Kingfisher Interpretive Centre hit hard by flood

Water and debris surrounds and engulfs the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre after Cooke Creek breached its banks. - Regional District of North Okanagan photo
Water and debris surrounds and engulfs the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre after Cooke Creek breached its banks.
— image credit: Regional District of North Okanagan photo

The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre is down, but not out.

The centre, which has promoted environmental awareness and healthy salmon stocks since 1981, sustained significant damage when Cooke Creek burst, causing flooding and a landslide, May 2.

“We’re looking at the positive and not getting all bummed out,” said Neil Brookes, education co-ordinator.

The far-reaching scope of the non-profit society’s programs has been evident since the disaster.

“There are hundreds of people who have offered to clean up but we’re not ready for that yet,” said Brookes.

“We need to assess things still.”

Significant erosion has occurred on the property and mud and water breached the hatchery building.  Debris abounds, but most importantly, the water intake was destroyed.

About 48,000 Chinook salmon fry had to be released into the Shuswap River Saturday. Usually they are held in troughs and fed until being introduced to the river at the end of June.

“They would have died in the troughs because there was no water going in,” said Brookes.

Field trips have been cancelled this week and future programs with students who have been raising fry at their schools may be relocated to the Enderby Chamber of Commerce.

Learn to Fish has also been cancelled, but Brookes insists the centre’s mandate will continue.

“We are one of the few places that provides ecosystem understanding and appreciation,” he said.

“We hope to start in the fall and take eggs again.”

Along with elbow grease, about $250,000 will be needed to restore the centre to its previous status.

“Insurance may or may not cover some of the things we love,” said Brookes, adding that the non-profit society is considering other funding sources.

“It will happen but it will take time.”

Brookes is overwhelmed by the public’s concern since the landslide.

“We are a resilient community. We’ll move forward,” he said.


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