Breaking news from Portobello; kinda sad kinda exciting

Jean

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#1
As of Friday 1st June 5pm, the Portobello aquarium is closed to the public :sad:. This is due to the building being deemed an earthquake risk (kiwi's are now rather paranoid about this!). So after 80 odd years on this site we are no more :cry: Education and research will continue in the newer buildings. our understanding is that a new and revamped (and safe!!) aquarium will be opened next year, although it will most likely not be on our current site (course this could all change!). Will try to keep you all posted, if the Uni doesn't embargo the info as they have with the closure until last Friday!

We all keep our jobs at this stage as we still have critters to be cared for. However Lloyd is released and we will not hold an octopus until we have brand new tanks!

so it is the end of an era for us, but a new exciting one may be waiting in the wings!

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/211678/quake-prone-aquarium-shut

A rather sad Jean signs off the Portobello Diary for now :sad:
 

DWhatley

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#3
Jean,
What is the probability of this closure being more economic than true earthquake concerns?
 

Jean

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#4
Not economic (wellllll maybe a bit!) but last week when I leaned on a tank the concrete rubbed off on my jersey (antipodean for sweater):shock: ! We have HUGE cracks in all the concrete and you can break it off with your fingers, the cracks have extended with every shake.......it really was getting beyond a joke. Rumour has it that the builders used salt water in the concrete rather freshwater, very bad! (the seawater was close at hand, freshwater wasn't). Anyway the Uni definitely will reopen the aquarium, the main question is where. Our external review STRONGLY approved and recommended that the aquarium stay, but perhaps in town, currently we're half an hour out of town on a narrow, twisty road, with limited public transport.

So watch this space!
 

DWhatley

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#6
Ah, the asbestos in it self would have likely closed it here years ago.

Moving it in town (assuming this means off the water) does not seem to make a lot of sense though for maintenance costs.
 

Jean

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#7
It's not off the water fortunately. Dunedin city is at the inner end of the harbour, so we would still be very close if not on the waterfront, the powers that be are still deciding though, so you never know we may remain where we are and get a flash new building!!!!!

the asbestos was sealed and painted so we got away with it, if not we would have had to get it removed as it isn't allowed here either. We had to be very careful not to damage it!!
 

Jean

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Sooooo we just had a meeting to tell us that the University is absolutely committed to rebuilding the aquarium (yay!) the nitty gritty still has to be worked out though! And none of us will lose our jobs (double yay!). We released Lloyd last week and so are now octopus less (:sad:) The will be the state of affairs for some time. Our old building is being shored up so we can continue to care for our animals, but eventually they'll need to be released. We have transformed our seminar room (in a newer,,,,, safe,,,,,buiding) into a lab and are continuing with our education programmes. I have just taught 3 in a row (1 1-day, 1 3-day with 2 overnights and 1 3-day) and with tweaking it should work, even did a squid dissection BEFORE the carpet was pulled up and lino put down.....potential disaster there! So that is the current state of affairs here at Portobello!
 

CaptFish

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#9
Cool, sounds exciting.
 

Jean

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#10
It is rather, though a bit bittersweet! The current aquarium was 81 years old this year, so it's very much the end of an era! Still to be on the groundfloor (& maybe have input into) a new facility is exciting and will hopefully be fun too!
 

DWhatley

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#11
Hands down getting to help design a new system after working several years with the old is a major win!
 

Jean

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#13
Ok so we have some temp tanks set up, 2 red sea max tanks, plus chillers.

Tank one is a kind of rock pool simulation and tank two is sandy bottom with Baby Red Gurnard Chelidonichthys kumu, Bobtails Sepioloidea pacifica and sand dollars Fellaster sp. Pretty cool and our bobtails have been mating (during the day too!)
 

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Jean

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Oh and the two hexagonal tanks you can see in the right hand corner of pic one are for our Seahorses and Pipefish, horrid tanks, sods to clean and the light fittings are rather close to the water :goofysca:
 

DWhatley

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#15
hopefully, maintenance will be high on the list of considerations for the new aquarium :biggrin2:
 

DWhatley

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#18
It might be kind of special if they get into more husbandry as a result of all this.
 

Jean

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#20
OK so, some more interim displays, modular so they can be moved when the new aquarium is builPics 1 & 2 show a "wall of tanks" and a mock up of signage.............will be coloured! photo 2 is one test of bench arrangement for a plankton display and photo 3 aour new Kriesel tank for the plankton!
 

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