Trout pond eyed for next to SCWA hatchery

The Spruce City Wildlife Association wants to build a fishing pond next to its River Road hatchery and stock it with trout.

Anyone who walks by the spot as they make their way along the Cottonwood Island trail will "hear what sounds like a waterfall," SCWA director John Irving told city council during a presentation on Monday night.

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It comes from the water it pumps out of its three registered wells. It flows through the hatchery's fish tanks and then straight into the Nechako at as much as 1,000 litres per minute.

"When I was thinking about that, I was thinking that's kind of a waste," Irving said. "We could reuse this water and flow it through a stream feature, a pond and then into the Nechako."

The water is ready-made for a fish habitat, he suggested, noting it would be "nice and cool and aerated."

The trout would come from B.C. Freshwater Fisheries Society, which is also the source of fish the SCWA uses to stock Shane and Ferguson lakes.

The pond would be at the centre of a small park with picnic benches and outhouses. A community garden is also a possibility

The pond would be drawn down in the winter when it is not holding any fish. A "french drain" would be installed to allow the water to flow out while still preventing the fish from escaping.

Response from the community has been encouraging. Local contractors have offered to donate time and equipment and the SCWA hopes to get engineering and other services on a donated basis.

But it hinges on getting permission from authorities, particularly the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, although Irving doubted that will be a problem, noting that similar ponds are in place in Abbotsford and Clearwater.

The SCWA is asking the City to provide "park-like" maintenance of the site. Council referred the request to staff for a report.

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