Wes Kelly and his son Jake were two of the many locals who made the trip out to Port Refnrew for the Lake Cowichan Kinsmen’s first fishing derby

Wes Kelly and his son Jake were two of the many locals who made the trip out to Port Refnrew for the Lake Cowichan Kinsmen’s first fishing derby

Kinsmen fishing derby reels in $3,800 for Duck Pond playground

Ladies’ Casino Night fundraiser returning in autumn.

The Lake Cowichan Kinsmen have found success with their recent fishing derby in Port Renfrew, and now they’re hoping to make the charity event an annual affair.

The fishing derby took place on July 18 and 19, attracting anglers from Lake Cowichan and around the Island. The Kinsmen managed to raise $3,800 for their own foundation, as well as $1,075 for the local fish hatchery.

“We’re very happy with how the first year turned out,” Dustin Mayo, co-chair for the event, said. “The marina has already sent us an email inviting us back for next year.”

The money raised for the Kinsmen will be going towards funding a new playground structure at the Duck Pond, which Mayo said is overdue for an upgrade due to safety concerns.

“It’s getting older — the last time we did this was in the 90s,” he said. “Eventually you have to catch up with the other playgrounds in the Valley.”

Mayo said the project is expected to cost around $60,000, though he also noted that there are several options available to the Kinsmen, and the total cost will be decided when they are closer to reaching their goal.

Along with raising money for the Kinsmen Foundation, the anglers of the event were also able to take home part of the pot. Jamie McAllan took home $1,800 with a 29lbs 1oz catch, Kevin McKenna received $800 for a 26lbs 9oz fish and Cam Hamilton took the third place prize of $400 after reeling in a 25lbs 8oz fish.

Along with paying for new playground equipment at the Duck Pond, funds from the Kinsmen Foundation will also go towards annual projects such as the Christmas hampers and youth summer programs, as well as paying for equipment for adults with special needs, such as wheelchairs, tablets used to aid speech and “anything else that improves their quality of life.”

Another successful Kinsmen fundraiser, the Ladies’ Casino Night, will also be returning this fall. Last year’s event was a hit with over 100 women turning up for a night of casino games, dinner and live entertainment. The event started last year after demand for a female counterpart of the Men’s Casino Night, which the Kinsmen have been hosting for several decades.

“We’ve been asked for years to do a ladies’ night,” Mayo said.

The Kinsmen will also be hosting a golf tournament at March Meadows on September 12. The 18-hole tournament will also include a dinner and door prizes. Tickets will be $100 or $60 for members.

To get involved with the Lake Cowichan Kinsmen, email Steve Dinsmore at steve-830@hotmail.com. Mayo said that the Kinsmen are also planning on launching a new website soon.