Editorial                                                             Friday April 30th 2010

 

Desperate For Dirt

The ALC accuses Chilliwack of inappropriate administration of agricultural land

Craig Hill/Voice

Revised Saturday, May 1

 

The big story in the city yesterday was more of a non-story – for now. The reason it was a non-story is because there were just questions and no answers until the City of Chilliwack meets with the Agricultural Land Commission in two weeks regarding what the latter says are "inconsistencies" with sixty-six of 147 boundary adjustment subdivision decisions made by the council of the day, between 1991 and 2009.

 

Chilliwack Mayor, Sharon Gaetz, faced her first real scrutiny, since being elected, at an impromptu media conference Thursday, which she called in order to get a handle on a story that was beginning to spin wildly out of control.

 

Despite hungry wolves at her door, Gaetz was no Little Red Riding Hood lost in the forest during the media scrum and effectively dealt with the testosterone percolating in the meeting room where she was grilled by television reporters and local media desperate for dirt, and determined to get it – by hook or by crook. Lord forbid they should return to their respective newsrooms with a one-line story, which is all it was.

 

Most of the questions were ones that Gaetz could not comment on, and media were already jumping the gun, walking a fine line between direct accusations and insinuations about personal gains from border adjustments of the sixty-six properties involved in the ALC report.

 

The ALC's mandate is to preserve farm land and encourage agricultural use of land within First Nations communities and in the Fraser Valley.

 

The ALC review was "to determine if the subdivisions complied with the Agricultural Land Commission Act and the subdivision criteria prescribed in ALR regulations" which seemed to come about as a result of  John Les getting caught up in the RCMP dragnet when an investigation was initiated into his land dealings while mayor of Chilliwack.

 

The shell-shocked Les, later resigned as Solicitor General. He chose to  dance in the dragon's jaws when he was mayor. His land holdings registered to numbered companies makes one wonder if more mud will well up and more ships will be holed as the investigation unfolds.

 

Meanwhile, Les remains Liberal MLA for Chilliwack and will have to sit tight due to the latest developments which now involve the city. It will mean he will have to wait until blame can be properly established through the upcoming meetings with the ALC and the City of Chilliwack and with the conclusion of the RCMP investigation..

 

News reports said the ALC had indicated they weren't aware of amendments which Chilliwack council made to land use policy in order to accommodate new subdivisions. According to the Commission, those who's property had boundary adjustments made, "reaped financial windfalls."

 

It would seem then that the ALC is at least partially to blame for the mess Chilliwack City Hall finds themselves in, just through their own admission of ignorance, regarding what the the local council was doing with land that is supposed to be under their stewardship. In other words the ALC wasn't doing their job for ten-years.

 

Gaetz said that the boundary adjustments were made to encourage smaller "mom and pop operations" which might be the sticking point in the ALC report.

 

There is nothing conclusive about the report and blame can't be established as of yet. The word "inconsistency", which was used throughout the briefing, will have to be taken at face value for now until more information is made available in two or three weeks. And, if it turns out that everyone involved is lying, then there will be hell to pay for it, perhaps even political careers shot.

 

Don't forget that a finger or two can also be pointed at bureaucrats like Grant Sanborn, no longer a city employee, who work quietly behind the scenes making recommendations to city council and one has to wonder what he gained, if anything, from the sixty-six properties in question.

 

City councils rely heavily on their staff to supply them with accurate and up-to-date information and unless otherwise proven, it's the staff who were at fault for their misdirected advisories not city council.

 

Chilliwack Real Estate has been booming for the last few years and isn't showing any signs of letting up. In order to accommodate growth, the city has to expand. Instead of encroaching onto the Lower Mainland's bread basket, developers and the municipality should turn their gazes upward not outward.

 

The properties listed in the ALC report were not available for viewing on their website Friday.

 

                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 

Local News                                                    Thursday April 29th 2010

Community Safety

 

Upper Prairie Rd. To Get New Rail Crossing Guard

The federal government looks at saving lives across the country

Staff/Voice

 

In a press release issued Thursday, Chuck Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, announced that the feds are chipping in $175,280 for a new crossing guard on Upper Prairie Rd. which will end up costing $219,000.

 

In an effort to reduce fatalities at crossings, the Conservatives have committed nearly $11 million in stimulus spending for upgrades to what they consider to be "high-priority rail grade crossings" under their      Economic Action Plan.

 

According to government statistics, 2009 saw a country-wide decrease of 36-per-cent in deaths and injuries related to crossings however there were still 71 rail-related deaths and an additional 36 serious injuries most often as a result of trespassing.

 

"Improving rail crossing safety is an important measure that our government announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan," said Strahl in a news release. "I'm pleased today to announce an investment that will upgrade a number of high-priority rail intersection crossings."

 

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that CN Rail is stepping up patrols at rail crossings there and the company is also calling for better rail safety driver training and harsher penalties for those caught breaking the rules.

 

When driving, it's a good idea to look both ways at every rail crossing, even at those that have working guards.

 

For more information on the Grade Crossing Improvement Program visit: www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/publications-46.htm

 

                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Local News                                                Wednesday April 28th 2010

Community caring

 

Christianity In Action

Highroad Academy students do a clean sweep downtown

Staff/Voice

 

                                                                                                                       Staff/Voice photos

Highroad Academy students prep for the street cleaning Monday in the downtown.

 

On Monday afternoon a group of about 30 kids from Highroads Academy in Chilliwack met at the Business Improvement Association (BIA) office on Young Rd. to do a trash sweep of the downtown area as far as Railway Ave.

 

The ambitious students were issued safety vests, gloves, brooms and trash scoops and bags supplied by the City of Chilliwack and were also given safety tips and maps before heading out.

 

Originally, the idea to do the cleanup came after the school approached Mayor Sharon Gaetz looking for ways to help. The mayor then referred the group to the BIA who knew just what to do with 30 willing and able bodies with a truckload of energy.

                                 Highroads Academy teacher, Andy King.

 

BIA Executive Director, Kathy Funk, told the Voice they were very appreciative of the students efforts and pleased to get the jump on spring cleaning.

 

"We're excited because we'll be able to sort of get that overall cleaning done and then they (Street cleaners Harold Zinke and Sarena Myers) can do the maintenance on it day-to-day," said Funk. "It's all part of the revitalization and that's what its about."

 

Highroad teacher and Chilliwack resident, Andy King, said it was important to get out in the community and show Christianity in action, rather than just a theoretical belief.

 

"We have a service day that we've always tied in with Earth Day and we believe that its part of a Christian character to have a Heart of Service," he said. "Much prefer this to being in school, they're all hard workers and good kids, you know, we're very pleased with them."

Students sweep up on Young Rd.

 

The Rendezvous Restaurant in Chilliwack donated enough pizza to feed the group.

 

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Community News                                        Thursday April 29th 2010

Ride for your life

 

Big Bike Blitz

The Heart & Stroke Foundation takes a Tour De Chilliwack

Craig Hill/Voice

 

 

                                                                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photos

The Wal Mart "Rock and Rollbacks" team takes a spin down Vedder on Wednesday.

 

You'll look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle built for ... thirty?

 

On Wednesday, three groups of about 80 employees from local businesses took turns riding the BC Heart & Stroke Foundation's Big Bike around Chilliwack Mall and in doing so, pedaled their way to just over $7000 in donations.

 

Heart disease and stroke still remain the leading cause of death in Canada. The Heart & Stroke Foundation has been working to keep hearts healthy for fifty-five years and one of their more entertaining fundraisers is the Big Bike event that take place in sixty-five cities around BC and the Yukon.

 

As we know already, the bicycle is very efficient method of transportation, but not many know that when you convert calories into gas, a bike gets the equivalent of about 4828 km per gallon. With the Big Bike, when you multiply that by thirty peddlers, that's a lot of distance the big red centipede can cover.

 

Money raised from Big Bike events in BC & the Yukon goes towards life saving research, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy for health reform in the province. The Foundation's goal this year is to raise $7 million and now that the weather is better, the campaign is putting it into alpine gear and set to travel cross-country.

 

They just don't let anyone ride one of the ten Big Bikes across Canada. Getting a seat on the 'mega-ped' is special because each rider has to collect a minimum of $50 in donations.

The Big Bike rolls down Lukakuk Way.

 

Not surprising, considering how sour the economy has been, Chilliwack donations were down in 2010 compared to just over $10,000 raised in 2009.

 

The three Chilliwack teams who raised money and rode were; Wide Plank Hardware, "The Wide Plankers" who raised $1001; Stream, "The Stream Dream Team" who raised $2156 and Wal Mart, "The Rock 'N Rollbacks" who raised $1975. What's special about the Wal Mart donation is that the company matches whatever the employees collect so their gift is actually $3950 for a grand total of $7071 combined.

 

Heart & Stroke Foundation Area Manager, Gillian Yardley, coordinates Big Bike events in the Tri Cities and Fraser Valley said last year they in eight days and six cities they managed to raise $124,000.

"We're hoping that we go over that this year, that's what we hope," said Yardley. "When I first started in 2006 we raised $35,000 in our 6 days."

 

Money raised in Chilliwack helps local people for example The Foundation has recently begun a pilot program with a Transient Ischemic Attack rapid assessment clinic that's going into CGH as well as the telestroke initiative.

 

"We developed our telestroke strategy and it's going provincially but not every hospital is getting it and Chilliwack has been picked to pilot," said Yardley.

 

Telestroke is a brand new system that uses videoconferencing and CT image sharing technology where patients in Chilliwack can be linked-in to world class surgeons and researchers in Vancouver who can help diagnose the patient's condition and recommend a plan of care.

 

Long time Big Bike chauffeur, Joe Parsons, has been skippering the rigs and doubling as DJ for fifteen-years. Both he and his wife love the job and spend winters in Palm Springs, CA.

 

After the ride was over, there was a group quiz about sugar content in drinks called "Sip Smart" where symbols are matched to the soft drinks. The quiz is part of a Healthy Choices program which the foundation takes on the road to schools and gets the kids active in skipping and hoops programs.

 

The Foundation also has a P2P (person-to-person) program that involves knocking on doors and asking neighbors for donations.

 

Next year when the big bike hits town, challenge yourself to get a seat on it and ride for your life. For more information ride to www.bigbike.ca

 

                                     To see the Big Bike photo gallery go here

 

                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

BC News                                                           Tuesday April 27th 2010

Reconciliation

 

Skookum Gift For British Columbians

Premier Campbell accepts hand-carved canoe from Lt. Gov. Steven Point

BC Government Press Release

 

VICTORIA, BC – Premier Gordon Campbell formally accepted a hand-carved red cedar canoe as a gift to all British Columbians today from the Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

 

“Shxwtitostel is a gift to all peoples in British Columbia as a symbol of my belief that we need to create a better understanding amongst all people that we are in the same canoe,” said the Lieutenant Governor. “No matter where you are from, we all need to paddle together.”

 

“It is with great respect, honour and gratitude that I accept this canoe on behalf of all British Columbians,” said Premier Campbell. “This canoe showcases the beauty of First Nations art and symbolizes the importance of reconciliation between people.”

 

The Lieutenant Governor named the canoe Shxwtitostel (pronounced: Schwe-tea-tos-tel) which means “a safe place to cross the river” in Halq’eméylem. It represents the idea of a bridge between peoples, one of the Lieutenant Governor’s major themes.

 

The canoe will be displayed in the reception hall of the B.C. Parliament Buildings until the end of the summer, when it will be exhibited in museums throughout the province.

 

The four-metre shovel-nosed canoe is the product of 13 months of carving by Point and Chief Tony Hunt, Hereditary Chief of the KwaGulth and master carver.

 

The canoe has the features of the legendary creature in Chilliwack’s Cultus Lake known as Slahkum. The sides of the canoe are engraved with the crest of Point’s father.

 

Point found the original red cedar log from which the canoe was carved at Ross Bay near Victoria. The log’s tapered ends suggest someone had started carving it into a canoe in the past. Earlier this month, Point returned to the beach at Ross Bay to launch the canoe for the first time.

 

The canoe, a traditional inland river hunting canoe, would have been used to hunt in freshwater by lighting a fire in a pit at the bow and spearing fish attracted to the light.

 

                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Community News                                          Tuesday April 27th 2010

Adult Learning Week

 

Learning For Life

Free courses offered to Chilliwack Employees and Employers

Submitted by the CLCS

The Chilliwack Learning Community Society (CLCS) is looking for more employees who wish to upgrade their skills. The CLCS is offering free training on a variety of essential workplace skills.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has identified nine essential skills for success in the workplace. They range from Reading, Numeracy and Using Documents, to using Computers, Thinking Skills, Oral Communications, and Working with Others.

