In Members’ Statements I offered a few words to mark the passing of my friend, community advocate, and environmental activist Denis Coupland who passed away on February 18, 2023.
Mr. Speaker, I was elected in November 2008. That night I received a phone call from Denis Coupland.
Now I was a Councillor-elect in the District of Central Saanich, Denis wanted to waste no time to introduce me to the important work that he and hundreds of volunteers had been doing to protect, enhance, and repair our wetlands, creeks, streams, and shorelines of the Saanich Peninsula.
We met for a beer at the Prairie Inn. Denis was the first person I met in my new role; he was there to lobby me on behalf of Peninsula Streams. He was direct. They needed me to continue to support their request for a Grant-in-Aid.
Over the years, I came to know Denis as a friend, and a passionate advocate and activist, defending biodiversity. Denis was a voice that nature doesn’t have.
His involvement in the Hagan/KENNES Watershed, working closely with my WSANEC relatives, inspired the effort to change the name on the map to reflect its name KENNES. Denis understood there is more to a name than the word.
When I became the MLA, Denis emailed me to ask about dates for the Saanich Inlet Roundtable, making sure he coordinated the voices of the Saanich Inlet was heard during the legislative break weeks.
“I want a date when you’re not in the legislature, so you don’t have an excuse to miss the roundtable,” he wrote to me.
Whether it’s fiercely defending the Saanich Inlet, stream keeping, shore keeping, restoring wetlands, removing invasive species Denis Coupland was a driving force on the ground and around the board table.
Denis Coupland passed away on February 18, 2023.
On behalf of all our friends and fellow volunteers, to Denis’ family – Jason, Kristen, James, and Aiden – our community and our environment is better because of your father and grandfather. HISWKE!