Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station
The PODS Enterprise
The Lagoon Society is embarking on a bold journey into the future. Building on our many successes, we believe it is time to expand our stewardship beyond the relatively calm freshwaters of the Sunshine Coast and to reach out into our spectacular and dynamic marine environment.
By 2020 we intend to build an iconic learning and gathering space that we call the Pender Ocean Discovery Station, or PODS. PODS includes a spectacular aquarium and state-of-the-art marine research centre as well as conference and meeting facilities, and indoor and outdoor interactive classrooms for students of all ages.
PODS will house:
- A beautiful, interactive subterranean aquarium
- Interactive, hands-on exhibits
- Wet Lab Classroom with Touch Tanks
- An outdoor children’s amphitheatre classroom
- Marine research laboratories for local high schools as well as regional university professors and students
- Extensive conference facilities
- A cafe and tea shop
We all benefit by connecting with the wonders of the incredible natural world around us and this has always been our primary underlying philosophy. The connection between the land and the sea and the sky and all their inhabitants is what makes the Sunshine Coast such a truly magnificent place to live and it is water that connects us all.
Building on a scientific foundation
PODS is inspired by our passion for science-based education and applied research and the value this represents in conserving the marine world around us for future generations.
With the potentially destructive consequences of climate change there could not be a better time for greater scientific understanding of our oceans. We know that there are major changes occurring in the Malaspina Strait and throughout the northern Georgia Strait and Salish Sea, but there are huge gaps in our knowledge.
Without up-to-date knowledge and the application of ground breaking scientific discoveries and technologies we are all left in the dark. By 2020 PODS will house research programs and welcome students and visitors of all ages to the heart of Madeira Park to help shed light on the oceans around us.
Honouring history and respecting culture
We honour and embrace the region’s fishing, boat building and First Nations past but seek to embrace the new technological era in the same way as our forebears by embarking on a voyage of discovery exploring, surveying and protecting our priceless marine environment.
Reinvigorating the local economy
PODS will not only provide an outstanding educational resource for all ages but also will bring much needed reinvigoration to the local economy of Madeira Park, particularly during the long winter months when business is often very slow. We intend to capture marine and passer-by traffic in the summer and provide them with motivation to extend their stay in the area. In the winter, research programs, conferences, and innovative elementary and secondary school programs will generate more activity in the hospitality and tertiary industries.
The Lagoon Society is already actively engaged in citizen science projects with research partners at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, which are proving extremely valuable. PODS will provide vital facilities for conducting further, more elaborate marine research programs and will be within easy reach for students from numerous universities and colleges. For example, we may be able to spark additional research about herring recruitment, invasive species, and the distribution of kelp beds in the area.
Welcoming collaborations and support
PODS will take the support of the community and many partners to reach fruition. We welcome and are seeking volunteers, in kind donations of services, and philanthropic founders. Please see the Help Us Grow page for more information or contact us any time at or 604.883.9201.
"If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning"
- Mahatma Gandhi