Michael Berger, Workplace Essential Skills coordinator for the CLCS, stated "Our goal is to offer courses that address all nine of HRSDC's nine essential skills. In addition to the courses we previously ran that addressed Oral Communications, Thinking Skills and Working with Others, we're adding courses on Computer Use, Numeracy, and Writing. These are sure to be well-received by employed people in Chilliwack. We're repeating some of our more popular courses as well as adding some new ones."

The first quarter of 2010 saw an assortment of nine courses presented. The second quarter will see courses on Budgeting & Credit Essentials, Communication & People Skills, Microsoft Office 2007, Solving Problems, Customer Service, Writing for the Workplace and more.

Berger added "We are thrilled with the response from the local business community. Businesses such as IMW, the Salvation Army and Envision Financial hosted a course. As well, organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the BIA, CEPCO and Tourism Chilliwack helped promote the courses. They see the value in the courses not just to their own employees, but to other working people in Chilliwack as well."

Some employers questioned why the courses were free. Berger responded "The initial round of courses have been generously funded by HRSDC and the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills. This allowed us to get the courses off the ground and to begin partnering with local business. Making the program sustainable is a key goal. We're exploring various options to ensure courses continue to be available beyond this year."

Berger is looking for employees (and employers) who wish to take part in the training. Classes are scheduled to begin in the next few weeks. Registration forms are available on the WES strategy page of the Chilliwack Learning website and at the information desk of the Chilliwack Library.

If you wish to take advantage of these free training courses, or would like more information contact Michael Berger, Workplace Essential Skills Coordinator, Chilliwack Learning Community Society, 604-792-0025 x2434 Option 1, or visit their website: www.chilliwacklearning.com  To contact by e-mail go here.

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Community News                                           Tuesday April 27th 2010

Clean, green and friendly

 

The Beautification Committee

BIA hires new street cleaner through Wage Subsidy Program

Staff/Voice

 

The Business Improvement Association (BIA) announced late last week that they were implementing an expanded five-year strategy for the downtown core.

 

On Monday, the City of Chilliwack presented their long-time "ambassador" street cleaner, Harold Zinke, with a custom made cleaners cart. His old cart will be refurbished and put back into service later.

 

Zinke's been clearing city streets of trash for over ten-years and has seen all kinds, including the odd hypodermic needle. There aren't many used syringes lying around but when he finds one it isn't a big issue and he deals with it safely. He was excited about the new set of wheels and particularly happy about the sharps container. "Hey, look at this," he said pointing to the plastic yellow box with red letters. "It fits in there just great."

 

One segment of the BIA's strategic plan deals with street maintenance and allows for the addition of a new staff and so Sarena Myers was hired through the government's Wage Subsidy Program, which reimburses the BIA a portion of Myers' wages.

 

Myers was eager to get hired as a cleaner but needed a Challenge Assessment done first in order to qualify for the Wage Subsidy Program, and Funk convinced her to do that. "She finally went and got the assessment done so now she qualifies and I get a portion of her salary paid," said Funk.

 

“I am pleased about the strong partnership we have with the City staff and believe that with cleaner streets comes a safer greener environment for business to thrive," said Funk.

 

In other BIA news, the highly successful Safety & Security program has picked up some of the needed money that will allow them to continue the "Lock Out Crime" initiative. The program is funded in part by the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) that has staff walk through parking lots and look inside cars for valuables as well as to see if the vehicle is properly secured with a device like a steering wheel club. If the staff notice something during the audit, they leave a note with suggestions on the windshield.

 

The BIA has partnered with Mike Weightman, ICBC Regional Coordinator, Loss Prevention, Fraser Valley Region, to hold prize draws for the clubs. To enter the drawing, deposit an audit slip into one of the boxes located at Community Policing station on Wellington Ave., the BIA office on Young Road or at Griffin Security in the Chilliwack Business Centre on Yale Rd.

 

The association also hopes to put a dent in crime with the addition of 24/7 security that will work in tandem with bike and auto security personnel from Griffin Investigation and Security Services Ltd. who'll be patrolling the downtown at all hours.

 

Sometime in the near future the association will be releasing their Urban Design and Greening strategy that builds on the city's Official Community Plan for a revitalized downtown which was released last week.

                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Community News                                              Sunday April 25th 2010

Proudly Canadian

 

Retired Canadian soldier on different Tour of Duty

Fundraiser dinner helps amputees

 Craig Hill/Voice

 

The long walk home has turned into an even longer trip around Canada to speaking engagements for Master Corporal (Ret) Paul Franklin, who lost both legs to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. When that happened, it became a completely different battle for him.

 

Franklin was in Chilliwack Saturday for a fundraiser dinner to promote his Franklin Foundation and talk about his experiences as a soldier and about what happened. During his keynote addresses he hopes to increases awareness

and generate support for amputees across the country through the Franklin      Foundation which he co-founded.

 

Franklin told the Voice during the interview at the Cheam Lions Hall prior to the dinner, that two-hundred tickets had been sold, and doing the math, at $50 each, that's a cool $10K on the evening.

 

His wide friendly smile gleamed from under a knot of red hair and his firm, reassuring handshake belies an inspiring tale of tragedy and triumph.

 

It was January 15, 2006, he was five-and-a-half months into a second tour of duty in Kandahar working as a medic, when disaster struck.

 

While driving a diplomat from the airport to the city centre, suddenly and without warning, a suicide bomber plowed into them, detonating himself and 56 kilos of explosives, killing Franklin's passenger and also causing serious head trauma to the driver who hit so hard he didn't wake up for three weeks.

 

His memory of events leading up to the second of the horrible bombing remains crystal clear.

 

"Unfortunately, I remember every moment," he said with a stoic look. "Flying through the air, at one point my leg being severed and I don't know if it was in the vehicle with shrapnel or when I was tumbling. I remember sitting on the side of the road and holding my leg and looking and seeing my stump."

 

As Franklin lay bleeding on the side of the battle-scarred road, amid the chaos, a soldier that he'd just given tourniquet instructions to, used that training to stem the loss of blood and save his life.

 

Franklin explains how his legs work.

 

The tourniquets were on loan from the Americans and after his incident, Franklin said the Canadian military began to use them on a regular basis. "They then became standard issue to all our troops," he said.

 

With a wife and a young son to care for, Franklin was driven to getting back on his feet as quickly as possible and begin the long rehabilitation process which included more than twenty surgeries. "I was eventually able to recover over the next 14 months and get back on my feet," he said.

 

Just talking with Franklin, it's obvious he's a very intelligent man. He has no regrets about joining the military and is not vindictive about what happened to him ...  

                                    Story continued here

 

                                                                                                           © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Community News                                              Monday April 26th 2010

One day at a time

 

MS Walk Fundraiser A Big Success

Every step counts right down to the last penny

Craig Hill/Voice

 

The annual Scotiabank Multiple Sclerosis Walk took place on Sunday at Fairfield Island Park and 120 people beat their feet in the heat for the fundraiser which by day's end had collected $40,572.03. That total is likely to increase with more pledges still to come in over the next two weeks.

 

MS Walks take place all over BC at about this time and tens of thousands of supporters, volunteers and walkers participate in over 160 Canadian communities. The fundraisers first started in 1991 and have grown in numbers exponentially. In 2008, the MS Society raised $12 million for research funding.

 

The weather cooperated nicely for the family-oriented event which let people choose from one of two circuits – 5 km or 10 km.

 

One of the 5 km walk participants this year was Chilliwack resident, Randall Stackhouse, who was diagnosed with MS in 1993.

                                                 Randall Stackhouse suffers from MS.

 

"I'm actually doing pretty good for that length of time, I just take one day at a time," he said. "Fatigue and muscle spasms are my main symptoms."

 

Stackhouse, 49, told the Voice that this was his second walk because he's only been living in Sardis for about a year. This year his family team raised $250.

 

Some days are better than others for Stackhouse when he can't even get out of bed. Heat is a bit of a problem for him because he tires more easily in the sun and avoids it if possible.

 

"The heat's starting to get to me today a little though," he said while standing in the shade of the canopy. "It tends to make me a little weak."

 

Stackhouse attends support group meetings where others afflicted with the disease get together and mentor with friends. "It helps to know people going through the same things you are," he said.

 

Mayor Sharon Gaetz was on hand and told walkers that Multiple Sclerosis has touched everyone in the community.

 

"Every single one of us knows somebody that has experienced MS and who has struggled with it at this very moment," said Gaetz. "I know that if we raise money and continue to do this good work in this community that eventually we will find a cure and who knows if your pledge sheet will be the pledge sheet that is the tipping point to find that cure, so thank you, this is what "community" is all about."

 

There were plenty of hot dogs, muffins, coffee, fruit and refreshments provided by local companies and emcees from Starfm, Scott Riley and Lisa Stevens, gave out prizes to top earners. A DJ pumped up the crowd with some canned music and bagpipes got them off to a cheery start.

 

The Allstar Fusion Cheerleaders, fresh off of winning the 2010 International Championships, formed mini pyramids and were there to welcome walkers and runners as they trickled back in. Coach Craig Tolmie was happy about the weather. "I think we hit it just right, perfect timing," he said.

 

Once most of the walkers had the walk completed and were back at the stage, dancers from the Project Dance club delighted the audience with group and solo performances.

 

Staff sold red hair extensions to walkers who wear them as a show of support for the fundraising campaign. The idea started in Edmonton and is catching on in BC.

 

 

Walk organizer, Sara Komer said there were about 150 registered as teams and individuals.

 

"It doesn't really matter if they can make it or not, they can still raise money so we've got about 120 walkers here today," said Komer.

 

The event did exceed organizers expectations said Komer. "We've got just over $40,000 and with all the other events happening around and the economy, so it's pretty fantastic."

 

Some of the money raised is donated to research and the balance stays in the community to help people with MS in a variety of ways like buying them wheelchairs. Next year be a walker and help fund a cure.

 

Top Individuals                            Top Teams

Melinda Jinetti - $3,787.25             Progress For MS - $9,194.61

Kevin Wood - $3,449.51               Gooner's Gang - $4,019.42

Marissa Wood - $2,285.00            MS Elininators - $2, 943.00

 

Top Youth

Quinn Ingham - $255

Mya Best - $190

Cameron Federow/Cory Federow $150 (tied)

 

                                        To see the MS Walk photo gallery go here

 

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Crime News                                                        Monday April 26th 2010

Violence hits home

 

Home Invasion on Victoria Ave.

Male charged after hatchet attack leaves resident with head injuries

Craig Hill/Voice


Police arrested a 21-year-old Chilliwack male after a Victoria Ave. home invasion and hatchet attack that left a 34-year-old man in hospital with serious injuries.

 

"The male suspect broke into the victim’s residence and allegedly struck him in the head with a hatchet causing injury to the victim’s head," said Cpl. Leanne Dunlop of the Chilliwack RCMP.

 

The resident admitted himself to hospital that evening but it wasn't until the following day that an unidentified person called it in to police which prompted the investigation. Mounties were then able to identify a suspect and effect an arrest.

 

The injured male remains in stable condition in the hospital. The suspect is currently in custody and will be making an appearance in Chilliwack Court on Monday to face charges of aggravated assault. The case will be put on hold until a court-ordered psychological assessment can be made.

 

                                                                                                           © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Local News                                                     Saturday April 24th 2010

Worker safety

 

National Day of Mourning

City lowers flag April 28 for workers

killed on the job

Staff/Voice

 

                                                                                                        Courtesy of Teamsters Rail

 

he figures are shocking. In 2008, over 1000 people died across Canada in job-related accidents.

 

The City of Chilliwack will be lowering it's flag to half mast Wednesday in observance of National Day of Mourning for workers killed on the job.

 

Each year road workers are killed on highways. Between 1991 and 1996 four traffic control people in BC died because of motorists who sped or disregarded traffic control people or safety signs in a construction zone.

 

Last week, local newspapers reported that a flag person had been clipped by a vehicle after an impatient driver, with three kids in the car, disobeyed directions and hit their arm in passing. This time the worker was lucky and only had a week off work.

 

In December 1996, Chilliwack Public Works CUPE 458 paving worker, Larry Reddemann, was struck and killed while working as a rollerman on Young Rd. Two others were injured but survived when the car plowed into them.

 

In tribute to Reddemann, Mayor Sharon Gaetz talked about Reddemann's contribution to the city.

 

"He was easy-going and he had a good knowledge of the job which made him well-liked by everyone," said Gaetz. "He was eager to work and learn new things so he decided to leave his mechanics job and become a labourer."

 

The mayor said that Reddemann will be missed and that he will not be forgotten.

 

"I do want to say to his family and his children that we continue to remember Larry and we thank Larry for the contribution posthumously that he gave to our city and to the rest of the workers in Chilliwack," said Gaetz.

 

The Public Works Department has lost one worker in a roadway accident and they want the chance of that happening again to be nil.

 

"Keep safe, we don't want to be reading one of these for anybody else in our city," she said. "We really want to honor and protect those who work with us."

