Getting people to Bell-Irving Hatchery in Kanaka Creek Regional Park and teaching them how to keep the watershed clean and healthy,is the top priority for Bell-Irving Hatchery manager Darin McClain.
"Everybody thinks, 'I'm just one person, what could I do?' But I've seen one person with passion put that passion into others and, suddenly, there is two dozen people and amazing things can happen in very short order," McClain said.
"What people need to get out of this is that this is theirs, it's part of the community," he said, gesturing to the construction of the new hatchery on the site where the old one was demolished last September.
The hatchery will be finished in April, hopefully by April 21, in time for the Goodbye Chums event.
Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society (KEEPS) has been providing educational programming to local schools for years and continues to do so during the construction phase of the new hatchery.
The hatchery provides fish eggs to elementary schools in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows school district. After they are hatched, the fry are released into the tributaries of the Kanaka Creek watershed. The hatchery also provides eggs for seven other rivers.
Construction of the hatchery is ongoing. McClain explained the layout of the building, including where the viewing window will be.
By keeping the hatchery building size small, costs will remain low.
"Sure, everybody would like a few extra square feet here and there, but by keeping it tight and compact you can reduce the power that is required to run it," said McClain.
The watershed is unique and planners tried to capitalize on that when they designed the layout for the buildings, explained McClain.
The Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre is planned for next to the hatchery, and will have a clear view of the creek.
"Yes, we are bringing people inside, but we still want that open, in-the-park feeling while conducting programs. We are in such a geologically and ecologically unique watershed," said Darin.
"From Blue Mountain all the way down to river front there is so much to offer," he added.