By Gina Forsyth
It’s not unusual for people in their late 60s to kick back, relax, and enjoy their retirement after a life filled with successful, not to mention, tiring work. That’s not for Ken Edgar however, Forklift Operator at Marine Harvest’s processing plant in Klemtu, located on the northern coast of mainland BC.
Since 2005, Ken has been the full-time forklift operator at the processing plant. He’s responsible for moving pallets of packaged salmon from the processing line to Vancouver-bound trailers. He also unloads pallets and empty totes from the incoming trailers. He received his forklift ticket after he was hired and brought to his position many years of experience. “I enjoy the people at work,” said Ken, adding that if he was to give up work now, his life would have less meaning.
Prior to this job, Ken spent years at the aluminum smelter in Kitimat, was a commercial fishermen as well as a logger. Following two years on the Band owned harvest boat ‘Alexis Jane’, Ken applied for a position at the plant.
Ken was born in Bella Bella but is a member of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Band. He and his brothers and sister were brought up in the Klemtu area, where his father worked for many years in the fish cannery.
Ken and his wife Barbara have five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. When not at work, Ken relaxes by fishing and spending lots of time with the grandchildren.
Winnie Robinson is supervisor of the boxing department and the hygiene crew at the processing plant in Klemtu, on BC’s northern coast.
“I’ve been here more than 15 years and have worked my way up to supervisor.” Winnie commented. I ensure that the count of the fish in the boxes is correct as well as iced, lidded, and strapped properly, she added. After the end of each processing shift, Winnie is also responsible for making sure the hygiene crew follows all SOPs so it’s done according to company policy.
Born in Bella Bella, which is a 20 minute plane ride or a couple of hours by boat from her home in Klemtu, Winnie has four children. Her kids, three girls and a boy, range in age from 19 to 24. She recently welcomed a daughter-in-law to the family and enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren. Winnie is eagerly awaiting another grandchild which will make his or her appearance later this year.
When she’s not at work, Winnie is proud to carry on the tradition of her Kitasoo/Xai’xais band elders and creates a variety of art pieces using cedar bark collected in May and June from local trees. These include fans and dream catchers, and other carefully hand-crafted items.
“I sold 12 cedar placemats to a friend of my uncle’s when he went to China a couple of years ago.” said Winnie proudly, adding with a hearty laugh that she thought about labeling them ‘Made in Klemtu’.
“So much of what we get is made in China so I thought it would make for a nice change.”
Winnie has also learned how to can fish, dry seaweed, and freeze herring eggs from elders and has in turn taught her children traditional Kitasoo/Xai’xais ways.
By Gina Forsyth
Published: March 10, 2011 10:00 AM
I and my brother would like to thank all those at Marine Harvest that donated their time and money to help me get to my father’s funeral in Bella Bella. It is comforting to know that in a time of crisis my Marine Harvest family was able to come together and help me wholeheartedly. This help was much appreciated. I would also like to thank the George family in Port Hardy for all their love and support, Harriet, and the Yates funeral home.
Once again thank you for all your love and support.
Glenn Humchitt Jr.