 

Drivers will need to be careful this summer with all the roadwork being done around the province and don't speed through construction zones. Traffic fines are double in those zones.

 

CUPE tribute to workers across Canada who have died on the job: www.cupe.ca/HealthUpdates/fatalities

 

For information on National Day of  Mourning visit the website: www.ccohs.ca/events/mourning

 

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 City Hall Report                                         Saturday April 24th 2010

Big Bad Vandalism Report

 

City Plagued By Wire Thieves

Vandalism Report tops council agenda

Staff/Voice

                           

Wire Theft                                                                               

Council referred the Vandalism Report to the Public Safety Committee to look at ways to make buying copper tougher after the first quarter reported indicated over $25,000 in wire had been stolen.

 

Councillor Huttema had a question regarding the wire theft. "It's probably been asked before and it's probably been looked at before, but is there any way that we can perhaps make it a little more difficult for the buyers of these stolen wire, make it a little more difficult for them to buy it?"

 

Mayor Gaetz responded that, "As you'll see in the report, we lost over $25,000 worth of copper wire in the first quarter of the year, this is due to the cost of copper wire rising once again and perhaps a little bit of an issue with security. The places that were hardest hit were the heritage lamp poles in Sardis Park and I'm sure that now we'll be able to find a way to secure those again."

 

"I think as new development is happening, we're making it more difficult to get at copper wire and I know that a lot of the city's parks have been upgraded in that the electrical units have been made far more secure than they were in the past. I think the issue is sale is one that the province is going to have to look at in some way. I know every local government faces the same issue around the sale of copper wire. I understand that we're not the only ones hit that BC Hydro just had a big theft as well and thankfully the thieves were caught," said the Mayor.

 

"But it is a huge issue and it seems to go up as the markets fluctuate so we certainly will keep an eye on that and perhaps if you'd like to make a motion to refer this and the other parts of "Vandalism" to the public safety committee for some exploration I would appreciate that," said Mayor Gaetz. (A motion to refer this to the Public Safety Committee was passed.)

 

 

Graffiti Problems (see "Graffiti" this page)

Mayor Gaetz acknowledged that Coun. Stam was working on the graffiti problem. "I do know that Coun. Stam has been working on some issues of graffiti coming up in trying to work with the Public Safety Committee to come up with harder strategy for people who like to willfully destroy property to help them mend their ways and to make it more difficult for them, so thank you Coun.r Stam and to your committee." said Mayor Gaetz. (A motion to refer this to the Public Safety Committee was passed.)

 

City Partners With Sto:lo Health

Council authorized staff to enter into a wellness partnership with the Sto:lo Nation for the improvement of Aboriginal health and wellness through a commitment to plan, develop and support one another to ensure that Aboriginal people enjoy the same quality of health and wellness as other British Columbians.

 

And the Asphalt Contract Goes To ...

Council signed off on a $1.7 million asphalt contract to Martens Asphalt Ltd.

 

Spirit of the People Pow Wow

The Spirit of the People Pow Wow asked the city for $2500 to pay for the rental cost of the Landing Sports Centre for the weekend of their Pow Wow, July 23-25. In a letter to the city, Kwis Hoy and Maxne Prevost, said that because of it's popularity, they started the Pow Wow up again.

 

"Last year there were Chilliwack business's that supported the event on a small scale, but this year it would be an honor to have the City support us in some degree. We are a spin-off of the Chilliwack Pow Wow that basically put Chilliwack on the map for many champion dancers throughout North America," the letter stated.

 

Staff recommended that their request be denied with regret and the motion was passed.

 

Dukes Pub Gets It's Temporary Beer Garden

Council approved a temporary liquor licence application by Bar Watch member, Duke's Country Pub, for an extra 40 ft. x 50 ft. fenced area next to the patio to accommodate a beer garden with an extra row of five tables. Plans are for liquor sales from 11 am to 10 pm during three planned "Show and Shine" events June 12, July 17 and August 28.

 

Major Hillside Study

Council accepted a recommended proposal that a comprehensive $100,000 hillside study contract be given to AECOM for a "Eastern Hillsides Comprehensive Area Plan"

 

Squiala Nation Tax Time

Council approved a taxation agreement between the band and the city. Council approved the Sewer and Water service partnership agreement for the new Eagle Landing Centre and the Off-Site Servicing Agreement.

 

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice City Hall                                                 Friday April 23rd 2010

Tee-off time

 

Abbott steps down from Transportation Committee

City Hall recognized him for years of service

Craig Hill/Voice

 

                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

Cpl. Bruce Abbott receives plaque from Mayor Sharon Gaetz at council meeting last Monday.

 

RCMP Cpl. Bruce Abbott has retired after serving for 15-years on the Trasnporation Advisory Committee. On Monday at the regular city council meeting, he received special recognition for his 15-years of service on the Transportation Advisory Committee. Mayor Sharon Gaetz presented him with a plaque.

 

The high quality wooden plaque is embellished with a photo of Cultus Lake and has an inscription overtop which reads "With Appreciation from the Mayor and Council of the City of Chilliwack in recognition of 15 years of service on the Transportation Advisory Committee"

 

Abbott has been with the RCMP for 40-years and has made a friend in everyone he worked with. He has been actively involved in local hockey and also with the Bruins, Heat and the BCJHL.

 

According to Mayor Gaetz, Abbott has always been very devoted to the community and she thanked him for that.

 

"Bruce always has the community in mind, of course he's an RCMP officer, of course RCMP is so close to his heart but he always sees the broad picture of the community, so I really want to thank you for that," said Gaetz.

                               Abbott and grandson Kennah at City Hall Monday.

 

Abbott recently bought a 32' motor home and will drive off into the sunset knowing that he left behind a great community after devoting so many selfless years to it.

 

When asked by reporters what his plans were now that he's retired, Abbott joked that he won't be caring too much about what day it is, but still has plans on keeping busy and active in the community.

 

"The tough part, will be telling Tuesdays from Saturdays," he said with a laugh. "I'll probably be doing some community work and volunteer work around town, stuff like that. It's going to be my home area, my grandkids are here and my own kids are here so this is home," he said.

 

He plans on spending time fishing and playing  golf is something else he plans on doing. "Got to get fit and trim," he said.

 

For a full transcription of the mayor's presentation please see the City Hall 3 pm council session report.

 

                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Community News                              Friday April 23rd 2010

 Blade runners

 

 

Rink in a league of it's own

Roller skating is set to begin at Twin Rinks

Staff/Voice

                                                               

Remember RollerLand at the PNE Park? Maybe you remember Stardust in Surrey? That was the last public roller skating rink in the Lower Mainland and it closed it's doors in 2005 after being in the business for 41 years.

 

Good news for roller skate fans has come. The only roller skating rink in BC is about to open in Chilliwack. Starting April 30, the District of Chilliwack is opening up Twin Rinks to inline roller skating on a trial basis Friday nights from 6 pm to 7:30 pm until June 25. If the program is successful then it may run longer into the summer months.

 

Skating hand-in-hand to music and mirror balls brings back a flood of memories for those old enough to have them. Maybe you even went to one of the roller discos that were big back in the 70s.

 

It's a fun way to get some in some exercise and support the sport in Chilliwack. The skating nights are open to all ages and only cost $2. Rentals won't be available so skaters will have to bring their own skates. The rink is located at 5725 Tyson Rd.

 

Okay everybody, now skate backwards!


                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice Letters                                                      Friday April 23rd 2010

Children pawns

 

 

Baynes' Bitter Battle Baffles

Dr. Ron Unruh speaks out for family

Craig Hill/Voice

 

For those of you following the Baynes child custody case with the Ministry of Children & family Development, here is a letter released yesterday by Dr. Ron Unruh.                                                            Dr. Ron Unruh

 

Open Letter to Bruce McNeil                    

April 22, 2010

 

Mr. Bruce McNeill, Director of Practice, MCFD Fraser Region

Mr. McNeill,

 

I respectfully submit an appeal to you today on behalf of Paul and Zabeth Bayne and their three children.

 

You are fully informed that Paul and Zabeth Bayne are presently involved in the hearing before Judge Tom Crabtree in which Mr. Finn Jensen, the Ministry of Children and Family Development counsel is seeking to obtain for you a Continuing Care Order for all three children. Mr. Jensen has nearly completed the             Ministry’s presentation and now you and the Baynes are waiting for available court dates when the hearing will conclude with the Baynes’ lawyer, Mr. Doug Christie’s presentation of witness testimonies, evidence and conclude the hearing.

 

Most certainly Judge Crabtree understands this case. He understands that your team has held all three Bayne children in care for almost the entirety of two years and six months. He recognizes that the Ministry’s case is built upon a commitment to a disputed medical diagnosis of non accidental shaking induced injury to the youngest of the three children and that no evidence exists of injury or potential risk to the two older siblings. He is aware that no criminal charges proceeded to the Court with respect to the injuries of the youngest child. He appreciates that you have chosen to disregard your own counsel’s recommendation to return the two older children to the Baynes – a recommendation that Mr. Jensen conveyed to you because in his opinion there is no evidence to keep them and that he cannot win a case to retain them.

 

These are reasons why even before the hearing proper has concluded; his Honour permitted Mr. Christie on behalf of the Baynes to submit to him their application for a variance of the original Interim Order of Dec 14, 2007 which placed the three children in Ministry care. The Baynes have asked the Judge for the return of the boys to their custody.

 

On April 26th 2010, Mr. Jensen will have opportunity in Court to express the Ministry’s objection to this application.

 

I knew Paul and Zabeth Bayne nine years ago when they were active in the church that I pastored. I enjoyed the privilege of officiating their wedding ceremony. I know them as deeply committed people of faith, hard working individuals, highly principled and enjoying a good reputation with hundreds of people.

 

Their conscientious efforts to recover their family are understandable as is the significant support from friends and acquaintances who advocate for them. I myself have written daily blog posts to tell their story. This letter is posted today and copied to others.

 

I acknowledge your position and role within the Fraser Regional MCFD and your oversight of this highly publicized case. My sincere appeal to you today is to instruct your lawyer Mr. Jensen, to convey to Judge Crabtree on Monday April 26th, 2010 that the Ministry will not object to the immediate return of the two Bayne boys to Zabeth and Paul Bayne.

 

Sincerely, Dr. Ron Unruh

                                                                          © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Community News                                       Thursday April 22nd 2010

Street Art it's not

 

Graffiti, coming soon to a wall near you 

City wants to reclaim it's turf from vandals

Craig Hill/Voice

 

                                                                                                            Craig Hill/Voice photos

Graffiti on the back of a building on Young Rd. The brick photo on top was taken near downtown Chilliwack.

 

There is "street art" and there is graffiti. In Italy, sidewalk artists paint in chalk and water colours. The rains come, it washes away. Some graffiti is art but most is unintelligible gobbledygook understood only by gang members.

 

Chilliwack is being tagged to death one block at a time and City Council intends on stopping taggers in their tracks with a soon-to-be-unveiled game plan. Right now, they're in a huddle so it's not exactly clear if they'll  punt or blitz, or, if that plan would include banning spray paint and indelible markers to youth.

 

The problem is costing local taxpayers a lot of money and the numbers aren't getting smaller. In the latest vandalism reports, City Hall spent in excess of $2000 during the first three months of this year cleaning up the scribbled messes in parks and on city property.

 

Crews come in, clean off the paint, and the next day the tags are back and in a time of budgetary restraint, the money spent on graffiti removal would be much better off used elsewhere.

 

But there is hope in sight for building owners. Councillor Chuck Stam, told the Voice in an e-mail earlier this week,

that he is very concerned about the graffiti problem and is working on a blueline plan of action which should be ready by mid-summer.

 

"At this point, we are in discussion and research stage developing an effective strategy to reduce and possibly eliminate graffiti," said Stam. "At this point it's safe to say it will be cutting edge and effective."

 

Back in the good ol' days before scribbling in paint on walls, lovers would carve their initials into tree trunks. It was somewhat endearing to see a heart with lovers initials inside carved into a park bench.

 

Aerosols go back as far as 1790 with the self-pressurized canisters for drinks. Then after industry designers invented a handheld can Edward Seymour added aluminum paint.

 

Since then no back alley, doorway, storefront, mail box, train car or bridge has been immune to taggers establishing turf in nice eye-catching neon colours like Jamaican orange.

 

Some American cities like Spokane have

 

This graffiti even showed a can of spray paint.

 

banned the sale of spray paint and indelible markers to youths and one American city councillor was blunt in his description of taggers. "One degenerate and a can of spray paint can ruin an entire neighbourhood," he said.

 

Logan's Hardware owner, Robin Brunette, said they won't sell spray paint to minors and his store carries a removal product called "Star Power".

