The Town of Gibsons will throw its support behind efforts to improve salmon access to Gibsons Creek, council agreed on Jan. 15.
Biologist Paul van Poppelen, who made the request on behalf of the Squamish Nation, said a joint approach “could potentially be very helpful” in obtaining provincial funding for the project. A similar request was slated to go before the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) board on Jan. 17.
The need for improvements follows the unexpected run of pink salmon in Gibsons Creek in 2011 after their reintroduction to Gibsons Harbour by the Sunshine Coast Salmonid Enhancement Society in previous years.
“In September 2011 our harbour was churning with fish attempting to find a stream to access, which even included the drainpipes along the sea wall,” parks and community services director Wendy Gilbertson reported to council.
In the case of Gibsons Creek, staff and volunteers were enlisted to help the salmon enter a culvert under Marine Drive to continue upstream to spawn.
Gilbertson noted that within the first 1,000 metres from its mouth, Gibsons Creek runs through Squa-mish Nation (Chekwelp), the Town and the SCRD, while the culvert under Marine Drive falls under Ministry of Transportation and Infra-structure jurisdiction.
In his letter to council, van Poppelen said the work required to restore Gibsons Creek to its status as a salmon stream “is relatively simple although not cheap.”
While the Squamish Nation’s plans for Chekwelp include a significant budget for restoration work to the riparian area, some work to the stream itself is needed, he wrote.
“The [grant-funded] pink release program in Gibsons Harbour in 2013, aiming to establish an odd-year pink run, introduces an extra degree of urgency,” he added.
Council agreed to send a letter to Chief Gibby Jacob to confirm the Squamish Nation’s interest in the project and stating the Town’s willingness to participate.
No funding is being requested at this time.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month in Gibsons and organizer Valerie Mason-John said the occasion will be celebrated with the launch of The Great Black North, the first-ever African-Canadian anthology of contemporary poetry.
Co-edited by Mason-John, the anthology features three Sunshine Coast poets: Jean-Pierre Makosso and Bertha Clark of Gibsons and Lorna Goodison of Halfmoon Bay.
The launch will include a “landmark event” at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery on Feb. 20, Mason-John told Gibsons council on Jan. 15. Also during the month, African-Canadian poets will give readings at Coast schools, she added.
Mayor Wayne Rowe signed the proclamation and presented it to a delegation that included Mason-John, Makosso, Clark and Congolese-Canadian actress Yvette Bouiti Makosso, who recently joined her husband in Gibsons.
The delegation, Mason-John quipped, presumably made history by appearing in the council chamber, “because there haven’t been four black people in here at one time.”
Mason-John requested $500 to help defray some of the event’s cost, and Rowe pledged a contribution from the Town.
Lighting up the Landing
Council’s committee of the whole has endorsed a staff recommendation to install LED lights on street trees along Marine Drive and Gower Point Road, at an estimated cost of $5,000.
There are about 50 street trees from the post office to the bus shelter on the Town’s northern boundary, Gilbertson reported to the committee on Jan. 15.
“Having the street trees lit with white lights will add brightness and a sense of security to the Landing area, and is most pleasing, especially during the drearier times of year,” she reported.
The committee also recommended council extend the time for Landing merchants to access light standards for seasonal street tree lighting this year, while the Town should work with Landing merchants to develop a coordinated approach to lighting for future years.