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Have your say in protecting the Coquitlam River

Krista Englund, Coquitlam River watershed roundtable coordinator, and her son, Charlie, check out the salmon in Scott Creek, a tributary of the river. A public event is planned for this weekend to encourage people to contribute ideas on how to protect the river.  - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Krista Englund, Coquitlam River watershed roundtable coordinator, and her son, Charlie, check out the salmon in Scott Creek, a tributary of the river. A public event is planned for this weekend to encourage people to contribute ideas on how to protect the river.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

The sight of a dozen big, fat chum salmon nosing their way up Scott Creek in Coquitlam doesn't seem to surprise three-year-old Charlie Englund.

After all the creek, a meandering tributary of the Coquitlam River, has been his back yard since he was a baby and the fall ritual is as normal as Halloween and falling leaves.

But his mom, Krista, worries that this creek and many others just like them, are only as safe and secure as public perception. If people don't care and aren't interested, the creeks and the Coquitlam River where they eventually meet won't be around for future generations.

Do we really appreciate the Coquitlam River watershed and all it provides to air and water quality, livability and recreation or is it just an impediment to getting around in the Tri-Cities?

That's a question Krista hopes people will consider as the first-ever watershed plan is about to be undertaken. When it's complete in the next two years, jurisdictions, such as BC Hydro, the cities of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, as well as developers and gravel companies operating along the river will have guidelines and action plans to protect the river.

What's different about this plan compared to other watershed plans for streams in the Tri-Cities is a new approach that ties in in spiritual, educational, health, recreational values and the fact that it encompasses so many jurisdictions. Most watershed plans are for creeks or streams that run through a single jurisdiction. The Coquitlam River, which extends from the reservoir above Pipeline Road to the Fraser River at Colony Farm, covers two cities and multiple jurisdictions including the Kwikwetlem First Nations.

It's also taken months to put this plan together because there is no direct funding: multiple agencies are paying for its development including Metro Vancouver and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C.

Pulling the roundtable together and getting people involved is Englund's job and she says protecting the river is more important now than ever. It's been on the Outdoor Recreation Council's endangered list for 18 of 19 years and steps need to be taken to protect its future.

The meeting Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (doors open at 9 a.m.) at The Outlet at Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam will be the public's first glimpse of the work of the roundtable and an opportunity to provide input.

Who should come?

"Anyone who is benefiting from those services we get from the watershed and wants to take time. It's a Saturday," she acknowleges, "But if we don't do this, the risk is 20 or 30 years down the road our kids won't benefit from these same services."

THE DETAILS

Organizers are pulling out all the stops to make sure it's as interesting and informative as possible. There will be an international speaker, the introduction of a series of "Watershed Cafés on topics pertaining to the river, and the launching of a new website with virtual tours, plus snacks and lunch.

Register here

Connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coquitlamriver

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

 

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