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November 22, 2013
For immediate release

Funding approved, construction to start for Canadian Red Cross building

Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development

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Prince Edward Island will soon have a new provincial headquarters for Canadian Red Cross disaster operations and programs and services, thanks in part to support from the federal and provincial governments. Funding was announced today by the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), and the Honourable Robert Ghiz, Premier of Prince Edward Island. John Byrne, National Director General of Disaster Management with the Canadian Red Cross, along with staff and volunteers joined government officials for today’s ground-breaking ceremony.

For more than 70 years, the Canadian Red Cross in PEI has been headquartered in a Victorian-era, three-storey house on Prince Street in Charlottetown. With a successful fundraising campaign and government support, the organization will soon have on a new facility to better meet its needs. The new location will be on Paramount Drive, near the Charlottetown Airport.

“Our Government is committed to working with the Canadian Red Cross to strengthen Canada’s humanitarian response capacity,” said Minister Shea. “The new Disaster Operations Centre will help ensure that our businesses and municipalities are well-positioned to manage and recover from the impact of a potential natural disaster.”

The Government of Canada, through ACOA’s Business Development Program, has provided an investment of $350,000. The Government of Prince Edward Island, through the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development has invested $300,000 in this project.

“I am proud to announce a provincial contribution towards the new headquarters for the Canadian Red Cross in Prince Edward Island,” said Premier Ghiz. “This investment from the Island Community Fund will support the organization in delivering the essential services that contribute to the well-being and security of all Islanders.”

The heritage designation on the existing Red Cross location prohibits extensive renovation or expansion. The location also lacks adequate parking, storage, training areas and wheelchair accessibility to upper levels. To raise much-needed funds for a new location, a committee of Red Cross volunteers led by Charlottetown entrepreneur Kent Scales, was successful in raising more $400,000 through corporate, foundation and individual support.

In addition to the new facility, the Red Cross will extend their campaign dollars to purchase a new emergency response vehicle, auxiliary power generator, communications and other equipment. The Red Cross also plans to more than double its team of highly trained disaster volunteers across the Island from the current 57 to a potential 125.

“Prince Edward Island can be more prone than other areas to the effects of changing climate and, being an Island where self-sufficiency in a disaster becomes more critical, we must plan accordingly,” said Mr. Byrne. “That’s why we are investing significantly in a new facility and related resources. We deeply appreciate the support announced by the federal and PEI governments and the contributions received from many generous businesses and individuals.”

Construction tenders closed recently and a contract will be awarded this month. The new facility is expected to open by spring/summer, 2014.

Media Contact: Kim Devine
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