New net-zero carbon building in Clayoquot Sound will support innovation and collaboration on the west coast

News release

Tofino, British Columbia, May 15, 2024 — A new net-zero carbon facility is coming to Clayoquot Sound after an investment of over $7.1 million from the federal government, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Society, private, and corporate contributions.

Announced by Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre will provide Tofino, Ucluelet, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht First Nation, Ucluelet First Nation, and Toquaht Nation with a shared space to learn, teach, and collaborate.

Some of the features are indoor and outdoor teaching spaces to serve residents and offer interpretive programs for visitors to learn about the significance of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. There will also be a teaching kitchen, where traditional harvest methods and other culinary training programs will attempt to address food security within the area.

Clayoquot Sound is home to one of Canada’s 19 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere regions. Biosphere regions are sites of natural beauty dedicated to conserving biodiversity, sustainable development, climate action, and reconciliation. The centre will also serve as a UNESCO Visitor Centre to unite people through learning, culture, conservation, science, and research, generating a legacy of social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and economic resiliency. 


“The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre will be a valuable asset to Tofino and area in terms of reconciliation, cultural understanding, economic development, and environmental conservation. The Biosphere Centre will facilitate important programming, dialogue, and learning opportunities for local Nuu-chah-nulth peoples and other communities in the region, as well as for visitors. We will continue to invest in a brighter future for Canadians by supporting projects that encourage collaboration, innovation, and the adoption of more sustainable practices.”

Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre is a climate-smart, mass timber building that promotes sustainable economic development and ecological preservation. It is a remarkable project from B.C.’s Mass Timber Demonstration Program—a community and research hub inspired by historic First Nation architecture that encapsulates UNESCO’s goals of promoting education, science and culture. Clayoquot Sound is one of the most beautiful and unique ecosystems in the world and soon it will have an incredible centre that assists in making people, and the ecosystem, thrive.”

Brenda Bailey, British Columbia’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation

“We are profoundly grateful for the grant funding from Infrastructure Canada through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program. With this support, we can realize our Biosphere Centre vision - a safe and inclusive community space to deliver education and research programs, support economic development, practice sustainable tourism, and drive social innovation. Built with sustainability at the forefront, we look forward to demonstrating green building technology locally and inspiring innovation among UNESCO biosphere regions globally through this transformational project.”

Naomi Mack and Nicky Ling, Co-chairs, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust

“We’re excited to be moving forward with the construction of the Biosphere Centre. Following the invitation to situate the building in Tla-o-qui-aht territory, we’ve focused on incorporating community input to the building design and function. We’re grateful for the knowledge and feedback from our partners that has shaped the vision for this much needed public space, which will become a home for diverse community-led programs, projects, and events that continue to move us forward on the pathway to equity and reconciliation.”

Rebecca Hurwitz, Executive Director, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust

Quick facts

  • The federal government is investing $7,172,318 in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program. The Government of British Columbia announced a $300,00 contribution from the Mass Timber Demonstration Program on July 12, 2023. 

  • The GICB program was created in support of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. It is supporting the Plan’s first pillar by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and helping develop higher resilience to climate change. 

  • The program is providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs, or upgrades. 

  • At least 10% of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.

  • The application period for the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program is now closed.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Micaal Ahmed
Communications Manager
Office of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
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Web: Infrastructure Canada

Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Media Relations

Rebecca Hurwitz
Executive Director
Clayoquot Biosphere Trust

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