Drawings for Vanderhoof sturgeon rearing facility

Some area residents may be aware that the sturgeon recovery initiatives for this area include plans for a sturgeon hatchery in Vanderhoof.

Some area residents may be aware that the sturgeon recovery  initiatives for this area include plans for a sturgeon hatchery in Vanderhoof.

“A recovery facility is something we need to see happen,” Brian Frenkel said, “over the last seven years that’s been our mandate.”

Frenkel is the chair of the 23-member Community Working Group for the district, which works with the recovery team (now called the Technical Working Group.) From 1994 to 1999, the provincial government undertook a study of white sturgeon in the Nechako River. The study showed that the Nechako white sturgeon were, “in a critical state of decline.”

“Unless something is done, and done soon,” the Nechako white sturgeon recovery panel wrote, “the great creatures will likely go extinct.”

Peter Hardcastle from Hillel architecture showed council his company’s concept drawings for a proposed sturgeon hatchery on February 13 at the Vanderhoof district’s regular council meeting.

The drawings showed how the sturgeon rearing lab will be built in Vanderhoof near the Nechako River in the general area of Rainbow Christian school.

Hardcastle began his presentation by registering his opinion that the hatchery and gathering place have minimal costs compared with their benefits.

“This could be built on the stir-stick budget from big corporate projects (mines and pipelines) like we’re hearing about today,” Hardcastle said.

The architect described how the Recovery Initiative committees helped to design a breeding and holding facility for sturgeon.

He showed drawings of a post/beam and glass fish rearing building along with an outdoor meeting place.

The design for the sturgeon rearing facility he said, will have separate areas for the lab parts with a raised viewing area for the public.

“The gallery balcony allows people to look in without posing any (contamination) risks to the fish,” Hardcastle noted.

He added how the education component of the building will be a major draw for the public and visitors to the Nechako Valley, bringing tours, biology science students and curiosity seekers alike.

“If we can communicate the importance of the sturgeon to people, that knowledge could help save the fish,” the architect said.

He suggested the large-timber open air gallery that is proposed along with the hatchery could be used for a variety of purposes. Not only for visitors to the sturgeon rearing centre, but also a meeting place for local clubs including bird watchers, photo enthusiasts and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

“They might use it as a gathering spot before heading out on their adventures,” Hardcastle suggested.