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Spawning channel officially opens

by J.P. Squire
Courier Staff
September 26, 1988

“Four years from now, we’ll see the results,” said Kelowna Mayor Jim Stuart Saturday, as he officially opened a $150,000-plus kokanee spawning channel.

The mayor predicted there will be four or five times as many fish in the Mission Creek Regional Park channel when the offspring of this year’s kokanee return to the creek.

During a brief ceremony at the Springfield Road park, Ron Taylor, president of the Oceola Fish and Game Club of Winfield, paid tribute to Gordon MacKinnon and Pat Field.

MacKinnon, a habitat technician with the Environment Ministry office in Penticton, proposed the spawning channel. Field, who works for the B.C. Conservation Foundation, implemented the concept.

The Oceola club launched a fundraising campaign by donating $6,000, and later kicked in another $4,100. The province’s Habitat Conservation Fund contributed $25,000. The B.C. Conservation Foundation obtained a total of $82,000, and Field personally raised another $58,000.

The Kelowna and District Fish. and Game Club donated $10,000 and the Lonely Loon Flyfishers Society, $1,000.

Field noted the involvement of all four levels of government, two private foundations, 14 corporate sponsors and about 200 citizens who worked “two months solid” to construct it.

The spawning channel “is a first for the area,” said Taylor, but “it won’t be the last. I’m sure of that.”

George Tinling, representing the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, noted the kokanee spawning run is unique to the Interior.

The mayor joked the city can’t find the water licences it promised to donate, another first, but would turn them over as soon as they are located. On a serious note, he said, “Everyone involved in the project had pride in it.” Cliff Serwa (Social Credit-Okanagan South) said. “It is the first time kokanee have spawned in the channel since l948.”

Stuart and Serwa unveiled a plaque bonded to a rock at the entrance to a channel walkway.