Photo Caption: Fish & Game Association members clip the adipose fins from Trent River Coho fry before they are released. This mark lets anglers know these are hatchery fish, which can be kept where regulations allow.

The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the Courtenay and District Fish & Game Protective Association (Fish & Game Association) have reached an agreement that will see the CVRD acquire a key piece of land and statutory rights-of-way needed for the construction of key infrastructure for the new Comox Valley Water Treatment Project. In exchange, the CVRD will provide the raw water needed for the Fish & Game Association’s proposed hatchery project.

“This land acquisition marks a significant milestone for the Comox Valley Water Treatment Project following the recent federal-provincial grant funding announcement,” said Bob Wells, Chair of the Comox Valley Water Committee. “This agreement is a win-win for the community, enabling construction of key infrastructure for the project while providing the Fish & Game Association with the means to move its environmentally significant hatchery project forward.”

“Our plan is to produce 100,000 Coho annually once our hatchery is operational; half for the Trent River and half for the Puntledge River to provide sports fishing opportunities for the Comox Valley long into the future. Access to the cool water from the depths of the lake is crucial to this program” said Wayne White, Chair of the Conservation Committee for Courtenay and District Fish & Game Protective Association.

The agreement provides a location for the raw water pump station, marine pipeline, and raw water pipeline for the Comox Valley’s new water system. In lieu of receiving money for the property and rights-of-way, the Fish & Game Association will receive raw water from the pump station for their proposed hatchery project and fire protection system, as well as an emergency access point to their campground and boat launch area.

“We are members of the  Comox Valley community and are pleased to assist in the stewardship of the watershed while promoting conservation practices that will benefit the community,” said Fred Bates, President, Courtenay and District Fish & Game Protective Association.

The Courtenay and District Fish & Game Protective Association has been a long-term partner on the Comox Valley Water Treatment Project. The Fish & Game Association hosted CVRD water testing equipment on its property for over eight years, which has been critical in developing the specifications for the new water treatment plant. The CVRD is pleased to continue this partnership by providing raw water to the new hatchery. After 20 years, the Fish & Game Association will assume responsibility for the cost of raw water and any maintenance or replacement of infrastructure required to supply the hatchery and fire hydrants with water.

The CVRD Water Committee approved the agreement in principle in July 2018. The necessary legal agreement is now executed, which allows the CVRD to complete the necessary surveys to officially transfer the parcel of land and register the rights-of-ways.

 

Charlie Gore

Manager, Capital Projects, Comox Valley Regional District