MOSSOM CREEK HATCHERY: Lafarge plays major role in rebuilding Port Moody hatchery

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Mossom Creek Hatchery 2.0 started taking shape in Port Moody this summer when Lafarge Canada began building forms and pouring concrete to get the hatchery building up and running in time for the fall salmon spawning season. Above, on the team are (front) volunteer project manager Pat Dennett, volunteer construction assistant Mel Steemson, Blaine Fisher from Lafarge Canada Structural Concrete Division and Cameron Wotherspoon from Thistle Plumbing; and (rear) Lafarge crew members Rob and Justin. — Image Credit: Diane Strandberg/The Tri-City News

The contribution, which came early in the fundraising drive by Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society (BIMES) to rebuild the hatchery that burned down in December, is valued at more $120,000.

More importantly, it will ensure hatchery operations can begin again when salmon spawning seasonstarts at the end of October.

“We are ahead of schedule,” Pat Dennett, the project’s volunteer project manager, told The Tri-City News on a recent tour,  “and for that, we can thank Lafarge.”

Most people have heard of Lafarge Lake, a gravel quarry that was transferred to the city of Coquitlam in the 1970s. Few know the company has roots in gravel extraction, paving and ready-mix concrete in the Tri-Cities dating back more than half a century.

Now, according to vice-president and general manager Ron Bruhaug, the company will be associated with Port Moody because of its assistance in rebuilding the hatchery so BIMES volunteers can continue important work in raising fish and educating children.



“I’ve been in the community for more than 40 years and the building of the hatchery aligns with Lafarge’s three pillars: environment, sustainable construction and education,”  said Bruhaug, explaining why the company was willing to make such a significant contribution.

Not only is the company donating all the concrete and the form wood but it is supplying all the labour for building the forms and finishing the concrete, too, which is a big help to a non-profit society that relies on volunteers and has no core funding.

Lafarge’s decision to step up has been critical for the organization, said Dennett, noting the company’s donation is a boon to BIMES and its passion is an inspiration to others.

For Blaine Fisher, a structural superintendent for Lafarge, it has been a joy to help rebuild the hatchery and he is pleased to come to the job site nestled under the trees next to Mossom Creek. Not only does he feel like he’s contributing to something important but he and his crew like the peace and quiet and natural setting — when they are not hammering forms and pouring cement.

“It’s a beautiful place.”

Lafarge’s contribution, however, goes beyond the monetary value of its donation. The decision to build with concrete will give the new hatchery permanency and volunteers can continue education and hatchery operations without fear of fire.

There are other advantages to the partnership as well because Lafarge practises sustainability in all of its operation, which means the concrete used for the building is as green as it can possibly be.

For example, recycled wash water from cleaning out cement trucks is used to make cement while recycled fly ash, a byproduct of incineration, is added to cut down on the amount of sand and gravel needed for mixing, therefore reducing production of greenhouse gases.

Another innovation will directly benefit the salmon.

Steel rebar is being used instead of iron to support the concrete and fiberglass, not rebar, will be used to strengthen the floor slab. These adjustments are being made because of concerns that iron could alter the magnetic field that guides spawning salmon back to their home creek.

“We could say we took steps to prevent that, so there’s no interference,” Dennett said.

As well, the building’s apron will be made from a permeable concrete called Hydromedia so rain water can flow naturally into the ground, another Lafarge innovation that will make the project better for the environment.

Dennett said these green initiatives are important for the hatchery because of its proximity to the creek and its location next to 126-hectare Bert Flynn Park.



Major corporations that adopt sustainability principles and use a “cause no harm to the environment” lens to shape their business practices are better positioned to engage the consumer, and have a marketing advantage that ultimately benefits the bottom line, according to Rod MacVicar, a retired School District 43 teacher who co-founded the hatchery.

“This is a story of Lafarge working in and with the environmental community,”  MacVicar said.  “Residents and stewardship groups will benefit as well as the company.

“We then hope to see an increasing participation by other large, capable, national companies. There is no doubt that Lafarge has increased their brand’s engagement, interaction and conversations with Port Moody residents,” he said.

Back at the job site, the skeletal beginnings of Mossom 2.0 are a concrete reminder that it takes a community to build something valuable that is permanent and lasting. Wood forms and cement define the building’s perimeter and sketch out in hard surfaces what was only a dream eight months ago.

But for many, it’s the returning salmon they care about and by the end of October, coho and chum should be making their way back to the creek.

When they do, thanks to volunteers and corporate contributors, Mossom Hatchery and its volunteers will be ready for them.


Mossom Hatchery progress report

• Retaining wall built of boulders from site excavation, trench dug and PVC pipes laid for electrical conduit and hook-up.

• Forms are being built for the first-floor walls, concrete pads for pillar supports and the foundation have been poured.

• First-floor slab to be poured by the third week of September; second floor to be poured in late October to provide cover and make the incubation room (hatchery) operational for the fall spawning season.



• Total cost: $1.2 million

• Total still needed to raise: $200,000

• Size of building: 1,600 sq. ft. per floor

• Amount of concrete used: 110 cu. m



To contribute to the rebuilding effort for the Mossom Creek Hatchery, go to mossomcreek.organd click on the Donate Now button.

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