 

General Paint Sales Supervisor, Tony Blatchford, told the Voice in an e-mail that the company has no written policy in place regarding the sale of aerosol products to minors.

 

"Our Store Managers and their staff will ask questions that will help them in determining the use of the products they sell. These questions would be normal for someone using the products for a legitimate purpose (ie Primer requirements, substrates being coated, previous coating, etc.). If they feel that there is a reason they should not be selling the products, then they have the right to refuse the business," said Blatchford.
 

The company offers cleanup remedies for graffiti removal like coatings which can be applied to exterior walls and surfaces that make it so spray paint won't stick.


"We do have various products that are available. Some are applied to the substrate to protect it from graffiti while others are for removing graffiti once it is on the substrate. The anti-graffiti products are often used by school districts and applied over murals so that if graffiti happens it can be removed without damaging the mural," said Blatchford.

 

Business owners can look forward to something coming down the pike to battle back but for now they'll just have to grin and wipe it.

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Art Scene                                                     Thursday April 22nd 2010

Drawing from the inside

 

 Generation Now

  It's going to be a really big shoe

   Craig Hill/Voice

 

 

A group of inspired Chilliwack students are demonstrating a rare ability to transpose creative insights into teen life onto canvas.

 

Chilliwack Visual Artists and District 33 High Schools have assembled paintings from local high schools for a gallery exhibit at the Chilliwack Arts Center.

The show, which runs from April 20 to May 19,  features the artwork of Grade 10, 11 and 12 students covering most media groups. The charcoal, pastel, oil, acrylic and water paintings offer glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of teens as expressed through these very interesting and adroit pieces.

Gallery attendant and Chilliwack artist, Aileen Molloy, said that anything kids can put their hearts and souls into is a good thing.

"There's major talent here and I think the kids have dug deep to find out what they really believed about some things and have done a good job of expressing themselves," said Molloy.

There will be an Opening Reception, Saturday April 24 from 1 pm to 2:30 pm. The gallery hours are 11:30 - 2:30 Tuesday to Saturday and is located at 45899 Henderson Ave., in the basement level of Chilliwack Arts Centre.

If you have any questions please feel free to call 604-792-2069 or visit their website: www.chilliwackvisualartists.ca

 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 

 

 City Hall News                                              Monday April 19th 2010

Promontory gets sidewalks

 

The Municipal Rub

Transportation and Engineering Depts. busy

Staff/Voice

 

New "Slip-in" Patcher Truck Insert

Every year no matter what kind of winter it's been, there's always road damage and this year city repair crews will find their job a easier when fixing potholes after Public Works purchased a portable patch truck box insert.

 

The insert should speed things up for crews adding to the volume of road issues they're capable of responding to.                             

 

Lickman Interchange Project

Now that Evans Road is open, the city has set it's sights on the Lickman Rd. bottleneck. Federal infrastructure stimulus funding is helping to pay for the project which will see a more streamlined intersection. The project will consist of a widening of Lickman Road to provide a separate vehicle lane from the TCH westbound off-ramp to the Lickman/Yale Road West right turn lane; Widening of Lickman Road from south of Yale/Industrial to north of Yale Industrial to provide one through lane in each direction plus apposing left turn lanes; Signal and geometric improvements at Lickman Road/Yale Road intersection to allow protected/ permissive left turn signalization; Fully actuated pedestrian and vehicle signalization on-ramp/off-ramp intersection.

 

In addition there will be walkways and crosswalks for pedestrians and cyclists. It's hoped that the positive spinoffs will have a significant impact in terms of increasing the capacity to handle more trucks. Officials also hope to increase safety and reduce idling time, thus helping to reduce greenhouse gases. Work on the project should be finished towards the end of summer.

 

 

Better Water for McNaught Residents

Residents on McNaught Rd. will be pleased to know that they're getting new water mains installed from Adanac to Yale which will improve their water quality. Crews will be digging up the old 100mm cast iron pipes and replacing them with a 450mm main in a new combination water/sewer design project that is expected to be finished by November this year. The project should go fine unless of course they mix up the lines. Stevenson and Reid roads will also see new mains installed.

 

Vedder Rd. will be getting sewer line upgrades and Tyson-South Sumas Sewer Project. The latter project received a $2.5 million infrastructure grant from the Federal and Provincial governments however this project won't be fully realized until sometime next year.

 

 

Million Dollar Baby

New residences in the Marble Hill area will likely overtax the water delivery system in Zone 3, so in planning for that, the city awarded a huge $1.3 million contract to Westpro and Dayton & Knight for a new water reservoir. The tank will be able to hold 800,000 litres. The project will also include a bigger booster station pump and new mains leading from it. The new tank is expected to be online by the end of October.

 

 

New Sewage Treatment

The city engineering department will be adding a new $5.5 million digester with all the gew-gaws.

 

Beep Beep!

Audible alerts are coming to 4 new locations. The Voice will post those locations when we have that information.

 

 

Promontory Gets A New Sidewalk

Crews will be laying a new sidewalk on Promontory Rd between Teskey Way and Chilliwack River Rd. This will be safer for kids now and they'll be able to connect to a new asphalt walkway to GW Graham school which should be finished by school start in September.

 

 

Keith Wilson Traffic Light

The signal at the intersection is one of the oldest in Chilliwack and needs to be more flexible. ICBC's Road Assistance program will help with the costs of  pole replacement, if needed, and updated control mechanisms.

 

 

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Community News                                         Monday April 19th 2010

Earth Angels

 

Riverkeepers aim for less not more

Peg Leg cleanup sees less trash this year

Craig Hill/Voice

 

                                                                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photos

Fraser Riverkeepers Exec. Dir. Lauren Hornor helped organize the cleanup Sunday at Peg Leg Bar on the Fraser River.

 

The river needed them, the salmon needed them and they needed each other.

 

In a prelude to Earth Day next Thursday, approximately one-hundred people gathered Sunday morning on Peg Leg Bar for the 3rd Annual Fraser River cleanup. The Fraser Riverkeepers conservation group hosted the cleanup and was sponsored again this year by WOODTONE products and Waste Services Inc.(WSI).

 

Riverkeeper Office Manager, Mary Woodbury, was happy to see the people there.

 

"It's a beautiful sunny day and I think it's a great day for the community to come out and clean up the bar." she said. "We got 11-tonnes last year and this year we're hoping for not as much."

 

It wasn't long before starting the cleanup that a steady stream of 4x4 trucks and ATV's that looked like they stopped at Bailey's Landfill on the way, rolled back to the big dumpsters parked on the rocks. At times there was even a lineup to offload the junk.

 

Some trucks that went out, were back packed to the hilt in a half hour. An incredible amount and array of litter was brought in which included sofas, gyproc, toxic car batteries, truck and car bumpers and tons of scrap metal. The stuff was sorted into two piles; metal recyclables in one and the rest in another.

 

Peg Leg Bar is popular with ATV's, 4x4's and dirt bikers who go there and camp for the weekend year round. The problem is a lot of those weekend warriors desecrate the area when they leave behind garbage. Not just a little trash either -- 11 tonnes of it last year, and by noon on Sunday, the group had picked up 6 tons of debris from the riverbank. Most of it was half-burned bonfire debris and a lot was peppered with buckshot.

 

Each year WOODTONE sponsors the cleanup event and this year about 20 employees volunteered their time to help tidy up the river.

 

The company, which makes interior finishing and exterior wood products like trims, mouldings and soffits, has about 100 employees at three locations in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and in Everett Washington.

 

WOODTONE Co-CEO Chris Young told reporters that the company wanted to give something back to the community and formed a Community Builders task group who liaisons with local agencies and together brainstorm to come up with ways the team can be involved in the community.

 

About three years ago the company met with Fraser Riverkeepers, an organization devoted to "the protection, conservation and improvement of water quality and fish habitat in the Fraser River and the Georgia Strait", and together they formed a partnership.

 

"Working with (Riverkeepers) and the City of Chilliwack we targeted Peg Leg Bar," said Young. "We've got a fantastic group of employees and they want to do things."

 

Andy Rotzetter shows his wheeled magnetic roller Sunday.

 

Young said company volunteers are involved in various projects around the Lower Mainland and Washington State and it's not always about monetary donations.

 

"Many companies who are asked to do things in the community think that involves money and we're like anybody else, we give money when we can and we think that volunteering our employees or finding opportunities to send the volunteers is way more powerful and We're finding things to get out and do for the environment, whether that's cleaning up or whatever and it doesn't involve a lot of money," said Young.

 

Young said the goal for the day was no trash. "I hope zero. If we remove zero it means that the message is getting out and people are taking the things out that they brought in with them."

 

More on this story and the Peg Leg cleanup photo gallery here 

 

                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 

 

Voice Editorial                                             Tuesday April 20th 2010

The euphonious whale

 

Wanted: More Anathema, Dogma & Citizen Journalism

Put down the dictionary and come out with your hands up

Craig Hill/Voice

Online news vs. print media news: Is it really a war? Which way is the battle?

On Tuesday, the Times publisher, Nick Bastaja, leveled a paragraph at online news and bloggers. Let's alleviate Bastaja's fears and anxieties about being undermined by online news sources like the Voice and by "citizen journalism."

Bastaja's insecurities about the future of their newspaper and of his longevity in the print media were obvious in the editorial simply because he felt the need to spell-out what he thinks are online news shortfalls.

Apparently his readers aren't intelligent enough to figure out on their own that online news doesn't do what print media does. Has Bastaja forgotten that news is supposed to tell people things they don't already know?

Bastaja labeled "citizen journalism" as "opinionated dogma" with one keystroke, and with another, asks for the community to be engaged with his paper.

The Voice looks for "citizen" journalists because news is made out there in the community not on Bastaja's ivory desk. He muses about professional writers, when in fact he is talking more about professional readers.

Bastaja and the Times staff get paid well for what they do by the advertisers in the community. Some of it is pure cake. Take for instance the obligatory PSAs from the municipal, provincial and federal government that gobble up entire pages at high rates.

Back in my print media days, we used to sell a single tabloid page in a 24-page, 10,000 run bi-weekly for $800. That was on the cheap side 10-years ago. Lord only knows what print media charges the community that they have such deep love for now.

The Voice doesn't have paid staff. One guy does the online publishing, one guy takes the photos, one guy scours the streets for news and one guy writes it – myself. Proof positive that you don't need an army of highly paid fat cat publishers, "conceited" diva writers, designers, paperboys and overpriced advertising to get the news out to you.

A local media photog asked me the other day if the Voice is in competition with print media and I told the person "no", that we weren't in the same league. I didn't need to spell out why because I respected this person's intelligence, but having said that, our roll here is to fill in where print media leaves the community out.

For instance, the Voice broke a story locally last week about the Get Out Migration (see below). To print media, that important event doesn't exist yet. Not until they're ready for it to exist. A certain percentage of the Voice content is completely off of print media's radar screen for whatever reason, whether it's space issues or editorial calls.

Most of the media outlets in Chilliwack visit the Voice daily. We could easily go to print and worry about what the online news is doing and I would love to see print media do what online media does. Take the "paper" out of print media and you're going to get the nothing but the news.

Every day online news becomes a bit more relevant in people's daily internet itinerary. By condescending to people who want to write about their community in blogs or news sites, Bastaja is actually doing his newspaper more harm than good. It's called "shooting yourself in the foot" and in the long run, not only will his feet feel a little hotter from being warmed by online media and blogs, he'll be picking out bullet fragments from them too.

As I've said before, the Voice will hold print media's 'feet to the fire' every chance we get. We'll up the ante and challenge them to do a better job for less, with less. One day their newspaper will be a 4-page supplement to their online news as they are forced slowly to take the "paper" out of newspaper.

Save a tree and read the Voice online.

In addendum: I don't really use the word "anathema" three-times before breakfast but for those who don't know what the word means, myself included, the definition is; "one that is cursed by ecclesiastical authority." Like Elmer Gantry?

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Community News                                   Saturday April 17th 2010

Shop 'til you pop

 

Merchants reward downtown shoppers

Chilliwack BIA Customer Appreciation Day

 

Downtown shoppers were showered in gifts from stores participating in the Chilliwack Business Improvement Association's "Customer Appreciation Day" at Five Corners on Saturday.

 

The first fifty shoppers who showed up to the BIA kiosk with a receipt showing they spent $25 at a participating store were able to draw numbers from a basket which a corresponded gift basket or envelope.  Local stores donated the gifts and by 11 am most were gone.

 

                                For a gallery of photos from the day go here 

 

 

                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 City Hall Report                                        Saturday April 17th 2010

Malicious Mischief

 

Vandalism on the rise

Graffiti and wire theft peck away at city budget

Craig Hill/Voice

Peck, peck, peck. The year is starting out poorly for the City of Chilliwack in their battle against vandalism. So far in 2010, each month has all seen a doubling of repair costs over 2009 totals.

