Join us for the official opening! BBQ, fun for the kids, raffles and more. Live entertainment includes Doug Boyd (Bagpipes), The Arisaig Fiddlers, and The Ceildhmen featuring Neil MacDougall. Ribbon cutting will be at 2pm ~ Everyone welcome!
The Arisaig Community Development Association (ACDA) is nearing the opening of the new Arisaig Lobster Interpretive Marine Life Centre, scheduled to open May 13, 2023. The Centre was made possible through funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), The Municipality of the County Antigonish, Nova Scotia Provincial Government and generous private donations, along with years of fundraising efforts and thousands of volunteer hours by members of the ACDA and the wider community in the county and town of Antigonish.
Recently, the materials from the previous Lobster Interpretive Centre, and well as new, exciting additions to our exhibits, were moved into the new Centre through the help of many community volunteers.
The new facility will boast a range of new features including accessible washrooms, water bottle filling station, touch tanks and aquariums with local marine species, interactive rope and knot tying, along with many donated items associated with the history of our lobster fishing industry and our local marine ecology. The Centre will also include a scale model Cape Islander lobster fishing boat for kids to learn about through play, with information panels, video, and photographs from the original Centre proudly on display.
One of our most exciting features within the facility is the offering of live lobster for sale, beginning in May, and being sold through to September. No more coming to visit in July and missing out on a “feed” of local caught lobsters! You can enjoy your lobsters and support a great cause at the same time, with 100% of proceeds from lobster sales going back into supporting the Centre, maintaining operations, and growing new exhibits. A small gift shop within the facility will also help to serve that purpose.
We are making great progress with construction!
The main part of the building is 40’ x 30’ with 9.6’ high walls, a cathedral style ceiling, and concrete floors. An accessible washroom and a utility room are housed in the bump out on the left (west) side and a walled-in space in the right-front corner houses the media/video room. Several measures have been taken to strengthen the building to mitigate damage from possible future storms.
This project would not be possible without the dedication and countless hours given by many volunteers. Kate Bechler (Arisaig), Project Manager, is coordinating and keeping the project moving forward. Bob Funke (Doctor’s Brook) provided his expertise with Sewage Disposal Systems so the site could be approved for construction and Marcie Macquarrie (Doctor’s Brook) oversaw the cement work purchased from Quality Concrete and placed/finished by Captain Concrete. Donnie Ross, Construction Manager, along with Duncan MacDonald (Arisaig), Peter MacDonald (Doctor’s Brook), and Sean Ross (Doctor’s Brook) have put in countless hours building in very cold conditions. Bernard MacInnis (Maryvale) is working on the outside sign that will identify the building.
[Other phases have been done by contractors such as Jason Teasdale (Arisaig) and his crew who took care of the roof, soffit, and fascia. Electricians are Daniel Fraser (Doctor’s Brook) and Leroy MacInnis and the plumber is Fabien Doiron. Once this phase is complete and inspections approved, the ceiling will be insulated with batting and spray foam insulation will be added to the walls.]
The lobster storage tank has been purchased from and will be installed by BioNovations (Antigonish)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAZLHBvzWjI.
Before and during construction, other volunteers have also been busy. The Building Committee (Mary MacLellan, Donnie Ross, Steve and Patrick Smith, Lauchlin MacInnis, Duncan MacDonald, Kate Bechler, Kelly Teasdale, Carrie Colquitt, and Mary MacInnis)) oversaw the design. Applications were submitted for funding (Mary MacLellan, Malignant Cove), student employment grants (Natasha Neal, Doctor’s Brook), and the Operations Committee (Marcie Macquarrie, Yvette St. George-Gillis (Malignant Cove), Kate Bechler and Mary MacInnis (Arisaig) developed the facility’s Business Plan.
The Exhibits Committee (Kate Bechler, Carrie Colquitt, Catherine Ross, Linda LeBlanc, Kathy Smith, Natasha Neal, and Mary MacInnis) have been making plans for displays of interest to a range of ages. In addition to the information panels and interactive displays, plans include a touch tank and aquariums with live species of local marine life; the BioNovations tank to enable sale of fresh lobster (in agreement with Arisaig Fisheries Ltd); and a small gift shop area. In future, the Exhibits Committee will continue to work on an expanded number of information panels and videos about the history of the local fishery and community; environmental concerns; conservation practices that support sustainable stocks and are practiced by local fishers; the effect of wind currents and tides, etc.
Unique feature: The Centre will house a 12’ scale model Cape Islander boat that children can board to experience ‘fishing at sea’. This exhibit is being designed and built by Doug Stensrud, Arisaig.
Fund-raising to support the Operation of the LIMLC are ongoing. Tickets will go on sale in February on an 8 x 10” framed painting donated by acclaimed artist, Jaye Ouellette, Arisaig, www.jaye.ca. Further details will be provided later in February.
Jack MacDonald, McArras Brook, is donating several items related to the local fishery that will be displayed. If you have items of interest that you can donate to the Centre, contact Kate Bechler (email@example.com).
To support this project with a monetary donation, please contact Kelly Teasdale, ACDA Treasurer, firstname.lastname@example.org. Kelly tracks the revenue/expenses for the various grants and fund raisers and all ACDA funds.
If you are interested in helping with any phase of the Arisaig Lobster Interpretive Marine Life Centre project, please contact Kate Bechler (email@example.com).
UPDATES - FALL 2022
The Lobster Interpretive and Marine Life Centre will open in spring 2023. It is the latest project of the Arisaig Community Development Association.
The Centre will have exhibits and educational materials that include a touch tank, small aquariums to display local marine life, interpretive panels, a video showcasing local fishers preparing and hauling lobster traps, and interactive activities for a range of ages. The sale of live lobster and lobster products will provide funding for the long term. Development of exhibits will be ongoing and discussions for future displays include topics such as the history of the local fishery, conservation methods, and sustainability.
The Lobster Interpretive and Marine Life Centre is made possible with support and funding from all three levels of government, Federal, Provincial, and Municipal, as well as a generous donation from a local family. There are also ongoing fund-raising efforts by the Arisaig Community Development Association.
A group of dedicated volunteers has begun construction under the leadership of retired fisherman and carpenter, Donnie Ross of Arisaig. Other volunteers are developing the exhibits and plans for future growth of the Centre.
Projects like the Lobster Interpretive and Marine Life Centre are invaluable to communities, providing local employment opportunities and encouraging growth through tourism. They also provide service to the community-at-large through educational programs and guest speakers to help celebrate history, culture, and spirit. Arisaig, and the communities around it, are small but vibrant communities that celebrate their culture and heritage. The people of these communities are proud of its fishing industry, an industry that has been its backbone for generations.
The spirit of many rural neighbourhoods depends to a great extent on volunteers; people who are willing to give their time, talent, and energy to build and enhance their community, not only for those who live there but for those who come to visit as well. Their efforts attract visitors and create employment opportunities for the community.
There are currently two sub-committees looking after the details of this project: The Building Committee and the Exhibits Committee. As construction progresses, an Operations Committee will be formed.
Information will be posted to this site as plans develop.
We invite community input for this project. Please email your thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be passed on to the appropriate committee.
Arisaig Community Development Association
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