Voice Special Report                                          Sunday January 10th 2010

Fraser River Tragedy

 

Search For Missing Teen Continues

It's been over a week and so far searchers have come up empty-handed

Craig Hill/Voice

 

 

                                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue volunteer members prepare to continue recovery effort at Agassiz bridge on Saturday.

 

The search for the body of 18-year-old Jordan August continues more than a week after he was last seen falling from the Fraser bridge on January 1st at approximately 3 am.

According to Cpl. Lea-Anne Dunlop, Communications Officer for the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP, there will be one more coordinated search Saturday on the river and they will see where they go from there.

"We are focusing on and hoping to recover his body and asking users of the river to assist us with that," said Dunlop.


The bridge has a walkway and guardrail on one side for pedestrians and cyclists, the side where August fell from, while the opposite side has a small rail at the top of the concrete barrier. Normally people crossing the bridge would use the walkway but in this case it's unclear why August was on the bridge deck and ended up going over on the side with the guardrail.                     SAR member Dan Bruneski prepares for the river on

                                          

At this point there is no indication that August's death was a "suicide by bridge" and some in the community have speculated that alcohol was involved but this has not been confirmed.

In early January the water below the Fraser Bridge is extremely frigid making it hard for the Search and Rescue members who were out on Saturday assisting in the search. The Voice caught up with Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue volunteers unloading water Sea-Doos from a trailer into the river.

Dan Bruneski, a SAR member for 17-years and Marvin Anderson who has been a member for 3-years, had the solemn task of a recovery search. They were called out at 4 am New Year's day to begin searching and so far they've been unable to locate August's body.

"We searched that night right away and launched here (at the Agassiz bridge) and went all the way up to the Fraser bridge with the Sea-Doo's," said Bruneski. "Our area is from here up to the debris trap and today we'll search both sides and then the Hope boat and the Chilliwack boat have been here too."

There has been no word on how much money has been spent on the search or how many man-hours have been involved but there have been many people out in boats and various watercraft.

"Quite a few of the teams were out the other day," said Anderson. "The Surrey team went out and did from the bridge to Mission. They searched all the way from Hope to the Pattullo Bridge."

Forensics 101 says that a body in water will usually sink but because the specific gravity of a body is very close to that of water then small variations e.g. air trapped in clothing have a considerable effect on buoyancy. Having sunk to the bottom the body will remain there until sufficient buoyancy to allow it to rise to the surface and float. If the water temperature is too cold then the body may rise in 3-weeks or it may never resurface.

 

"Once a person goes off a bridge or into the water they struggle for a bit or not and they go down to the bottom," explained Bruneski. "They stay on the bottom until the chemical reaction floats their body to the surface and then they are found."

It could be some time before they find anything because the process is slowed  in        Fraser Bridge spot where August went over the railing.

cold water.

"It's usually 4 or 5-days in warm water and cold water it could be much longer," said Anderson.

If SAR finds a body they will radio it in and have a boat dispatched to the area.

When someone wants to jump off of a bridge thinking it is a nice airy way to end their lives, they need to rethink that. It's a horrible way to go. When someone falls the impact is tremendous. The body goes from roughly 160 km/h to nearly zero in a millisecond. The dynamics of inertia dictate that internal organs tend to keep going and the force of impact causes them to tear loose. Autopsy reports typically indicate that the jumpers have lacerated aortas, livers, spleens and hearts. Ribs are shattered and the impact impales the heart or lungs. People falling have broken sternums, clavicles, pelvises and necks. Skull fractures are also quite common.

Which means you die one of two ways or a combination of both. One, you hit the water and the impact kills you. Sometimes the person is knocked out cold. Other times they survive for a brief period. Sometimes the person can be seen flailing in the water trying to stay afloat only to succumb to the extensive internal bleeding. Death can take seconds or minutes. Two, you drown. You hit the water going fast and your body plunges in deep. Conscious or otherwise you breathe in water and suffocate.


Many US bridges now have suicide prevention barriers which stop people from jumping off and still allow for a view.


It's up to the RCMP how long the search will continue on the river for the missing teen.
 

 

Example of suicide barrier on Cold Spring

Canyon bridge in Santa Barbara California.

     

                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Local Gastronomy                                   Friday January 8th 2010

 

Prestons: A Palate Pleaser

A unique Chilliwack waterfront dining experience

Craig Hill/Voice

There is a quotation by Virginia Woolf that goes "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

When it comes to eating in town the buzz is that Prestons restaurant located at the newly renovated Coast Hotel in Chilliwack is a great place to eat. So on Wednesday after a morning working up an appetite rock-hounding, my date and I decided to treat our taste buds to lunch there and find out what all the scuttlebutt was about firsthand.



                                                                                                                                    Craig Hill/Voice photos

Seattle visitor Tania Ebeling takes in the view from Prestons Restaurant at the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack on Wednesday.