According to information released by the City in their Quarterly Vandalism Report, $28,759 was spent in March alone to repair damage to various city parks, recreation and civic facilities, public works infrastructure, fire equipment damage and wire theft. Last year, $13,611 was spent during the same period.

It's only March and the report indicated that the city's total vandalism repair bill is already $58,436 – more than a one-hundred-per-cent increase over the 2009 totals where the city  paid $132,541 to repair for the entire year.

The doubling of costs is mainly due to an increase in wire theft damage in the community. The report says that in the first three months of this year, the city spent a whopping $25,925.73 wire theft related damage to concrete heritage-style street lights in the Sardis Park area.

As gang culture escalates in the city, graffiti is a growing problem as well and even the City Hall is not immune to it after having to spend $75 to remove paint when someone sprayed the basement entranceway to the building on Young Rd.

In March, thoughtless miscreants poured water down the book drop at the Yarrow library. A broken pool window cost $4,400 to replace and someone wrecked a bench and fence at Mount Thom which cost $658 to replace. In another mindless act, a gate on the Vedder Rotary Trail was damaged to the tune of $1002.

Public Works also had it's hands full in the first quarter replacing $15,670 worth of destroyed, damaged or stolen signage.

                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Local News                                        Thursday April 15th 2010

Saving the salmon

 

The Get Out Migration

Fraser flotilla heads to Sidney in bid to shut down salmon farming industry

Staff/Voice

On Earth Day, various salmon blessings and events will be happening around BC like the "Walk for Wild Salmon" on Vancouver Island in an effort to urge the government to stop buying and selling industrial net-cage farmed salmon in BC.

The Salmon Are Sacred group, based in Hope, are sending a flotilla of paddlers down the Fraser River to Sidney  and along the way they'll be stopping to collect signed petitions from supporters demanding that the government close down salmon farming operations on the west coast. Once in Sidney they'll hook up with BC Biologist Alexandra Morton where they will walk to Victoria with the petitions.

The rally hopes to garner support "against the biological threat and commerce of industrial net-cage feedlots using our global oceans. The science is clear: these operations risk wild salmon populations by intensifying disease and deplete world fishery resources to make the feed. They privatize ocean spaces and threaten our sovereign rights to food security. Salmon Farms GET OUT of our Oceans."

The paddlers will assemble at the Telte-Yet campground in Hope for their pre launch gathering. Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, Chief Ron John and other Chawithil dignitaries will be on hand to send them on their way down river.

On the first night out, the group will be hosted by the Cheam band and will stay overnight on Cheam Beach where they will share food and life experiences through story-telling and singing with local band members.

Paddle coordinator, Elena Edwards said that their visit at Cheam will be memorable for the group.

"This will be a very special time, as we will have the company of members of the Cheam band, possibly some singing and story telling, food, and the full moon and the river for good company. It also just so happens that on the morning of the 29th, the yearly ceremony for the fisherman and salmon may coincide with us being there. Coincidence, or is there something far greater at work here?"

The group will be leaving Cheam Beach between 11 am and 1 pm on the 29th and continuing on to Island 22 where they will receive petitions from Fraser Valley Salmon Society's Chris Gadsen and local band members before continuing on to Mission where they are expected to arrive at about 5 pm.

The following day, they'll be joined by more core paddlers before departing in the afternoon and the group encourages others to join in for segments of the journey to Silvermere, Kwantlen (Maple Ridge), Fort Langley.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said:

“I am deeply honored to be asked to support such a sacred cause as the protection and defense of our precious wild salmon stocks. We urgently need to save wild salmon from sea lice infestation by immediately moving the farms off migration routes. First Nations communities up and down the coast should support this noble cause and join Alexandra Morton on her migration”.

You can read more about this and sign the petition online at www.salmonaresacred.org  See an informational video here: www.salmonaresacred.org/blog/new-video-everyone-loves-wild-salmon-dont-they  For more information regarding biologist Alexandra Morton's work on the west coast visit her site: www.alexandramorton.ca 

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Editorial                                                      Saturday April 17th 2010

Into your hearts it will creep ...

 

A Sad Commentary

When paranoia and hysteria cross the line

Craig Hill/Voice

The Ready Set Learn Child Development Fair happened Friday and for 3 hours it was a fun time for the kids and a smattering of adults. It was also a great opportunity for parents to empower themselves with reams of child-rearing information that was being doled out by the bagful from several agency booths inside and outside the Landing Sports Centre.

The Voice gives coverage to community events whenever we can get to them, usually with a view to doing a small write-up and taking photos of the event. The photo galleries are important elements of this news site because people who can't attend the event can see it later when they have time.

The advertisement for the Fair had been posted for a couple of weeks here in the Community Events page. On Friday, when the fair popped up, I asked my American girlfriend if she wanted to come along. She was up from Washington on her days off and loves accompanying me to events. It's always a bit more special for her because she is from another country.

So off we popped, happy little larks.

As we walked up into the building, I asked her if she would mind staying close to me because I would be taking photos of the kids and parents sometimes get sticky about that and it helps to have a female around (for some reason.)

We had some laughs with the police and fire crews as I took pictures of beaming faces sitting in the patrol car and being hoisted up into the fire truck (see "Ready Set Learn" photo gallery.)

I continued taking photos when we went inside, mostly of the exhibitor booths, which is something I always do at every event. If there's a kid with his or her face painted, it's always a cute photo. We all love baby pictures.

As I snapped shots, a woman stormed up to my girlfriend and without identifying herself demanded to know what we were doing there. "Who are you people and why are you taking photos of the kids?" she said.

"I'm with the Voice," I said while handing her a business card. "I'm doing a story and taking some gallery shots."

As often as possible, when I take a photo of anyone, I give them a business card. It tells them who I am and what I am doing there.

The woman, who later told us she was the "manager" of the event, said that we weren't allowed to take pictures of the kids.

So now all of a sudden, in this woman's eyes, my girlfriend and I are perverts, there for nefarious purposes. After an abbreviated conversation and listening to this woman, it was clear to me that it was a battle I wasn't prepared for nor willing to engage in.

We left upset, embarrassed and ashamed with my girlfriend in tears. This was supposed to be a happy event.

Between the two of us we've lived about 107-years. She has had two kids and seven grands, I had one kid.

She loves Chilliwack and thoroughly enjoys all the events I take her to. It's exciting for her to meet Canadians and get some insight into the local culture. She insists Canadians are lovely people. She's a proud woman and especially proud of what her guy is doing with the Voice. Up until today, she'd never experienced anything like this, even stateside.

Society is bombarded daily with shocking reports of child luring and abduction attempts, so it's understandable that people are protective of kids. We have to be. However this is a public space at a community event.

This woman was rude and ignorant. She made us both feel like we were perverts on the prowl. She shot first and to heck with the questions later. It didn't matter at all to her that I identified myself.

The manager lashed out at us for no reason at all. She was nasty and overzealous. She shamed us and I spent a good deal of time afterward reassuring my gal that it was a one-off. An isolated incident. That this particular woman was just being overly protective. Of course my girlfriend is mature enough to see this.

To me though, it's just an example of paranoia and hysteria gone absolutely wild. Where do we draw the line? Am I going to stop taking photos of kids with painted faces and cute babies? No.

Am I going to write about skewed administration policies and awry management by rude uncaring people? You bet I am.

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Community News                                         Friday April 16th 2010

Parenting tips

 

Ready Set Learn

Child Development Fair a wealth of information for parents

Staff/Voice

 

                                                                                                                       Craig Hill/photos

Kids at the fair Friday were ready, set and thrilled to learn about police stuff and get some hands-on experience inside a patrol car.

 

Fraser Health Authority had their Child Development Fair at the Landing Sports Centre Friday and the sign said "Everyone Welcome."

 

The purpose of the event was to help parents learn about their child's development and find out what programs and services are available to them.

The Police and Fire Departments were on hand to let kids get closer looks at the truck and car on site.

For a gallery of photos from the fair go here 

                     

                                                                               © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Local Politics                                                     Friday April 16th 2010

Off to the hill

 

O'Mahony Makes Move To Federal Politics

NDP elects Chilliwack-Fraser candidate

Staff/Voice

The NDP elected Gwen O'Mahony to run as their candidate for the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding in the next Federal election. She was selected at the nomination meeting last Sunday. Previously she was the party's Chilliwack-Hope riding representative in the 2009 provincial elections.

O'Mahony worked as a Community Support Worker for people with disabilities for 15-years and over the last 5-years she has been a Restricted Foster Home provider for the Ministry of Child and Family Development.

She was president of the Abbotsford Rotaract in 1999-98.

In 1997, she worked as short-term support at an English immersion school in Guatemala where she spoke at a nearby prison and at church meetings on the subject of addition.

"Throughout my life, I've provided support/mentoring unofficially to families and individuals struggling with addiction and or individuals trying to overcome their addictions," she said her press release bio.

The last summer she volunteered with the Wacea Metis Family Camp and plans to participate this year as well. She is also a member of the BC Environmental Advocacy Society.

O'Mahony studied science and literature at UCFV but changes in her "family dynamics" put the degree on hold.

"I've resided in Chilliwack for roughly 5-years, raising as a single parent my two nieces. The decision to move to Chilliwack has been one of the best moves I've ever made," said O'Mahony. "My nieces have thrived here."

                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Local News                                       Thursday April 15th 2010

The water song

 

Opening Day At Cheam

Leisure center sees few crowds on Day 1

Staff/Voice

 

 

Crowds were light opening day at the Cheam Leisure Centre pool but the $9 million state-of-the-art facility was already producing the first smiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice Local News                                         Tuesday April 13th 2010

A new day dawns in healthcare

 

Chilliwack General Emergency Room Opens

Hundreds tour new ER facilities

Staff report

 

                                                        Photo courtesy of Ken Bramble - Tourism BC Photographer

Left to right; Hope Mayor Laurie French, Agassiz Mayor Lorne Fisher, Mission Mayor James Atebe, Abbottsford councilor Patricia Ross, Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz and FVRD Electoral E Director David Lamson were on hand at the opening of the Chilliwack Hospital $35 million expansion project Tuesday.

 

Watch the Voice for the full story Friday.

 

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Extra                                                   Sunday April 4th 2010

Gone to the dogs

 

Canine Crème de la Crème Check-in to Chilliwack

Renaissance Dog Show Competition brings the world's best   

Craig Hill/Voice                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                         Craig Hill/Voice photos

Over 800 beautiful dogs competed at the biggest beauty pageant in the country Saturday at the Renaissance Dog Show.

 

The crème de la crème of the canine world put their paw prints on Chilliwack over the weekend and when the country's biggest dog show trots into town then you know every hotel, motel and RV site will be busting at the seams and such was the case at Heritage Park where over 800 dogs of all description competed in the Renaissance Dog Show.

 

To say there were a lot of dogs at the show on Saturday would be an understatement. They arrived in droves outnumbering humans by a 2-1 ratio. Some breeds were never seen before. The blue-blood hounds zoomed in on jets from places like France and England. Other preened pooches came in looking like head-nodders mounted on the dashboards of glistening $100,000 motor homes from Washington and Alberta. All have personal attendants and groomers. Imagine that. Would you like some Grey Poupon with your Kibbles?

 

Prizes for the esteemed competition winners? Nada. Just bragging rights. No big prize money, no trips to Jamaica. Nothing other than a few incidental cash prizes and some trophies like the beautiful glass inukshuks. That's it.

 

Judges came from all over the world but were sequestered until about an hour before the showing process began. They have to be licenced before they can participate in a show as a judge and those who have successfully completed the show requirements for judging all of the dog      

groups are known as a "group judges" and those who judge all breeds are called "all-rounders".

                                                    

When you think of dog shows you think of dogs jumping through hoops and bouncing over hurdles but there was none of that. This show was about beauty. It's called the "Conformation Ring" and its where dogs compete with others of the same breed to find the best specimen of each breed. There were 27 breeds and each animal is judged by AKC standards on physical attributes based on bone structure, shape, movement, temperament, and condition. A judge selects the dog that comes as close to the standard as possible.

 

The judging begins. The dogs are on their best behaviour and seem to know exactly what is going on as the judges move through the lines reviewing and evaluating them. It's their time to shine. Freshly primped, paws firmly planted, and no matter what itched they couldn't scratch it. A dog twitches, the owner signals and it's a statue.

 

Showing dogs is an expensive hobby. Annual costs can run into the thousands for owners but their dogs are no ordinary pets.

 

Why do people spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on their

 

pets? Because they love it of course. Owners have beautiful animals and want to show the dogs around the

world. It's a good time and they enjoy the networking and making of new friends. The average person would never have a chance to see a collection of different dogs together like this unless you came to the show or travelled with your dog to them.

