The North Saanich Test Tank Facility at UVic’s Marine Technology Centre is in the news:

$800,000 tank boosts research at UVic’s Marine Technology Centre

Here’s the story:

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford ,

A 62,500-litre saltwater pool to test high-tech marine science devices will replace a modified dumpster at the University of Victoria’s Marine Technology Centre in North Saanich.

“It’s like another piece of the ecosystem to help industry and academia do research,” Dale Gann, president of technology parks at UVic, said Wednesday.

The university is spending $800,000 on the three metre deep tank and associated buildings to provide improved facilities for current and future tenants at its technology centre, sited on 6.9 hectares, Gann said.

Kinetic Construction Ltd. started work on the tank, which measures five metres by five metres, on Jan. 3.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of the month.

The concrete tank will be chilled and equipped with a crane to move research devices in and out of the water.

Two-thirds of it will be constructed in the ground, Gann said.

Greater Victoria’s technology sector includes a wide range of marine businesses and non-profit agencies that carry out research and provide services in nearby waters, as well as internationally.

The Marine Technology Centre includes the Neptune and Venus projects.

Neptune, an 800-kilo-metre cabled ocean network in deep waters off Vancouver Island’s west coast, is part of UVic’s Oceans Networks Canada Observatory.

It collects data and video from instruments on the seafloor.

Venus collects information from locations near southern Vancouver Island, including one in the Saanich Inlet, sending real-time data from the seabed through fibre optic cables to UVic.

The tank can be used by Neptune and Venus, UVic’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and for equipment going on the university’s new research vessel, Gann said.

Neptune has been using a modified dumpster in the tech centre’s parking lot.

It is hoped that the tank will attract other tenants to the tech centre, Gann said. At this point, only half of the building space in the 42,000-square-foot marine centre is filled.

Neptune’s nodes, for example, can be lowered into the tank before they are placed into the Pacific Ocean. Scientists use the nodes, or seafloor laboratories, to control and watch over data-gathering instruments.

A new 2,500-square-foot building will give ocean researchers a place to handle fibre optic cables without being in the elements, Gann said. Storage space is included.

Ocean science researchers will be able to develop large devices that have to be assembled, tested and delivered before going to sea.

It is the only such test facility on Vancouver Island, Gann said.

UVic has a truck to deliver seawater to the tank, and to remove it twice a year, Gann said.