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Construction set to start next month on Mossom Hatchery

Ella Green said she was
Ella Green said she was 'devastated' by the fire that burned down the Mossom Creek hatchery. But funds are in place to start construction of a new facility.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Mossom Creek Hatchery volunteers are closing a major fundraising gap in their goal to have a hatchery running this fall.

At a groundbreaking ceremony today, it was revealed that only $200,000 is still needed to outfit the building that will replace the hatchery and education centre that burned down in December now that crucial building funds are either in place or earmarked for construction.

"The good news is that we will start construction on schedule, with site preparation in August and concrete work beginning in September," said Pat Dennett, the project manager who is spearheading the building team for the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society (BIMES), which runs the hatchery.

Dennett said new developments in the last few days — including potential changes to an insurance settlement and a $75,000 grant offer from the Imperial Oil Company plus $25,000 raised at a fundraising gala Sunday in Port Moody — will enable BIMES to achieve its goal of having the hatchery operational by January.

The news was greeted with enthusiasm by volunteers, politicians, business and community leaders who gathered at the site of the hatchery next to the creek for the ceremonial event.

But $200,000 still must be raised, Dennett noted, including $75,000 by Sept. 15 to secure the Imperial Oil grant.

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Dennett remained positive about the project's financial situation, however, and its ability to meet its goal to have a hatchery running by January.

"The bottom line is that we are a lot closer to meeting our funding goals," Dennett told the crowd.

Mossom groundbreaking

NATURE 'FEEDS US'

Today's groundbreaking was as much a celebration of nature as it was an official event. Speakers noted the beauty of the area and the importance of looking after it.

George Assaf, BIMES vice-president, said it was a shock to see the building go up in flames in December and it is a relief to see the project coming together now.

Working at the hatchery at "nature's doorstep" is an important part of "our nourishment," he said. "It feeds us."

Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay made a similar assertion, saying, "We live in the most beautiful place on Earth and all we are asked to do is take care of it."

Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam MP James Moore said the new hatchery will be an improvement on the previous building, which wasn't up to current code and other standards, and will be used to educate future generations about the importance of looking after salmon.

GOOD CITIZENSHIP

Noting that he was born in 1976, the year Mossom was started by then-Centennial teachers Rod MacVicar and Ruth Foster, Moore pointed out the fire that destroyed the original building will be a "hiccup" in the "sweep of history that is the hatchery."

The amount of corporate sponsorship is also important to note, Moore said. "This is what good corporate citizenship looks like."

One of the highlights of the event was a speech by Ella Green, who described how "devastated" she was when she heard the hatchery had burned down because it was a place to learn about fish and the forest, and to share the knowledge with her friends.

Ruth Foster, who is helping spearhead the redevelopment project, said the groundbreaking was an important milestone and signifies that the rebuilding effort is well on its way.

"We are very excited about the future and so grateful for the huge amount of support in the community," said the retired teacher.

For co-founder MacVicar, rebuilding the hatchery is important because it will provide future future students with the opportunity to learn about B.C.'s fragile ecosystem and how to protect it.

"It's not about raising fish, it's about raising kids," MacVicar said.

• At yesterday's event, some key contributors were also acknowledged, including the city of Port Moody, which approved necessary paperwork and donated $10,000 to the organization; MP Moore, who worked behind the scenes to find sources of cash; and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, which is contributing $100,000 toward the project. Lafarge Canada was also singled out for donating the forms and concrete as part of its sustainability commitment.

To donate online visit www.mossomcreek.org

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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