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Four North Shore residents named to Order of Canada

Four North Shore residents are being honoured for making extraordinary contributions to Canada.
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Four North Shore residents are being honoured for making extraordinary contributions to Canada.

John Clague, Hugo Eppich, Don Mavinic and Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia are among 120 diplomats, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists and philanthropists named to the Order of Canada in a Dec. 28 announcement.

Mavinic, a civil engineering professor at UBC, received the commendation based on his “contributions to environmental engineering science and technology in Canada, notably in the areas of liquid wastewater and residuals management.”

The North Vancouver resident previously received recognition for leading the development of a system to recover phosphates from municipal wastewater systems, which has subsequently been patented and adopted by cities across North America. The reactor alters the PH balance of wastewater and extracts pellets of phosphorus smaller than jelly beans that can be used to fertilize plants.

In 2019, Mavinic advocated for North Vancouver’s forthcoming sewage plant to be upgraded to tertiary. The upgrade would cut down the solids and pharmaceuticals being discharged and bio-accumulating through the food chain.

“Sixty to 70 per cent of those chemicals are actually removed [with tertiary treatment],” Mavinic explained in a 2019 interview with the North Shore News. “They do not show up in the effluent stream.”

Metro Vancouver politicians later voted to upgrade the plant to a tertiary level of treatment at a cost of $29 million.

West Vancouver resident Lisogar-Cocchia earned the order largely for her work founding and running the Pacific Autism Family Network, an organization that offers assistance for people with autism and their families.

Lisogar-Cocchia was also responsible for introducing autism training for the police other first responders around B.C. People with autism can face a greater risk in an emergency due to both an increased sensitivity to their surroundings and a tendency to flee.

In addition to working as CEO of Century Plaza Hotel & Spa, Lisogar-Cocchia served as chairwoman of the Vancouver Board of Trade and was the first female trustee of the Vancouver Police Foundation.

North Vancouver resident Hugo Eppich was named to the Order of Canada “for his forward-thinking leadership in business and for supporting multiculturalism, architecture and the arts.”

Along with his twin brother Helmut and friend Stefan Burger, Eppich incorporated Ebco Industries in 1956. After starting as a small tool and die shop, Ebco evolved into a group of companies that ranged from heavy equipment manufacturing to aerospace technology while employing 900 workers. The company’s multicultural policy earned an award from the federal government in 1990.

In 2013, the Helmut and Hugo Eppich Family Endowment Fund was established at SFU, providing annual scholarships of $1,000 or more for students who achieve academic excellence.

Eppich is also known for commissioning a curving steel and glass British Properties mansion designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.

West Vancouver resident Clague earned the order in recognition for his “contributions to environmental earth sciences and for his impact on the study of natural hazards.”

A Simon Fraser University earth sciences professor, Clague has studied land shifts caused by earthquakes along the West Coast. Along with co-author Bob Turner, Clague also chronicled the geological history of the region with the book Vancouver, City on the Edge.

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