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International Marine spruces up Derek Point with trees and flowers

Posted By WAYNE CAMPBELL Tribune Staff
PORT COLBORNE - For Wayne Elliott, Derek Point is his favourite spot in Port Colborne. The park overlooks the junction of the old and new canals in Humberstone. "It's the best spot in the St. Lawrence Seaway for watch ships," said the owner of the International Marine Group family of companies. He has a special interest in the point. He helped to create and finance the park and his companies help keep it up. He named it in memory of Derek Zavitz. The 18-year-old who worked with the company for a short time was killed on an education around-the-world voyage in 1996. Zavitz, a popular young Port Colborne man well known in local sports was thrown off the ship by an explosion from a welding mishap off the coast of Australia.
"You just never know," said Elliott reflecting on the accident. The sailing ship, the SV Concordia was unlucky, he said. Earlier this year it sank off the coast of South America but all the staff and students survived. Derek Point and Memorial Garden was built in 2002 to 2003 by the company from an industrial ruin. "It was Tom Lannan's idea. He brought me out here," Elliott said about the property littered with broken stone and industrial waste from an operation that was related to the Robin Hood mill across the old canal from the point.
"We brought in 200 dump truck loads of fill to level the site," said Elliott. "The city was very good about letting us do the project." Each year staff of the three related salvage companies – Marine Recycling Corporation, International Marine Salvage Inc. and Raw Materials Company Inc. - organize a work party to add to the park. On Saturday, they cleaned trash, broken bottle and litter from the site, trimmed the grass and planted bushes, trees and flowers. It's a chance for everyone to get together, help the environment, improve the park and have a barbecue," said Elliott.
The companies recycle thousands of tonnes of scrap metals, oils, chemicals, mercury, lead and wastes such as batteries, light tubes and electronics. "We are in the recycling business," said Elliott. Through its Green Tree program it has planted about a thousand trees through a formula based on the number of tonnes it has recycled and diverted from landfill sites. The program includes plantings at schools.
Part of the recycling involves Derek Point. Taking apart old ships is one of the companies chores. It has used marine items to give the park a nautical theme especially in relation to Derek Zavitz. He worked with a crew one summer that towed three ships to the salvage yard. Items from those three ships SS Cedarglen, SS Willowglen and SS Beachglen – Port Colborne fairlead, bulworks and deck plate are part of a display.
Other items include bollards, masts, anchor winch, wheelhouse brow and a section of deck. It has also put in picnic tables. Elliott said his companies will continue to develop the park including planting more trees. The park includes the canal side recreation trail and the has limited vehicle access into the point. Elliott said he would like to see arrangements made so seniors and other with limited mobility could come in to enjoy the view of passing ships and picnic in the area. The park has suffered some vandalism including damage to signs, said Elliott about repairs that have been done. "You just wonder about some people," he said.
One of the features of the park is a mast with a steel letters Derek Point as well as a sign explaining the park, which includes a school report Zavitz did during his school voyage.
Article ID# 2600416