Ucluelet Aquarium staff Joel Filgate-McNabb, Britt Buirs, and Jess Cloutier bid farewell to another amazing season. (Nora O'Malley photo)

Ucluelet Aquarium closing early due to mechanical issues

Oct. 31 is the last day folks can view their favourite sea critters until next year

The Ucluelet Aquarium is closing a month early due to mechanical issues with an aging seawater pump.

Monday, October 31 is last day visitors will be able to view their favourite critters before they return to the ocean.

“We are running on only one sea pump, and with no back-up line that creates potential for risk, so we are putting the animals first,” said Britt Buirs, acting curator for the aquarium while Laura Griffin-Cochrane is away on maternity leave.

In a media statement, the Ucluelet Aquarium cited “supply chain issues” as a the reason for not being able to repair the back-up line. The aquarium generally stays open to the public until Nov. 30.

Aquarium board member Geoff Lyons told the Westerly that the board is working on additional back-up measures to “negate any future problems of this nature”.

“To this end, board member, Philip Brueker, was appointed to oversee the capital replacement program. Philip will present a capital budget proposal, which, when approved by the board, will ensure adequate funds are pre-approved to address the need for any additional back-up in such emergencies. Philip will also work with staff in the creation of a detailed maintenance schedule to be implemented for future years,” Lyons said in an email.

Buirs said the early closure does not impact staff.

“We have weeks of hard work ahead. We will take advantage of weather windows to release the animals to those more exposed locations where they originally came from,” she said, noting that the vet recently gave them the green light to go ahead and release the animals.

Communications co-odinator Jess Cloutier said special holiday shopping nights are planned for the end of November and the date for a pubic release day will be announced soon.

“We are really appreciative of all the support from the community. If you are a season pass holder, please keep an eye out for promos in March,” said Cloutier.


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