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GAMS is a National Co-op Challenge Finalist!

Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative is Named Finalist in National Co-op Challenge -Cast your vote today!

The Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative (GAMS) has been selected as one of six finalists from the Atlantic region in “The Co-operators National Co-op Contest”. It is now up to the public to vote through Facebook to determine the winners – and GAMS is looking for votes to help it to earn a share of the $220,000 in available prize money.

GAMS will use its share of the Co-operator’s Challenge Grant to hire the architects and marine designers to produce the design drawings and plans for the new “Gulf Marine Centre’ at Grand Etang Harbour on the southern Gulf of St Lawrence. The marine centre will provide laboratory space and a field station for marine researchers and students from universities and organizations. Interactive exhibits, touch tanks and aquarium displays filled with local marine organisms will welcome area school children and visitors to learn about the Gulf of St Lawrence. Conference space and some needed facilities for community fishermen will also be components of the design.

GAMS, a non profit cooperative formed in 2007, has acquired a long-term lease of the waterfront of busy Grand Etang Harbour, and is contacting architects and marine facility designers who will produce the blueprints for the new Gulf Marine Centre. The Co-operators National Co-op Challenge ‘will enable GAMS to take this important next step in making the centre a reality, for the community and its fishermen, and for all of Cape Breton’, according to Alfred Deveau, fisherman and President of the Grand Etang Harbour Authority.

The social media-based contest is designed to support small and expanding co-ops during 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. Each finalist has produced a short video making their pitch, and voting is open to anyone with a Facebook account through The Co-operators Facebook page. The three co-ops in each region with the most votes on their video will receive prizes of $30,000, $15,000 and $10,000 from The Co-operators to help them grow their business. A Grand Prize winner will also be drawn from the four regional finalists and will win extra resources to further support their organization.

“As a co-op, we are committed to strengthening the co-op sector. We wanted to do something special during the International Year of Co-operatives to support small Canadian co-ops trying to get to the next level of their development,” said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. “This is a great way to showcase the breadth of the co-op sector in Canada, and some of the great things small, local co-ops are doing in communities across the country.”

Public voting began October 22 and it’s up to Canada to choose a winner. To view the videos and vote for your favourite submissions, visit The Co-operators Facebook page before November 21, and encourage everyone you know to go out and vote.

To vote for GAMS, follow this link and click "vote!"

Check out our contest video entry here!

If you don't have a Facebook account, you can go to the Facebook homepage to create one for free.

For further information, contact:

Gretchen Hull
Gulf Aquarium and Marine Station Cooperative
gams@cbreton.net
902 224 1623 ; 902 224 5657