Como Watershed Group starts fresh
A non-profit group whose mandate is to take care of Coquitlam's Como Creek watershed is on a new path after being stuck in the mud for two years.
This week, the environmental organization donated 100 potted trees to the city of Coquitlam as part of its relaunch campaign. And, next week, it'll see another 100 of its seedlings shipped off to Montgomery middle for the students to plant in the nearby ravine as part of the school's project-based learning initiatives.
Como Watershed Group (CWG) spokesperson Darcy McNeil said the board was left high and dry in 2009 when most of its volunteers bowed out; as a result, the remaining volunteers who were new to the charitable society were forced to start from stratch.
"When it almost dissolved two years ago, we thought, 'Can it exist? Should it exist?'" McNeil said. "There were many things we had to reevaluate."
Since then, the four board members — currently made up of McNeil (a youth leader at Place Maillardville), Elizabeth Haldorson, Roger Loubert and Jason Thorne — have reviewed the group's past records and gotten a handle of its assets.
During a visit to CWG's nursery at Colony Farm regional park Wednesday, McNeil unlocked the garden shed, which is full of directional signage and tools. "Only now are we just finding out what we have," he said, shaking his head.
Its dozens of young evergreens had been sitting in pots with no place to go. "So I said, 'It's time to plant these or they'll die,'" Haldorson said, "and the city and the school were good matches for our group."
Loubert said the CWG also plans to expand its nursery south to the land recently vacated by the Douglas College Institute of Urban Ecology. "The Colony Farm Garden Association has told us they want their land used, they want to see productivity," he said, adding there's a waiting list to grow food at the adjacent community garden allotments.
Meanwhile, besides the city and school tree presentations this week, the board also has been focused on a mature tree hacked down on private property in Maillardville, which is in the Como watershed.
A silver maple, at least 100 years old, was destroyed at the corner of Begin Street and Cartier Avenue — wood that CWG plans to salvage for future art projects with the consent of the property developer. "It's such a shame that it was cut because it was such a beautiful, shiny tree," Haldorson said during a visit to the lot Wednesday. "The neighbourhood is very upset that it has come down."
• To become a director or volunteer, attend the Como Watershed Group annual general meeting on May 26 at Place Maillardville (1200 Cartier Ave.), from 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, call 604-790-3018 or visit www.vcn.bc.ca/cwg.