The cocktail hour during the 2012 Ducks Unlimited banquet.

Creston Ducks Unlimited chapter preparing for annual banquet

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  • Sep. 2, 2012 11:00 a.m.

After nearly three decades, the Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) banquet is a fall tradition, and tickets are now on sale for the 28th, which will be held Oct. 13 at the Creston and District Community Complex.

The popular fundraiser hosted by the Creston chapter will follow the same format as previous banquets — cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, then dinner followed by live and silent auctions — but the impact is even more visible, now that DUC is slated to take control of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA).

“Under the new agreement between the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Act is slated to be rescinded and management of our wildlife area will be restructured,” said Creston DUC spokesperson Lou Knafla. “The creation of the new management structure for the wildlife area will also involve input from our community.”

The change may not happen until after next year’s provincial election, but in the meantime, DUC will be investing $600,000 on major upgrades to existing water control structures and upgrading the dikes starting this month. The aspects that require upgrades will be highlighted at the banquet in a 15-minute slide presentation by CVWMA biologist Marc-André Beaucher.

“A lot of the equipment is so old,” said Knafla. “They do little fixes here and there. Some major channels need to be redredged, and some pumphouses need to be rebuilt.”

And even though the CVWMA is a Ramsar-designated wetland of international importance, “it hasn’t had the quality of other Ramsar sites,” said Knafla. “As it progresses, we’ll have something to really show off.”

Those projects will be helped out by the funds raised at the banquet, which has an extra event added last year, a high-flyer challenge. This year, there will be 13 auctions on 13 two-piece premier luggage sets. Each winner will then be eliminated until one is left, and chooses a trip to one of five locales, including New York/Broadway, Cape Canaveral and Napa Valley. For those not actually taking part, “it’s as much fun to watch,” Knafla said.

Beyond that, there are the tasty buffet with three meats, salads and desserts whipped up by caterer Carol Huscroft, all of that following the cocktail hour that allows up to 236 guests to socialize — one of the most anticipated parts of the evening.

“There’s a lot of chatter that goes on in that hour,” said Knafla.

Tickets for the banquet are $40, available at Mawson’s Sports or from committee chair Gertie Brown. An early bird draw will be held Sept. 15, and the winner will receive a print of a red fox coming out of its lair by Denis Mayer.

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