Samantha Sagmoen and her dad Brad

Samantha Sagmoen and her dad Brad

KEEPS says goodbye, and hello at Maple Ridge hatchery

Hatchery celebrating official opening of new stewardship centre.

The Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society will say goodbye to some friends on April 30, and at the same time welcome the completion of a $1 million building meant to share the good work done at the Bell-Irving Fish Hatchery.

The hatchery on 256th Street in Maple Ridge is the site of the annual Goodbye Chums event, hosted by KEEPS and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.

Visitors can partake in the springtime tradition of releasing chum salmon fry into Kanaka Creek during the free event, Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the hatchery, a kilometer south of Dewdney Trunk Road.

“This year’s event is very special, as it is also the official opening of the Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre,” said Ross Davies, with KEEPS.

The centre includes a classroom and a small kitchen, washrooms, office and a separate storage room.

One feature is known as “roof-to-creek” and diverts rain and filters into the ground so to recharge the water table.

The classroom can accommodate about 35 people, allowing for programming, workshops, board meetings and open houses.

The project included three phases, including a new hatchery building and groundswork.

The new centre is owned by Metro Vancouver parks. Part of the funding for the centre came from a bequest to Metro Vancouver from George Ross, a Burnaby resident.

Ross left $2.8 million for Metro Vancouver parks, and $300,000 of that filled a funding gap for the new classroom.

Check out the new centre and surrounding habitat enhancements or take part in the interactive activities games, storytellers and musical entertainment from The Wilds that will be part of Goodbye Chums, which started around 1985.

An official opening ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m.