There is now a gravel pad where a building used to be and a hole is all that’s left of a concrete fish pond. But while a fire may have burned the much-loved Mossom Creek Hatchery to the ground, it didn’t destroy the memories and the sense of the place.
For artist Wynn Dennett, a memory is a good a place as any to start to rebuild, and to help volunteers in their work, she has painted a picture of the Mossom Creek Hatchery the way it was before the fire.
A few weeks ago, Dennett donated the painting to the Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society in the hopes it will inspire volunteers in their rebuilding effort. One of those volunteers, construction manager Pat Dennett, is her son.
“I happened to mention to him that I needed a new [painting] project,” she said. “He said, ‘I have one for you.’
“He suggested I paint the old hatchery and he sent me one of the pictures, and that was the result,” Dennett said of her latest painting, which will likely be installed in the new hatchery once it is complete.
On her visit to the hatchery, Dennett fed the coho in the tanks and toured the plot of land beneath the cedar trees, falling in love with the place. “My, what a beautiful spot up in the forest,” she said.
A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
That’s saying a lot because Dennett, 94, has painted all over B.C., including the Gulf Islands, and knows natural beauty when she sees it. She has shown her work, mostly oils, pastels, watercolours and acrylics, in several exhibits over the years and is a member of the South Delta Artists’ Guild.
What she didn’t expect, perhaps, is how her visit inspired her to learn more about Mossom Creek and the hatchery work that has taken place over the last 28 years. Once back at home in South Delta, Dennett went online to learn about Mossom’s history and the ins and outs of salmon enhancement.
“I didn’t realize they hatched eggs there — caught the fish, milked them [for eggs] and started from scratch,” Dennett said.
Now that she has been to the site and completed her painting, Dennett is prepared to come back and see the rebuilt hatchery at work once more.
And if her small efforts have helped with re-construction, she said, then that’s all for the good.
DENNETT FAMILY GIVES BACK
It takes a team to raise thousands of fish and to raise the roof at a replacement for Port Moody’s Mossom Creek Hatchery. And one key component of the Mossom team is the family of Pat Dennett, the rebuilding project’s volunteer construction manager.
Mossom co-founder Ruth Foster wrote this family tree of Dennett helpers:
• Pat Dennett: Volunteer construction manager for the rebuild. After the fire, he hit the ground running. He is working fast, furious and full-time on this. He has a wealth of experience working with all the construction trades and has valuable contacts throughout the industry. He has called on a lifetime of favours to secure many donations, in-kind work and highly reduced costs on construction components.
• Wynn Dennett: Pat’s 94-year-old mother. She mentioned that she was looking for a new painting subject and when Pat suggested a painting of the original hatchery, she put brush to canvas and did a beautiful painting of the hatchery that will be auctioned off at the July 13 gala (see story at right).
d CEO at Cascade Raider Holdings Ltd. (Raider-Hansen), Burnaby. Rod was quick to offer us a donation of $5,000 in tools and safety gear from Raider-Hansen. In addition he has supplied 20 hard hats and safety vests with the Mossom Creek Hatchery logo (over $2,000 value) and it is rumoured that we will have “gold-plated” shovels courtesy of Raider-Hansen for our sod-turning in late July.
• Krista Langtry: Pat’s daughter and the owner of the Younique Fitness Studio in Port Moody. She organized and put on our high-energy Zumba party fundraiser at Pleasantside elementary on May 9. It was a remarkable evening with about 40 women plus two brave men (Pat and one of our Mossom regulars, Wally). That netted $695 for the hatchery.
• Ryan Dennett: Pat’s son, who is assisting with the design and supply of a glass floor skylight in the deck over the Coho tubs.
• Emma Langtry: Pat’s granddaughter, responded after the fire by helping form an environmental club at Pleasantside elementary along with a couple of other young ladies. With the help of principal Heather Birnie, they held a two-day popcorn sale, raising $79, and have since done a coin drive at the school.
• Lola Langtry: Pat’s younger granddaughter. She held her birthday party at Mossom — a forest party — and asked her guests to donate to the hatchery rather than give her gifts. She raked in $190 for the cause.
• Judy Dennett: Pat’s wife is keeping the home fires burning, supporting the supporters. She participated in the Zumba party and attended the Fingerling Festival.
So that’s one heck of a lot of help from one family.