 

Vancouver Island sisters, Sylvia Miller and Monica Mayes, managed to get accommodation on a farm in Abbotsford for the trip over, told the Voice they often travel to Europe for dog shows and as a cost-cutting measure don't take their dogs along. Plus its easier on the animals when they aren't shipped around in crates.

 

"We go to places like Italy and Germany but leave the dogs behind. Her bloodline is over there already," said Miller pointing at her dog.

 

Sharon Wood drove up with a friend from Kennewick,

 

Washington and stayed at the Country Inn. "We come to Canada a couple times a year for shows," she said.

 

Woods loves to get out to dog shows and this time she goes back with the Winner's Bitch and Best of Winners titles to add to her dog's portfolio. "My husband is in Texas doing a project contract so that I can do dog shows," Wood said with a contented smile.

                                      

                   For the Renaissance dog show photo gallery go here 

 

                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Views                                             Saturday April 3rd 2010

Roadside Attraction

 

A "Eureka" Moment

Popular TV series transforms Chilliwack into small town USA

Craig Hill/Voice  

 

  

                                                                                                                      Craig Hill/Voice   

Actors and extras mingle on the set of Eureka Tuesday between shoots  in downtown Chilliwack.

                                    

ach year that Eureka gets extended for another season, the city gets in on the action. For two days last week Chilliwack was again small town USA when the cast and crew of the sci-fi TV series rolled into town after a 2-year absence.

 

On Monday GEP Productions trucks and crews moved into the parking lots on Main street and it's always an interesting road show to have a look at and see how they film episodes and on this shoot there seemed to be more props and more people on the set than the last time they were in town.

 

Some types of productions in the past have thrown fake snow on Mill Street but its nothing like what happens when the crews for Eureka set to work on Wellington. The alterations includes whole store façades, a new sheriff's office and they even roll fresh green grass not the fake stuff.

 

This time they brought with them an interesting mix of props and the strangest looking gewgaws on the planet. These things weren't plastic, they were solid metal. Some looked like they were made from washing machines and bicycle parts. Shhh, they probably were but they'll never tell. They were just very cool.

 

Filming the production here brings in some economic spinoffs for Chilliwack when actors and staff stay at local hotels, the city gets paid for the lot use and the stores get a little cash as well.

 

Assistant Location Manager Casey Nelson-Zutter says folks can check it out. "During the filming we have people watching spectators from different areas while we do the action and that kind of stuff and we encourage people to some and observe what's going on and that kind of stuff," he said.

 

On location for the filming there are six to eight actors and seventy extras and over a hundred crew. With that many on the set it takes time to get them ready.                                                  

                                                           

"They're all in their own kind of "garb" if you will, it takes a bit of work because we have to size them all in the morning and get them all in and looking smart," said Nelson-Zutter with a laugh.

 

Nelson-Zutter has been working in the film industry for about 10-years and says the job is awesome. "I love it, this is the fourth season for this show and I've been on it again," he said.

 

He was never an actor and prefers to stay on the other side of the lens. "My function is more to facilitate the production so I work behind the camera and taking care of logistics and filming and that sort of thing."

 

After the crew was done on Wednesday they packed up and headed back to the Vancouver Film Studio on Boundary Rd. to shoot the rest. The production will be back before November for another shoot

 

"We have a lot of the interiors for these sets there built on these stages," said Nelson-Zutter. "So we do the exteriors on location and the interiors on stage."

 

Wouldn't it be nice if the crews just decided to leave all the props and work they did behind? Maybe that block or two on Wellington can be closed off to traffic and transformed into a beautiful vibrant livable space permanently. That would be of course with 18 floors of condo above it. It's a wrap.

 

For the Eureka set photo gallery go here

 

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Extra                                                      Friday April 1st 2010

The Main Event

 

"Kill Bill" Says

Vander Zalm

HST a fight to the finish

Craig Hill/Voice                                              

 

    A crowd of about 250-strong showed up for the Fight HST rally 

    Wednesday at the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack.

 

alm is still the man. Reminiscent of the Ali-Frazier battles in the 70's, the next main event on the Liberal fight agenda in BC is gathering a head of steam now against the provincial and federal government's push to implement the controversial 12-per-cent harmonized sales tax (HST). And its shaping up into a battle royale of almost biblical proportions with the potential to dethrone kings, or one king in particular  –– King Campbell.

 

The problem is the Liberals aren't hearing what 85% of British Columbians are saying. They will, however, be forced to listen to a petition with 300,000 voices on it.

 

Fight promoters, former Premier Bill Vander Zalm and former Conservative leader, Chris Delaney, didn't pull any punches when they told about 250 supporters who packed the Rosedale Room at the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack Wednesday, that the government will go down in the first round and the HST debacle will break the party's stranglehold on BC.

 

In one corner is Vander Zalm and his entourage at ringside, on a 4-day whirlwind swing through the province that saw them in Kelowna, Penticton, Osoyos and Trail over the course of one day. At each rally point they were kept busy garnering support for what he calls the HST Freedom 50 campaign, which is enlisting volunteers for the Citizen's Initiative Petition drive that is set to begin April 6th and wrap up July 5th.

 

Not present at the rally to bob and weave his magic was Finance Minster Colin Hansen (which would have made for a very interesting debate.)

 

The Chilliwack Progress reported that Hansen said many other monetary systems have embraced the tax. "That's the value of a value-added tax system, and that's why 130 countries around the world have adopted value-added taxes, because it eliminates all that cascading tax that gets built into the cost of goods before you buy them," Hansen said.

 

One logistical problem the petition campaign faces is that a lot of people who thought they've already signed the HST petition, actually haven't because they weren't sanctified by Elections BC and people will have to physically re-sign to be included in the petition. The task is made more onerous because people can't sign it online and have to do it in person.

 

Telling reporters just prior to taking the stage, Vander Zalm said that "It's the only vehicle, the Citizen's Initiative, is the only vehicle that actually can force the government to change it's mind and all the other petitions may have helped to keep the issue alive (but) this is the one vehicle                                            Vander Zalm and Delaney field questions at the Coast.

that's going to do it,

we're going to kill the HST," he said. "There's a bill attached to the initiative petition which was drafted by Chris Delaney and myself and the bill is basically a bill to extinguish the HST so no matter when they bring it in it's extinguished once the bill is in."

 

With the signatures in hand from at least 10-per-cent (300,000) of registered voters from all 86 ridings in BC, the process to kill the much-maligned tax legislation can begin at which point the Liberals will have to either call a referendum or vote the bill through themselves. According to Vander Zalm, if the Liberals turn a deaf ear and ram the HST though by rejecting the referendum and voting on the bill instead, despite the strong opposition to it, then it will cost the government dearly in the next election.

 

Vander Zalm said that they may need to file a court injunction that would temporarily throttle the HST in it's tracks and allow the Supreme Court to decide if the tax exchange between BC and Ottawa is unconstitutional.

 

Legal costs are expensive he said and they need $25,000 to retain a lawyer. Donation pails were passed and by the time the rally was over they had collected about $2,000 (revised figure.)

 

Vander Zalm still has the same kind of panache and the flamboyant style he was known for with his Socred campaign speeches during the 70's. A one-time card-carrying Liberal, he slammed the current government on past issues including, the construction of BC ferries in Germany costing hundreds of jobs, the sale of BC Rail, and more recently, the privatization of BC Hydro and Run-of-River projects.

 

"We elect a dictatorship every 4-years and we've been lucky in that we've been able to elect benevolent dictators, mostly," he told the audience.

 

"They sold off a piece of BC Hydro to an American company who has made good money administering it, hiring people elsewhere to do it and shortly after they took over the contract they moved to the Bermuda's with their offices so that they wouldn't have to pay income tax," and adding, "That isn't the end of it as we know, it's still ongoing, BC Hydro is being pieced off little by little, they call it Run-of-the-River Projects and we have many American companies, and I'm not slighting the Americans, I love them, but we have many American companies wanting to take over BC Hydro little by little and perhaps the biggest buyer will be General Electric."

 

During his speech, Vander Zalm said that the government is lying to the public when they say jobs will be created and prices will flatten out. "If they believe honestly what they're telling us is true, if they believe that we would believe them that prices are coming down they deserve the boot just for that, misleading the populace knowing that prices will not come down," he said.

 

Vander Zalm said small business will be adversely affected by the HST and when small business is hurt then you lose jobs in the fallout contrary to what the Liberal government's is saying.

 

"We've met with lots of small business people in every community we've met with the Chambers of Commerce and we haven't found a Chamber of Commerce that supports this tax anywhere except the one on Howe Street ––  the BC Chamber of Commerce, which is only 5 people anyway, I was the President of it for 1992."

 

"They're the Howe Street people." he continued. "They look at things a little differently than the other folks in the province. But other than the Howe Street bunch, every Chamber of Commerce seems to be against it. Every one we've talked about it to says small business is going to pay. They're going to suffer."

 

Even more devastating is the effect the HST will have on the restaurant industry he said. "The restaurateurs tell us that they are going to lose millions of dollars and they're going to have to lay-off thousands of people."

 

Vander Zalm's talk took on an even more ominous tone when he said the tax is designed to eventually be part of a "Global Tax" system which that is geared toward a New World Order, "whatever that is," he said.

 

Global Tax money from 130 mostly European countries that already use a value-added taxation, is fed into the World Bank who essentially have carte blanche to do whatever it pleases because it's an off-shore bank and doesn't fall under the jurisdiction of any government.

 

When Delaney took the floor he talked about the legally binding Initiative petition and the act attached to it that was approved by Elections BC that they called "The HST Extinguishment Act". The Act deals a knockout punch to the 200-page, 80 clause piece of legislation the government is handing passing off in Victoria.

 

"We have a strategy to defeat this tax and unlike all of the other petitions that have been going around the province, this one requires the government to act. This one they can't ignore," he said.

 

The Voice asked Vander Zalm if he had any political ambitions and if he was using this as a platform to estimate his popularity. "You must think I am younger than I really, am?" he quipped. "But no, I have no political ambitions. I don't even belong to a political party. I have a passion about what I see happening and I'm going to fight for that." he said.

 

Conservative Party Chilliwack riding candidate, Ben Besler who put the rally together with the help of the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of BC said that he was surprised at the turnout.

 

"It was amazing," said Besler. "We were swamped and they are really fighting for democracy, this is a huge move."

 

Besler laughed when the Voice asked him how he managed to get Al Ens, NDP federal riding president in Chilliwack, working for him moving chairs. "I talked with the union representatives," he joked.

 

The movement to stop the HST was a scrambled and helter-skelter effort until Vander Zalm and Delaney brought it all together and it shows how bipartisanship is alive and well in BC and how all parties can all work together to do what the people want. Isn't that the first sign of a real democracy?

 

For more information contact Ben Besler 604-991-8094 e-mail here or visit the website: www.fighthst.com  or www.coscobc.ca

 

                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 

 

 Voice City Hall Report                      Wednesday April 7th 2010

NASA meeting highlights

 

Chilliwack City Hall Report

Aerospace, Shuttles and Low-Flow Toilets

 

The following highlights are from the 3 pm City Council meeting on Tuesday.

 

Road Line Painting

City Hall awarded the road line marking contract this year to G & D Linemarking & Thermo Plastic Application. Each year the contract is tendered for the best bid on the job of keeping drivers on the straight and narrow.

 

Manager of Transportation and Drainage, Rod Sanderson, said that there were insufficient funds to pay for the Thermo-Plastic Application and the city had to do some juggling because of budgetary shortfalls. "We pared back in non-essential areas to meet goals for the budget," he told council. "So there is insufficient funds to do all the work as tendered -- $186,4900."

 

Sanderson said the budget covered $181,000 and by cutting back on non-safety related expenses they were able to meet the G & D's final bill for the work done.

 

Free Shuttle Service

Recommendation for the free transit shuttle service for Canada Day celebrations Chilliwack Exhibition at Heritage Park from the downtown terminal and also to the Chilliwack Airport for "Flight Fest".

 

Councilor Pat Clark thought it would be a good idea to find out how many people are using them. "It would be interesting to see what kind of ridership we're getting on these shuttles," she said.

 

Tyson-Stevenson Sewer Project

There will be a public hearing at the beginning of May regarding amendments to the project and how the process works.

 

Low-flow Toilet Rebate Program

There will be more information forthcoming. This is a new program and involves changing an older system over to a toilet which has the capability to allow for dual flush (high or low).

 

Community Group Denied

As what is becoming a routine move because of budgetary restraints, council denied with regret an application from the Senior Peer Counselors to be included for funding allocations in the Community Development Initiatives Funding Policy.

 

Town Center

Councilor Chuck Stam had some questions regarding the height restrictions and additional densities in the C2 an C3 development plans for the downtown area and noted that the plans will need to be looked at closer and amendments made. There will be a public hearing on this Monday, April 19th at the next city council meeting.

