By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Independent
Thanks to the generous donation of a yet unnamed resident, the summer village of Rochon Sands has a new attraction.
The eight-metre long replica of a northern pike jackfish was installed near the summer village marina on June 23rd. The foam and steel replica was created by the team from Dinosaur Valley Studios in East Coulee, near Drumheller.
“(The resident) tasked us, saying he would donate the money, but ‘you guys would be the project manager’,” said Rochon Sands Chief Administrative Officer Jason Olson.
“My first thought was, where can I find someone in Alberta to build the big thing.”
Olson’s search led him to Dinosaur Valley Studios and the team headed by Frank Hadfield.
“Frank came up and mocked us up a little scale model. The resident came in and gave us the go ahead to proceed,” said Olson.
Dinosaur Valley Studios was the project creator; however, they were not the only Alberta business to be featured in the model.
“The hardest part was to make it life-like,” said Olson.
“He’s got a curve to his body that looks like he’s dancing out of the water. (We decided) if he’s coming out of the water, make it look like he’s on a line. We put a fishhook in his mouth.”
Not just any generic fish hook was used for the project, but the venerable, trademarked, five-of-diamonds lure produced by Len Thompson Fishing Lures of Lacombe, a 91-one-year-old Alberta company.
“Thompson gave us their blessing, and gave their patent permission,” said Olson.
“It was interesting, because we put up the world’s largest lure, that is Guinness certified, last year. When they approached us, we kind of laughed about putting up all these large objects around Alberta,” said Jessica Pallister-Dew of Len Thompson Lures.
Pallister is the granddaughter of founder of the company, Len Thompson, and she works at the business with her brother.
“I think that our brand is so ingrained in the prairies, we’re very honoured that they chose us.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic, there are currently no plans to have an official unveiling of the project, and for the time being the name of the donor is not being announced.
A ‘grand opening’ of the attraction could occur in 2021 provided the pandemic lifts by then, however plans are currently under way for some sort of acknowledgement to the resident who donated the funds for the project.
“We want to give recognition to our resident for his monetary donation. You could quite imagine this thing is worth a lot of money. A lot of work and a lot of effort went into this, and it turned out fantastic,” said Olson.
“Nobody’s tax dollars (were used); it was completely paid for by a resident donation.”
The summer village has already seen an increase of traffic thanks to the attraction, and at the time of writing the Rochon Sands Facebook page was in excess of 58,000 views, with people checking out the creation.