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Hatchery still waiting on water decision

Nile Creek proponents brief Conservative Lunney
Ken Kirkby

During the election he doesn’t have any real authority, MP James Lunney points out, but he called the Nile Creek Hatchery a “showcase example, a model we’re trying to encourage for other areas.”

Ken Kirkby, past president The Nile Creek Enhancement Society (NCES) gave Lunney a tour of the facility Wednesday as the society waits to hear if they will be allowed to keep the fish in the hatchery alive with water taken out of the creek without their own formal license.

The successful Qualicum Bay hatchery was started in 1995 by locals to bring back a sub-species of the sea-run cutthroat, known locally as yellow bellies and have returned close to 200,000 fish in the last two years alone.

The hatchery has operated on a water license belonging to the Qualicum Bay Horne Lake Waterworks District due to several complications, including non-profits getting their own license.

According to Gordon Lundine chair of the waterworks district, they met two years ago with NCES and various government agencies and gave NCES two years to sort out the license.

“What we have here is something of substance that doesn’t cost the state,” Kirkby said, clearly frustrated, indicating the issue ties in closely with general water security and community issues throughout the region.

“You can get along without gas if you have to, but not water.”

Kirkby recently stepped down as president to focus on this current crisis, he said. He is optimistic they will be able to work out the issue, but there was no news on a new agreement by deadline Thursday.

Lunney said he likes the way the society has dealt with the local issue, with very little government money, as an example that other similar groups could use.