 

Land From the ALR

The owners of the property at 7041 Chadsey Road want to have their land removed from the ALR and rezoned to so that owners can open a campground for tents and RV's.

 

Lofty Expectations: Chilliwack Aviation Industry

Chuck Stam was appointed to the Chilliwack Aviation and Aerospace Planning Committee.

 

Council Liaison Reports

Councilor Chuck Stam said he had "a very interesting industry and sometimes we forget about," Stam said. The aviation industry locally and is growing quite rapidly and once the committee has a plan secured we'll be making a presentation to council here in the near future."

 

Councilor Janzen thanked those involved in the March Across The Finish Line fundraiser for their help.

 

"The tally as of today was $18,300," said Janzen. "I'm really thrilled with that and just a note that everyone can still send in cheques online or otherwise,"

 

Coun. Janzen also mentioned the upcoming "Martini Mingle" with funds raised from the event designated to the hospital fund and also mentioned that the Health Contact Centre program recently received a $2000 donation and that they will be letting the BC Housing Authority know about that as more "evidence to support that project."

 

She also thanked CEPCO for the dinner and their "great work" on things like Border Services and private businesses.

 

Coun. Pat Clark said that she was "fortunate to be able to serve on both the Mayor's Committee on Health Issues and on the Housing Committee and noting that "those two aspects can work together on projects" when they cross into each areas and then tailor a more refined plan.

 

After the meeting Coun. Chuck Stam told the Voice he was still familiarizing himself with the Aerospace Committee and had only sat in on one meeting so far.

 

According to Stam the airport could be better used and more of an economic asset and these are things they'll be looking at.

 

"It's a committee of CEPCO which is tasked with utilizing the Chilliwack Airport system better than it has been utilized in the past from both the function and future growth," he said. "They need more industry at the airport, it's a beautiful facility and not enough business is being realized there," said Stam.

 

Check tomorrow for the 7 pm session highlights.

                                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice City Notice                                         Thursday April 8th 2010

A new look for the city

 

Open House Open To Suggestions

Downtown Chilliwack finally grows up in OCP plan

Staff  Report

Chilliwack citizens will be getting one last look at the Official Community Plan (OCP) before it goes to council for approval. City staff are having an Open House on Wednesday April 14th at Evergreen Hall from 5 pm to 7:30 pm.

The city's OCP will be laid out for public scrutiny and all residents are  encouraged to give their input and thoughts regarding re-development of the downtown area with a view to showing "leadership in environmental stewardship, economic self-sufficiency, urban design, agricultural preservation, sane urban development and social well-being."

According to the City of Chilliwack website, the plan seeks to provide direction for future development and growth in downtown as well as for "rural development, residential and economic development, environmental protection, parks, transportation, recreation and service infrastructure." The plan would be a policy guide for council  regarding short and long-term land use and development decisions.

Councilor Ken Huttema told StarFm news that the OCP is looking at densification of the downtown core which will combine shopping and residential, saying that it's a better way for the community to go rather than having people pick up and drive across town to buy groceries or to their jobs. "It encourages walking to your shopping or your work, even bicycling, which takes vehicles off the road as well," he said.

Chilliwack is building up. "We're going with higher stories, four to six, or even eight to ten-story buildings." The OCP he said, "Will show what would it look like with residential on top and commercial on the bottom and a mixture of parks in the appropriate places along with the present amenities."

Once the public has had a chance to review the draft and submit their responses, any amendments will go to council for further discussion. If council likes what they see and approve the plan, then the amendments will be incorporated into the OCP.

Feedback will be accepted and considered by the city staff until April 21st. People can also preview the OCP online at the city's website here.

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 

Voice City Hall News                                     Friday April 9th 2010

Cheam Centre Update

 

Fitness Facility Finally Fulfills

Cheam Leisure Centre Re-Opens Next Week

Staff  Report

 

Artists rendering of Cheam Leisure Centre. Artwork courtesy of the City of Chilliwack.

The city announced yesterday that they will be re-opening the Cheam Leisure Centre next Thursday, April 15th. The Centre had been closed to allow new equipment to be moved in and safety inspections to take place.

"We are elated this project has been completed and hope all of our residents will take full advantage of the recreation opportunities that are available in this beautiful new facility," said Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz. "One of the key advantages of having the same operator at both leisure centres is that citizens holding passes for the Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre can also use them at the Cheam Leisure Centre and vice versa."

The City of Chilliwack and the new operator, (LRG), have developed a standard fee structure. Drop-in fees for each facility are identical for the same services. In addition, LRG will further harmonize fees, so residents who can afford longer term passes, from one month to one year in length, will have the added benefit of being able to access both facilities with the same pass.

A Cheam Centre Grand Opening Celebration is planned for the middle of May and the Voice will pass that information on to our readership when it comes available.

"We are especially excited about the opportunity to offer programming at both Cheam and Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centres," said LRG founder and President, Stan Anderson. "We believe the ability to access both facilities with a single pass will be of great convenience and tremendous value for individuals and families in Chilliwack."

The capital project consists of a redevelopment and upgrade of the Cheam Centre in Garrison Crossing; into a high-quality, community recreation destination. The project includes construction of a new 6-lane, 25 metre pool with change rooms, a gradual-entry family leisure pool and play features, administration area, and improvement of existing spaces. A fitness facility upgrade is planned as a second phase, proposed for some time in the future as funding allows.

A park is also being developed on the property adjacent to the leisure centre and it is anticipated that an outdoor spray park, which will be free for children and families to use, will be completed and open by late summer 2010. For more information about the Cheam Centre, the Landing Leisure Centre or the Leisure Recreation Group visit online at: www.chilliwack.com  or www.leisurerecgroup.com

Watch the Voice next week for a closer look at the new Center.                                                                                               

                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice Views                                                    Friday April 9th 2010

Cash for trash

 

Bin There Done That

Dumpster Diver of the Week #4

Staff/Voice

 

Who's trash and who's treasure is it? With the numerous recycling programs and initiatives, this is testament to the careless people out there who still don't recycle. This photo is also is indicative of the ongoing homelessness problem in Chilliwack.

For recycling information visit www.rcbc.bc.ca

 

                                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice Letters                                                     Friday April 9th 2010

In search of a better way

 

Nurse calls for salary equity and fewer bureaucrats

Bottomless hierarchies lead to lay-offs in health care and education            

 

The following is a letter from Myrtle Macdonald, MSc.A - Nursing Education and Research, McGill University. Macdonald worked as an outreach nurse for many years in Montreal is now with the Chilliwack branch of the Schizophrenic Association of BC. The city is fortunate to have her working here for our mentally ill. She is well into her 80s and is an outspoken advocate for people with mental health afflictions and also a much-needed healthcare watchdog. Can we clone this wonderful woman? The Voice always looks forward to her letters.

 

have written several times to politicians about the foolishness of having a many-layered hierarchy in Mental Health and in Health Care. I asked for a split up the 5 huge health regions into 21, as in the past. Let each function without supervisors from above, other than from a slim Ministry of Health. That would be both efficient and economical.

 

Today I wrote to the Premier about the hierarchy in Education. Instead of laying off 190 teachers in Vancouver, lay off several layers of administrators and bureaucracy, not those who actually teach children.

 

That must still include those with special needs, those teens who have dropped out and are trying again, those who want to learn to play an instrument in a school band, and child care and housing for single mothers. The children need more hours of education to keep them from wasting time in the streets, tempted by gangs. Subsidize sports for children so that all can participate, not just the rich. Subsidize housing for the poor. There are many empty condos in Chilliwack because people cannot afford them.

 

There are many lovely new office spaces standing empty.

 

Please don't put the onus on parents and grandparents. Most are poor, like me. I work at least 60 hours a week as an unpaid volunteer. There is no way that I can work more. And most grandparents do the                  same.                                 

                                            

No, the salvation of BC is through cutting of salaries of people at the top. No one should receive more the $100,000 per year. Not even Politicians and CEOs. Only modest travel and accommodation should be provided.

Hire more professional people to give direct service: teachers, community mental Health workers, home care nurses, guards in forestry and camps, etc.

 

Lay off 4 layers of hierarchy, or transfer them into direct service. If they need retraining to qualify, good. But their teachers should be people who have current experience in the field. Supervisors of supervisors of supervisors are ridiculous and totally redundant. It is the educated professionals at the grass roots who are capable of planning and raising of standards and quality care. The ivory tower people are out of touch and outdated.

 

Don't replace experienced professionals with new graduates. Theory is not good enough. Knowledge comes from long-term application in the world of work. Don't waste the 60 - 70 year old teachers, RNs and other professionals.

 

Salary increments for education and experience should be cut back. The spread is too great. If Unions don't agree, well please deal with them, and send my letter to them. That should help them see the light.

 

Job satisfaction comes not from high salaries and promotions, but from having students and patients who are happy from good service.

 

I was astounded to hear in the news yesterday that the average cost of a home in BC is over $ 1,000,000. For the sake of everyone in BC get together with economists, real estate moguls, the Finance Minister and the NPD Finance critic - and solve this escalation of the cost of living. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, and the middle class is disappearing.

 

Few people will vote for the present party in power if these enormous inequities aren't drastically changed.

 

There may be more jobs, but face it: most of them are part time and don't earn people a living wage. It is not their fault that they are poor.

 

Please treat us with integrity and be as self-sacrificing as the poor have to be, living on les than $20,000 a year. Try it for yourself.

 

Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack

For more information visit: www.chilliwackmooddisorders.com 

 

                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Tip Toeing Thru The

Tulips

Raising funds for the hospice and

Cancer Foundation

 

 

                                                                                                  Joe Reporter/Voice photo

A youngster picks tulips in the rain at the Bloomz & Herbz Tuesday. The annual event called "Tulipmania" raises money for the Chilliwack Hospice Society and BC Cancer Foundation and is on now until April 18th. Admission is $3 per person and flowers start at $2 for 5. The location is open from 10 am to 5 pm weekends and weekdays from noon until 8 pm. Closed Mondays. The tulips are located at 5135 Ferry Rd. in Rosedale. See the community events for special dates until the 18th.                                                                                                              

                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

April 7th 2010

Joe Reporter

Community News & Views
The Joe Report
 

Voice Community News                           Saturday April 10th 2010

Daffodil Day

 

Petal Perfect

Flower show intoxicates

mall shoppers           

Craig Hill/Voice

 

If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.  ~Andrew Mason

 

Stamin, pistils, phloem and xylem are all words in a days work for green thumb enthusiasts competing in the Chilliwack Garden Club's 63rd Annual Spring Flower Show at the Chilliwack Mall on Friday. The event brought a huge display of over one-hundred different, member-grown, cut flowers for judges to sniff, study and scrutinize.

 

Show Chairperson, Roger Pitts, said the event gets bigger each time they have it. "We've got 88 classes of flowers now and the number of entries are going up each year and the quality is going up," said Pitts.

 

Show Secretary, Dorothy Belfry, usually has cut flowers and floral arrangements but has been very busy selling her house and hasn't had as much time as she would have liked for her beloved hobby. Even though she is losing her large home garden, she still plans on keeping her thumbs green.

 

"We're downsizing a bit unfortunately," said Belfry. "You never stop gardening even if you have to downsize."

 

The cut flowers must all be cultivated by the entrant and the Floral Arts segment of the show's competition features arranged flowers     

which can also be bought  at stores or grown by the members. It sounds easy but it isn't. Judges look for things like marks on leaves or flowers left by inclement weather, imperfections in petals and so on.

 

"We bring judges in from outside the area like Jennifer Duke (Delta) and Ilsa (White Rock)," said Belfry.

 

Show judges are put through rigorous two-year training program and as part of their portfolio, must have exhibited and won first place in multiple shows plus they need to be at a certain level in order to be accredited. Once they receive status, they are then able to join the The Society of Horticulture and Floral Design Judges of BC who are responsible for maintaining show competition standards in the province.

 

When judges check a flower they also leave invaluable advice on the entrants card which the grower can then use to improve their plant.

 

Speaking about the club, Belfry says it's fun and educational.

 

"The club itself is a very friendly club," she explained. "There are no cliques and at our meetings we will have a speaker from whom we learn about specific things. A little while ago we had a speaker on herbs, a grower from this area."

 

Members don't go into a flower show cold. They do some warm-up practice shows at the club before an event like the one at the mall. "Each month we have a 'little show' were we learn how to do it before we do a bigger show which is more competitive," said Belfry.

 

Chilliwack Garden Club member, Marlene Tambre, was working as a judge assistant, has been with the group since she moved to Chilliwack 5-years ago and said the club is invaluable to her.

 

"We meet monthly and learn to be better gardeners. We learn how to be container gardens, how to be fruit and vegetable gardeners. We also have a Floral Art Club which is separate," said Tambre.

