A host of people gathered in Qualicum Beach on Sunday, Sept. 23 to remember and hounour a longtime advocate for wild salmon habitat from the Englishman River to Little Qualicum River watersheds.
Faye Smith, co-founder of the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers, passed away in March 2017, leaving behind a legacy that will be forever remembered through the town’s new Seaside Park Faye Smith Rosenblatt Memorial Pavilion.
Located along the Island Highway past Crescent Road West in Qualicum Beach, the upgraded Brant viewing area includes interpretive signage, new benches and landscaping. The official opening and dedication took place on Sept. 23, but the pavilion was open to the public in mid-August.
Qualicum Beach’s town council approved supporting the viewing area upgrade project up to $100,000, while the City of Parksville agreed to provide $2,500, adding to the Streamkeepers’ nearly $90,000. Once finished, the Streamkeepers will transfer ownership of the pavilion to the town.
Along with the town, the Streamkeepers collaborated with Arrowsmith Naturalists, Smith’s family and others to repurpose the viewing location to make it an interpretive destination.
Jesse Recalma of the Qualicum First Nation will create artwork for the new viewing area.
Among the many advocates, government representatives, family and friends of Faye Smith who attended the dedication ceremony, was MLA for Parksville Qualicum Michelle Stilwell who said the memorial pavilion will serve as an educational tool for the youth in the community.
“Faye loved getting involved with the youth and educating them and inspiring them and it was her knowledge and her experience that she brought to the youth in our community who will for generations be able to come here and recognize and remember that incredible woman,” Stilwell said.
Gord Johns, MP for Courtenay-Alberni, said the pavilion is an important new staple for Qualicum Beach that will be a reminder “of the work Faye did.”
Smith was instrumental in the formation of the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers Society in 1995. During the next five years she worked with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Town of Qualicum Beach and other partners to open fish passages to local creeks and to remove a dam on Whiskey Creek.
In 2001, Smith joined the Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society as a co-ordinator for the fie-year, $1,000,000 Englishman River Recovery Project.
Scott Fraser agreed that Smith’s legacy will be remembered through the new area.
“We’re all here because we recognize Faye shone above so many in her care for the community, the environment and the ecosystem,” Fraser said.
“This legacy is fitting and I’m sure she is so pleased to see us all here…to recognize we’re all part of what Faye did.”