Great Salmon Send-Off event makes a splash in Burnaby
Giving back to communities where our upgrade projects are located is important to us. One of the ways we do that is by supporting and participating in local events—such as The Great Salmon Send-off, hosted by the Stoney Creek Environment Committee (SCEC). This grass-roots Burnaby event celebrates and showcases the importance of Stoney Creek as a salmon-bearing stream.
Great Salmon Send-off
Under hot, sunny skies crowds of excited kids and adults walked down a tree-lined trail to the banks of Stoney Creek where they were handed clear plastic bags filled with water and shiny silver coho salmon smolts. One by one, they carefully released their juvenile salmon into the creek.
An estimated 2,000 people attended this year’s Great Salmon Send-off on May 11 near Stoney Creek Community School. In addition to releasing salmon smolts, attendees also enjoyed live music and visiting exhibitors’ displays for games and giveaways.
The SCEC holds this family friendly event to help create awareness of the creek within the community and its importance to returning salmon, says John Templeton, past president of the SCEC. “There are over 90 creeks in Burnaby and less than 10 per cent have returning salmon,” says John. “It’s vital that we continue to host events like this to create awareness and get young children interested, as they are our future stream-keepers.”
The SCEC is a registered non-profit society run by a dedicated group of volunteers who are committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing the natural habitat and wildlife of the Stoney Creek watershed. “We have to find funding to cover the cost of things like tent rentals, security and supplies,” he says. “Without the support of sponsors such as FortisBC, we wouldn’t be able to host this event.”
Ongoing community investment
The Great Salmon Send-Off is one of approximately 90 community events we’re proud to support every year as part of our gas line upgrades. As the FortisBC Gas Line Upgrades continue in 2019, so will our support of the communities where we’re working.
We also recently supported Neighbour Day on May 26. The annual event is an important community-building opportunity for the Oakdale neighbourhood in Coquitlam, says Roxanne Sturdy, director of the Oakdale Neighbourhood Association—literally a chance for everyone to get to know their neighbours.
“The purpose of the Oakdale Neighbourhood Association is to look out for the needs and interests of everyone living in the Oakdale area,” Roxanne explains. “We organize events, inform residents of changes in the community and advocate to maintain our parks and friendly, peaceful neighbourhood. FortisBC's reliable contribution to our annual Neighbour Day event means our organization can continue to thrive and be effective.”
Since 2018, FortisBC has invested close to $200,000 in community engagement activities in Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam—all communities where our upgrade construction has taken place.
Attending and sponsoring community events, including our public information sessions, has given us the opportunity to interact with more than 10,000 members of the community, share project updates and hear from them directly about their unique concerns. Their valuable feedback has helped us with our upgrade project planning, including adding extra speed readers in traffic hot spots and adjusting worksite boundaries to improve access to local businesses.