 

CGC also hosts a June Rose and Flower Show and a Fall Show and have assorted activities such as chartered bus trips and "Open Gardens" where members open their gardens to viewing by club members. The club also assists UFV horticulture students with bursaries from time to time through money raised at plant sales.

 

The 140-strong CGC holds monthly meetings which usually feature Q&A with guest speakers like local garden expert like Brian Minter, a Grow & Show of cut flowers, floral arrangements and a plant sale table. Members earn points throughout the year at the various club events and later recognized for their individual efforts.

 

"People interested in learning about any type of gardening, whether it's pruning fruit trees, or, how do I manage moss in my lawn or how do I start my seeds indoors if I want to grow annuals?" said Belfry. "You can learn any of those things, not just from the speakers, but we have really good gardeners and they are so available to help people."

 

The CGC meets at 7:30 pm every second Wednesday (except January, July and August) at Cooke's Presbyterian Church on Wellington Ave. New members are always welcome. To cover costs like their monthly newsletter, yearly membership fees are $25/single person or $30/family and due in February. The Annual General Meeting is in November when new executive members are elected to the board and there is usually a summer picnic.

 

The Chilliwack Mall generously donated six $25 gift certificates for show winners.

 

For more information visit the CGC website: www.icangarden.com/clubs/CGC

 

And then there's Daffodil Days ...

 

The floral show was also helping to promote Cancer Awareness Month in Canada and Daffodil

 

Daffodils have long symbolized a hope for those working to find a cure. In 1950, a group of Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) volunteers organized a fundraising tea and chose to adorn the tables with daffodils. The tradition caught on and is still going strong today and the campaign is evolving.                                                    

This year, Daffodil Day was April 9th in BC and the Yukon and traditionally each year people buy live cut daffodils by donating at the various boxes around the Lower Mainland. This year for the first time people have an alternative to the cut flowers and can get bright yellow daffodil lapel pins instead.

 

Canadian Cancer Society CEO, Barbara Kaminski, told StarFm in an earlier interview that the Daffodil Campaign lapel pins are exclusive to BC however they may catch on in the rest of Canada.

 

"The pins are symbolic and are worn to show support for people going through cancer," said Kaminski. "Cancer has good stories and not so good stories," she said. "One of the good stories is that there is a 65% survival rate and each year it gets better."

 

Kaminski said the idea for the daffodil pins was inspired by the veteran's poppy campaign.

 

Lapel pins will be available though April at Chevron stations, Flight Centres, ABC Family Restaurants and Wireless Wave stores. To find a location in your area where pins are available visit: www.cancer.ca

To make a $5 cell phone donation text the word "fight" to 45678

 

To see the photo gallery of the flowers at the exhibit go here

 

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Voice Community News                           Sunday April 11th 2010

Enter the dragons

 

Do You Believe In Dragons?

Paddles Up!

Craig Hill/Voice

 

 

                                                                                                           Craig Hill/Voice photos   

The "Open Paddle" filled the dragon boats Saturday at Harrison Lake.

 

Do you believe in dragons? Quite a few people do and despite blustery weekend weather, dozens showed up for the Fraser Valley Dragon Boat Club's (FVDBC) free Open Paddle Saturday at Harrison Lake, which by coincidence resembled the inside of a Speed Queen in wash cycle.

 

Chinese dragon boat racing as been around for two-thousand-years however in 1976 it emerged as an international sport in Hong Kong. Dragon boating first appeared in Vancouver as a demonstration sport at Expo 86. Vancouverites liked it and interest started to grow. In 1989, former BC Lieutenant Governor Dr. David C. Lam and prominent businessman Milton K. Wong, created the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival.

 

The Harrison Open Paddle events make the sport more accessible and encourages people to have an on-water experience aboard one of the FVDBC's 40' dragon boats along with 20 other motivated paddlers and affords the club an opportunity to sign new members.

 

Paddlers sign a waiver, don wet gear, life jacket etc. and climb into one of the boats, they are given basic instructions on stroke techniques from one of the captains before going out on the lake.

 

Once under way, in order to maneuver the boat, paddlers have to remain

focused on what the caller and steer-person are telling them in a language only paddlers understand. Paddles up, hold hard, right or left side draw, and of course as every politician knows –– the back paddle.

 

Having an Open Paddle event allows people who otherwise wouldn't get into a dragon boat, the chance to try it at no cost, and it also affords the club an opportunity to enlist new members.

 

Club President, Scott Farrell, was pleased they were getting new people signed-up at the weekend event and this year the FVDBC hopes to add to the 4-teams they already have by enlisting more women and seniors to create a novice Ladies Only and novice Seniors Team.

 

"I think we've got 12 signed up so far and the day is still young," said Farrell.

 

When the FVDBC is entered in regatta competition races, like in Kelowna, its more for skilled paddlers who have the strength and endurance to finish a race, but for recreational paddlers out on Harrison Lake, its about fun and camaraderie more than anything else.

 

The 140-strong club has a mix of both genders in various age groups with corresponding classifications to suit those who paddle twice a week. They even have a team of 55+ group of paddlers.

 

Farrell got into it because both he and his wife, Angela, wanted to find something fun they could do together and get some exercise and marital bliss at the same time.

 

"Its the only sport my wife and I could find that we could compete together instead of against each other," said Farrell.

 

"Its a social sport and a true team sport," he said. "It's not like hockey where you score the winning goal you're the hero. It takes a whole boat to cross that finish line."

The club's first regatta of the year is April 24th and will involve 200m sprints. "200m, you're done in about a minute," he said. "Those are the warm-up races. Normally the races are 500m."

 

"Those are the most exciting two-and-a-half minutes you will ever have," said Farrell.

 

"We have a regatta ourselves this year on July 24th at the lake and this is our hometown, we enjoy it. Last year we had 60 teams come out from all over BC and Washington State as well and bring in 1600 to 1800 paddlers for the day and with their entourage, close to 5000 people will show up for the event," said Farrell.

 

The season runs from March to the end of September. Club membership is $135/year which includes coaching, paddle, life jacket. The FVDBC also holds fundraisers to help offset the costs of regatta entry fees

For more information on the club and their activities visit their website: www.fvdbc.com

 

                         To see the photo gallery of dragon boaters go here

 

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Voice Local News                                         Monday April 12th 2010

Living Healthy

 

Chilliwack is in the swim of things

Cheam Leisure Centre gives healthy lifestyle options

Staff  Report

 

                                                                                                                        Staff/Voice photos

The Cheam Leisure Centre opens Thursday April 15th. In this photo the 6-lane pool is in the background and the children's swim area is in the front.

 

It's been a long time coming but the $9 million Cheam Leisure Centre is finally opening to the public Thursday and Parks & Recreation gets to add a sparkling new facility to the city's growing list of amenities.

 

Mayor Sharon Gaetz, Coun. Pat Clark, Manager of Civic Facilities, Ryan Mulligan, Cheam Centre General Manager, Jaimee Stokes and various city officials were on hand with the media for a tour of the Centre just as crews were busy putting the finishing touches on the interior.

 

The Centre, which will eventually have the capacity to handle 500 people at any given time, is on budget and on track to open on schedule and the Mayor was pleased as punch.

 

"We're really excited to work with the Leisure Recreation Group again. We know that they have a proven track record and have done a lot of really great work on the north side of the highway," said Gaetz.

 

A manicured courtyard entrance sits in the middle of the building

leading to parking lots located on the southeast side where most people will come and go from.

 

The facility's centerpiece is the 6-lane 25 metre swimming pool which includes a leisure pool, a lazy river, hot tub, sauna and waterfall sculpture that kids can splash around under. Another unique poolside feature are the imitation rocks lining the edges where mom's can sit and watch their brood.

 

The multi-dimensional Center also has a large double-sized gymnasium with hoops and squash courts. The entire facility is accessible to the handicapped and includes two private extra-wide washrooms and a shower. Additionally, the pool, hot tub and lazy river are ramped and specially designed submersible wheelchairs are available.

 

Mulligan, said a ramp was the best option for disabled swimmers.

 

"By making the pools wheelchair accessible, we didn't have to put a lift in," Mulligan explained. "Other pools we have to have a lift to get people in and out."

 

The family changing room was originally smaller in the plans so the area was redesigned to better accommodate families. The ladies changing room comes equipped with wall-mounted tables and mirrors women can use for putting on makeup before leaving.

The fitness room fully stocked with weights.

 

"One of the things we did was we changed the dressing room size because we weren't totally convinced that the main family change room was big enough," he said. "So we stole from the men's change room, shrunk it, and kept the ladies change room the same."

 

A complete state-of-the-art $300,000 fitness room is furnished with all types of weights and exercise machines including treadmills with built-in televisions and Ipod docking stations where people will be able to watch their favourite shows or listen to their own music while exercising.

 

Director of Parks Recreation & Culture, Gord Pederson, planned on using the pool when it's open. "Oh absolutely," he told the Voice.

 

Grade five students will be able to visit the Centre at no charge with an access card from their school The reason why grade five students were chosen for the free passes is because that is about the age when they begin to choose what sports they want to become involved in and make healthy lifestyle choices.

 

"What we heard from the experts was that grade five was the time that begin to make decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives," said Gaetz. "It really didn't cost the city any money but we could not subsidize all youth that way, the facility has to make money."

 

"I think what is really cool about this development is that we could not picture what this would be like. If you've ever been here before, this was an old military pool heated at one time with solar panels. I think it's great this has been resurrected on the site and the fact that all this residential area has grown right around here. So this really, this side of the freeway is great planning so they can work and they can shop and play right here."

 

Some of the programs being offered at the Centre are; Tumble Time, Youth Floor Hockey, Slammin' Saturdays (for ages 6-12), Family Drop-in Sports, Preschool Physical Education, and Teen Night.

 

Adults will have Group Fitness & Mind/Body programming such as: Total Body Conditioning, Yoga Flow, Boot Camp, Women on Weights, Pilates, and Core Conditioning.

 

Elders will have Senior's Soccer and Fit for Life! More programs will be added in the future.

 

The Cheam Leisure Centre is located 45501 Market Way (Sardis) For more information on what programs will be available call: 604-793-7946 or visit the Leisure Recreation Group website here.

 

Facility Hours

Monday -Friday: 6am - 10pm
Saturday and Sunday: 7:30am - 9:30pm
Holidays - please call for hours

 

                          Take the tour of the new Cheam Centre go here

 

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Voice Community Event                             Tuesday April 13th 2010

Planet Stewards

 

Geocachers Clean It Up!

Local volunteer group leaves river cleaner than when they found it

Submitted by Maude Stephany, Chilliwack


Last year, Geocachers in the Fraser Valley picked up more than 820 kg of trash at their two CITO (pronounced SIGHT-O and which stands for Cache In, Trash Out) events in the Chilliwack area. Last year saw over a dozen  participants who picked up garbage on roadsides, riversides and lakesides in the Fraser Valley, removing everything from old refrigerators and televisions to burned-out cars.

This year, organizer Sue Sandar also known as "Agassiz Angel", is hoping
to top those numbers in their two CITO events in the area. People leave
a lot of trash at campsites and along the river and lakesides. Something
that Paul and Maude Stephany (known as Family Extremes) were so upset
about, that they begged Agassiz Angel to help organize an event at a
popular hiking and camping site nearby.

 

"We can't believe how much trash people leave behind. Our goal is to remove as much of the trash as possible to restore the area to its natural beauty and preserve our environment," they said.

There is one CITO event planned at the Chipmunk caves campsite area on
April 17th, and another planned in the Rosedale area on April 24th.
Organizers ask that those interested in taking part please remember to
log your intent to attend on the www.geocaching.com website so they can plan accordingly for refreshments and adequate supplies for the work to be done.

It's just a great way to give back to the community, and to make the
places we visit "better than we found it," says Angel.

                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Arts Views                                        Thursday April 15th 2010

Alluring artwork

 

Just For You

The Golden Palette Club art show

at the City Hall gallery

Staff/Voice

 

"Back to a Warm Barn" A pastel by Golden Palette Club member Lauren Spilsbury on display as part of the "Just For You" art exhibit on now until May 27th at the City Hall gallery, 8550 Young St.

 

In her own words ...

Lauren Spilsbury

 

From drawing on the walls as a toddler to searching out the insides of used envelopes as a pre-teen, no surface was safe from my pencil and crayon attacks.

 

High school classes were the last of free expressions for the many years until I joined the Port Moody Art Club in the late 70s. I have no formal art education and that remains a regret to this day.

 

Small instruction classes have given me incentive to keep creating. John Leflock showed me joy that was pastel pencils on two weekend classes that was a wonderful professional pastelist, Diane Pointing, who completed the addiction to pastels.

 

This medium is messy but unmatched in it's intensity and luminosity. There may be a way to be neat with these wonderful soft chalks but I have not found it.

 

I still take small diversions into other media and particularly like drawing media. I guess I never really stray too far from the drawing on walls.

                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice