Fundraiser benefits Kingfisher

Salmon dinner with a live auction and entertainment at Riverside Hall in Ashton Creek on Sept. 27

  • Sep. 19, 2014 8:00 a.m.

The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society is getting a little help from its friends.

While work continues at the centre to get things back to normal after this spring’s Cooke Creek flood, a group is organizing a fundraiser to help ease the financial strain caused by the disaster.

“We are hosting a salmon dinner with a live auction and entertainment at Riverside Hall in Ashton Creek on Sept. 27,” explained organizer Shelley Verlaan. “We want to do our part to ensure the centre can continue doing its important work.”

The May 2 flood wreaked havoc on the volunteer-run fish hatchery and education centre. Its water system was compromised, much of the building’s contents were damaged, the grounds were filled with silt and debris and the protective berm surrounding the centre on the creek side was undermined.

Key to moving forward is getting the work done to remediate the berm and limit any future damage from high water in the spring.

Shona Bruce, KIC interpreter, said they recently received a Section 9 from the province needed to proceed with the creek work and the society successfully applied for funding from the Pacific Salmon Foundation for $70,000. Another $50,000 of Gas Tax Funds from the Regional District of North Okanagan will also be used to assist with the work.

“We are very grateful for the funding sources as it is critical that we get the bank work done so we can continue raising salmon and educating schoolchildren about salmon and our ecosystem,” Bruce said.

“The support coming from the community is especially gratifying,” she added. “We always work with a core group of volunteers at the centre so it is really nice to see others taking action on their own to help us out.”

Regional District of North Okanagan Area F director Jackie Pearase is assisting with the event and said much more money will be needed to get the work complete.

“The original estimates came in at over $500,000 and although the job might get done for less, there is still a big gap between what they have and what is still required,” Pearase noted.

Verlaan said the centre is a vital regional asset and more money is needed to ensure all the necessary work gets complete. She is hoping to raise $10,000 with the fundraiser.

“The work done at the centre has far-reaching benefits,” she explained. “The centre enhances local education, strengthens ecosystem awareness and responsibility, boosts salmon stocks and improves recreational fishing opportunities, provides jobs and promotes tourism.”

The event will include a delicious salmon dinner, a live auction with some unique items on the block and entertainment.

Tickets are $50, which includes a tax receipt for $25, and can be purchased at Tony O’s and Ashton Creek Store in Enderby and Vernon’s Bean Scene Coffee Shop.

Tickets and information are also available online at www.kingfishercentre.com or by calling 250-838-0282.

Online donations are also greatly appreciated from those unable to attend.