OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW

January 28, 2008
Written by Greenhouse Canada
Alberta will invest $6.6-million to rebuild provincial research greenhouses at Brooks. These new facilities, said provincial ag minister Doug Horner, will allow researchers “to continue to explore new crops and crop management techniques to help Alberta producers be competitive in the global market.”
Alberta’s agricultural research and greenhouse sectors will both be enhanced with the rebuilding of the outdated greenhouse facilities at the provincial Crop Diversification Centre South (CDCS) in Brooks.

The new $6.6-million greenhouses will be multi-functional, accommodate additional research opportunities, and will further strengthen the leadership role the centre plays in conducting crop production and protection research for Alberta’s greenhouse industry. The reconstruction will allow other crop scientists at CDCS, who are currently short of general-purpose greenhouse space, to extend their research activities beyond the summer field season through the winter months.

“The reconstruction of these greenhouses is part of our continued commitment to research and innovation in our agriculture industry,” said Doug Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. “These new facilities will allow researchers at the CDCS to continue to explore new crops and crop management techniques to help Alberta producers be competitive in the global market.”

A guiding principle for the new design will be flexibility of space, said Ty Lund, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. “Our goal is to create a building that can adapt to changing research demands and new industry trends.”

Some of the original research greenhouses at CDCS were constructed in 1965. Years of moisture, corrosion and stress from heat and wind have contributed to structural decay. The old facilities will be torn down and several new greenhouses, totaling nearly 55,000 square feet, will replace them.

The new greenhouses will house small-scale applied research projects, large production ranges that simulate conditions in a commercial greenhouse operation, and administrative offices and labs.

The CDCS currently employs 40 full-time and 20 part-time staff, and the Centre expects to hire as many as five additional full- and part-time employees once reconstruction is complete. Specialists at the research greenhouse currently focus their studies on pest control and plant diseases.

Greenhouse scientists at the Centre are currently focusing their studies in areas such as crop production technology, pest management and aquaponics – the integration of aquaculture (fish production) and hydroponics (vegetable production).

Design work is tentatively scheduled to begin by the end of summer 2006. Once the design is complete and a contractor has been hired, construction will last about 12 months.

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