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Oct 11 2006 Media Release

Vancity turns 60 – celebrates with a massive invasive species removal at GVRD’s Iona Beach Regional Park

Richmond, BC – October 11, 2006 – Vancity is marking 60 years of giving back to the community. And, to celebrate, more than 200 employees are spending the day at Iona Beach Regional Park ridding the area of superweeds that are threatening to turn the park into a biological desert.

The removal project was organized in partnership with Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), the Vancouver Aquarium’s River Works program and the Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council.

For Vancity CEO Dave Mowat, it’s the perfect way to spend Vancity’s anniversary.

"We were looking for a project that we could really sink our teeth into – that would allow us to celebrate as an organization and work with our community partners to do something that would have a positive impact for years to come," Mowat says.

A recreational paradise for walkers, cyclists and bird lovers, Iona Beach Regional Park has been described as an ecological treasure. It’s one of the best sites in North America to study shore birds and one of the few places in Southwestern BC with rare sand dune habitat. Scotch broom, an evergreen shrub, is the primary target today. A dense blanket of this superweed threatens the dynamic processes needed for sand dune formation. In addition, the roots release chemicals into the sand that inhibit growth of native dune plants.

GVRD Parks Committee Chair Gayle Martin says the removal of Scotch broom at Iona Beach Regional Park is important in preserving rare and spectacular habitat in the region.

"Iona is a gem and we’re grateful to Vancity employees and partners for coming out today and helping to restore the park’s habitat for the birds, bugs and wildlife that live there. GVRD thanks you, and our park visitors thank you."

"Important work, great community partners AND I get to use a weed wrench! I can’t think of a better way to spend Vancity’s birthday," Mowat grins.

Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $11.8 billion in assets, more than 340,000 members, and 46 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria, as well as two Squamish Savings branches. This year, Vancity was named the Best Place to Work in Canada by Canadian Business Magazine and is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet.