Fishing for community spirit

Colin MacLean
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KENSINGTON – As the fish were released into the pond, the kids couldn’t hold back their excitement.

Staff and students from Fun Times Daycare watch as trout are released into the Alysha Toombs Memorial Park pond in Kensington. The fish came from GJL Aquaculture from Charlo, New Brunswick. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer

“I saw a fish, I saw a fish,” shrieked one little girl.

“Wow! They’re so big. What kind of fish are they? Why are you moving them into the water? How many do you have” gibbered a boy who couldn’t seem to ask questions fast enough.

As he watched the proceedings, Kensington Police Chief Lewis Sutherland stood off to one side of the Alysha Toombs Memorial Park pond with a grin on his face.

This is exactly what he’d been hoping for.

Sutherland has been extra busy lately, helping to organize the Kensington Police Services Annual Fishing Derby and Wednesday was stocking day.

Some kinds from the nearby Fun Times Daycare walked over to the pond with their handlers to take it all in.

The derby is all about the kids, said Sutherland, and he’s hopeful a few of the ones watching on Wednesday will show up with their families Saturday or Sunday for the event.

In the years since the police service has been putting on the derby, it’s provided not only a fun family activity but also an opportunity for the town to meet their police officers. That connection is invaluable, said Sutherland

 “It pays dividends when the kids get out of elementary school and get into high school. They call me by my first name … and we’ve developed a really good report,” he said.

Registration for the derby starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and fishing starts at 9 a.m. There will be a free barbeque throughout the day. Fishing is open to anyone under 18 years old only.

Sunday is family fishing day. The same start and registration times apply, but anyone is welcome to throw in a line. Fishing is free for both days.

Sutherland recommends that the anglers come early as it can get quite crowded around the pond by casting time.

Regular attendees will notice a lot more big fish this year, he added, as some new sponsorships have allowed him to purchase larger fish, including about 200 weighing between two and four pounds.

Sponsors this year are The Journal Pioneer, the Malpeque Bay Credit Union and the P.E.I. Wildlife Conservation Fund. 

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

@JournalPMacLean

Organizations: Kensington Police Services Annual Fishing Derby, Conservation Fund

Geographic location: Kensington, Alysha Toombs Memorial Park, Malpeque Bay

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