Summer construction start eyed for new Mossom hatchery

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The people who are working to replaced the burned Mossom Creek Hatchery face a race against time as they still need $150,000 to build the facility in time for the salmon spawning season.

The Port Moody hatchery, which has been an important contributor to salmon enhancement — and environmental education — in the Tri-Cities for nearly 30 years, burned down in December. And volunteers, including Pat Dennett, the experienced construction manager who is heading the rebuilding effort, have been pulling out all the stops to get funding and construction services in place so shovels can go in the ground by the end of July.

So far, progress is being made.

In just six months, plans have been finalized and a development permit application has been filed with the city. As well, contributions have come from a variety of sources, generating $730,000 in total. Money has been sourced from insurance, in-kind services and donations, including a $100,000 grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

The building’s ambitious original design has been scaled back and construction has been organized into phases to give fundraisers more time to get resources in place. The new two-storey structure will be all concrete — providing protection against fire — and Lafarge Canada has donated this phase of the work, giving the project an important anchor and ensuring success of the entire enterprise, according to Dennett.

“Our plan is now to start construction at the end of July, which is mandatory to avoid missing another salmon cycle,” Dennett said.

Below: original Mossom Hatchery before the fire

Mossom Hatchery

But $150,000 is still needed before construction can begin — and that’s just to put together the concrete shell.

Another $250,000 must be raised to outfit the building with furniture, utilities and complete landscaping.

Dennett notes the original plans contained a number of elements that were on a wish list put together by community members and students who were consulted in the design process. Many of these items, including a crow’s nest observation platform, have been deferred to keep costs manageable. As well, many of the service providers have been tapped to provide assistance to the project, with the result that many businesses involved are not even charging for their work.

For example, K. Spence Trucking donated backhoe work for site exploration while SNC-Lavalin Environment and Water put together the reports for the development permit application at no cost, saving the project about $20,000, according to Dennett.

Still, much work needs to be done before construction can start, including receiving city approvals and obtaining the rest of the money.

Is Dennett optimistic? Certainly, given the support that has already been provided.

“Our problem isn’t insurmountable now to start construction. We’re relatively close to that target. I feel by the time we need it, we’ll have it.”

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