adding that having visitors be able to see the salmon will personalize the importance of taking care of their environment.

“We’ll call him, say, Sammy the salmon. Now that you’re attached to Sammy the salmon, what can you do to save his home?”

The rest of the displays will have the same message.

“The messaging for all of these displays is the same, there’s going to be personal stories about all the animals.”

That messaging is key to the stewardship centre’s mission, she says.

“Everything is catch and release here. We want people to understand that we’re not just randomly taking these animals out of their environment for entertainment, we’re doing it because we think it’s important to deliver a message about these animals’ homes,” said Falconer.

“I’m really passionate about that and it took a lot of soul searching before I considered taking animals out.”

With the ‘catch and release’ style of the aquarium, there will be a constant stream of new marine animals for visitors to get to know.

“We’ll cycle turtles and frogs and aquatic insects,” said Falconer.

There will be opportunities to see the animals face to face.

“There’s the aqua dome so if you go under, there’s a bit of a dome over your head and you’re looking through the water.”

Visitors will then pass though an ocean tunnel where people will be able to see underwater creatures like jellyfish.

“It will be backlit so that the jellyfish are very serenely lit.”

The further along at the back of the space will be touch tanks and an educational area.

“People can come with their pinky and touch an animal,” Falconer said.

Touch tank creatures will also be cycled in and out of the centre or will be there on a more permanent basis as part of a conservation effort.

“Some will be animals that have been caught and can’t go back into the wild so it’s either death or stay here and other animals will be here because say, we’re fry salvaging, and they’re staying here with us temporarily.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Just Posted

Alberni Pacific Railway temporarily halted

Technical Safety BC discovers ‘regulatory violations’

BCHL: Bulldogs see fourth straight loss at BCHL showcase

Alberni Valley Bulldogs on the road again this weekend

Port Alberni Black Sheep fall to Surrey Beavers in rugby action

Three tries late in the second half cemented the win for Beavers

Addiction should be treated, not criminalized, say health professionals

Port Alberni Shelter Society forum talks opioid crisis

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Alberni Teens Can Rock band Stranger Than Fiction releases first single

Port Alberni group has been performing since 2016

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read