A successful grant application made by the A Rocha Buck Creek/Canfor salmon hatchery now means it’ll be installing solar panels to provide power to the facility.
“We received the full amount we asked for,” said A Rocha’s Cindy Verbeek of the $25,000 submission made to the Farm Credit Canada’s Agrispirit program earlier this year.
“It will cover a system that will provide 50 per cent of what we expect to need with the ability to add on in the future.”
The application was aided by the District of Houston which agreed to act as a conduit for the grant — the money will flow to the District which will then forward it to A Rocha.
In the meantime, the expansion of the hatchery building to provide a nature centre and meeting space is going well.
“We are working on the siding and landscaping and then the outside will be done. Now that we know we have funding for solar I will be getting this ball rolling ASAP,” said Verbeek.
“We are hoping to be able to work on the inside over the next month or so including insulation, drywalling etc. It’s hard to know when it will be complete as we are depending on a lot of volunteer labour for the inside which can be challenging to coordinate.”
For the moment, Verbeek is focused on getting broodstock for the hatchery, a task that limits her time in coordinating construction volunteers.
“But we can work away at it slowly even once the snow flies and hopefully we will be up and running at the latest by next spring,” she said.
The coho hatchery’s current structure was opened in Sept. 2017 on land donated by Canfor, replacing a tent and shed.
Planning then started for Phase II, an expansion to further develop the hatchery as an education and conservation centre. Work on the expansion began this past June.
An initial concept costing an estimated $300,000 was scaled down to approximately $200,000 and with that latter amount now within reach thanks to donations of monetary or in-kind commitments, construction has now started.
The expansion consists of a 30 foot by 30 foot indoor display/activity space and a 20 foot by 30 foot covered outdoor display/activity space.
A Rocha as an international organization which first took root in Portugal — the name means “the rock” in Portuguese and has been working in Houston since 2003.