On a 10 acre field of donated land overlooking Rick’s Fish & Chips, the University of Prince Edward Island will make the rural village of St. Peter’s a world leader in climate change research.

Cardigan MP and federal cabinet Minister Lawrence MacAulay, who lives just up the road in Midgell, took delight in announcing the $20 million campus Friday in front of an enthusiastic audience at St. Peter’s Community Centre.

“This is a big deal,” Mr MacAulay said of the 45,000 square foot Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, a first of its kind in Canada. Land for the campus was donated by Richard Flynn, Ray and Alvin Keenan and Gordon MacKay.

“This large, state of the art facility, will be a model of environmental and climate change research in Canada and across the world right here in St. Peter’s. It will house a climate research lab and a ‘living lab’ with access to the nearby coastal habitats affected by climate change, which includes the Greenwich National Park,” Mr MacAulay said.

The federal government will contribute $5 million from Infrastructure Canada and $4 million from ACOA. The provincial government will invest $5 million.

Premier Dennis King said because we live on an Island, PEI residents know the impact climate change is having.

“We know climate change is an issue we need to attack head on.

“The campus may help PEI play a leading role in finding economic opportunities associated with finding climate change solutions. This announcement is bigger than any of us.”

The idea for a climate change campus originated in 2012, says UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. The university recognized the importance of the issue to the province and began building the case for a major investment by establishing a Bachelor of Science in Applied Climate Change and Adaptation program.

“In 2012 we had a dream. Today the dream becomes reality. The campus will bring together students and researchers who will not only work at the St. Peter’s campus but reside there. This announcement will be another catalyst to attract students (to UPEI),” the president said.

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