 

There was plenty of free parking and reservations for lunch were not necessary and when we arrived, Nicole Morrow, the restaurant's congenial manager, took us inside and seated us near the stunning floor-to-ceiling view wall overlooking the shimmering Salish Park pond.

The well lit room flows with linear continuity as you enter the spacious dinning area. This is brought about by the nicely upholstered wrap-around bench where guests can wait for an available table and the panoramic sliding windows that open up to a patio which make this a unique waterfront dining experience.

The pond's gleaming surface seemed to move in unison with soothing jazz music and the room's mellow colour scheme with bamboo sculptures provided a warm and pleasant ambiance which set the mood perfectly.


Our upbeat and eager-to-please server Andrea brought us delicious coffee that we sipped while studying the mouth-watering menu which included scrumptious items like; Thai Beef salad, Linguine & Pesto with Sautéed Prawns, Grilled Lamb Tenderloin and Baked Alaska.
   

After some discussion, my date chose the tofu and shrimp laden Pad Thai dish and I opted for the fresh pan-seared BC salmon sandwich with a Caesar salad.

While waiting for our food, we had a chance to admire the unique stained glass artwork that separates the dining area from the lobby. A cozy walk-thru bar sits at one end with big screen televisions adorning the walls.

Our food arrived very quickly on interesting rectangular-shaped plates and my date tucked into her delectable Pad Thai with ravenous delight. The Pad Thai is a bracing plate of thin rice noodles with a heavenly mixture of savoury spices and herbs, garlic, tamarind, Chinese chives, chili peppers, preserved turnip, banana flower and tofu. Also in the mix are bean sprouts and peanuts which round out a very full flavoured dish that was topped with a lime section for the adventurous and a healthy addition of julienne vegetables gave a splash of colour to the plate.

My pan-seared salmon was as fresh and as tasty as one can find anywhere in BC and nestled open face on healthy olive bread. The toothsome Cesar salad accompanying the sandwich glistened in a bowl that was slanted toward me which made it more conducive to eating.

It has to be noted that throughout lunch we weren't pestered or overwhelmed with questions like "Is everything alright?" from our server which is annoying at the best of times when you have to stop a conversation to answer to overly inquisitive staff.

Another point that needs mentioning is that there was no cafe-style slinging of dishes. The sounds of porcelain crashing into each other while being hurled into bus pans was non-existent. It was a quiet lunch and very enjoyable experience.

Next time I think I'm going to go for the Grilled Chicken Triple Cream Brie on the

The Coast Hotel Chilliwack BC.                patio and I can't wait.
               

For more information on bookings and reservations call:

Coast Hotel 604-701-3070 or visit their website: www.dineprestons.com

 

                                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Valley Voice January Archives

New Year's Baby                                                     Friday January 1st 2010

 

Lower Mainland New Year's Baby A First for Chilliwack General

Abby couple's pride and joy gets plenty of attention

 

It was a first for Chilliwack General Hospital and a first for the Lower Mainland when baby James Darwin, the son of Laura and Aaron Bayes, was born at 12:46 am.

 

Even though baby James was a month premature, he weighed in at a healthy seven pounds, two ounces.

 

While visiting relatives, the mom started having pains and erring on the side of caution, the couple went in to the hospital only to be told that the baby was on it's way then and there.

 

 

                                                                     Handout photo

Proud Chilliwack parents Laura and Aaron Bayes

seen here with their first child James at Chilliwack

General Hospital Friday.

 

After a media rush, the young couple needed some private time and the new mom needed to bond with the baby. "Laura is concentrating on just being a mom for now," the Bayes family said via e-mail Friday. The child is a first for the couple and Aaron is busy as a University of the Fraser Valley student in his final year of a psychology major.

 

The Bayes baby wasn't the first baby born in BC. That title goes to Finn Ostermann of Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island who was born at the Cowichan District Hospital at 12:13 am and weighed in at eight pounds, five ounces.

 

© Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Vedder Rotary Trail                         Friday January 1st 2010

 

 

 

What A Difference A Day Makes

Old Man Winter finally touches Chilliwack

 

 

 

An abbreviated snowfall left behind up to 10cm last Wednesday while leaving areas west of the city almost untouched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voice Report                                                        Tuesday January 11th 2010

Help Put Us On The Board!

 

You're So Square,

Baby I Don't Care

Chilliwack Wants The "Monopoly" On Voting

Staff Report

Chilliwack could be celebrating more than the Olympic Torch lighting Feb 7th. The city also has a chance to earn a square on the world's most popular board game. Hasbro Canada is putting together their 2010 edition of Monopoly and is looking for Canadian cities to replace the game's traditional place names    Handout line art.

like Park Place and Boardwalk. In order to be on the board people have to go online and vote. It's a horse race and Chilliwack is definitely in the running.
                                                                                                                               
After the voting is over, each city's placement on the game board will depend on the number of votes they received. Cities with the most votes will be located on the highest rent property. A total of 65 cities are in the running and trying to carve their name in Monopoly history which ends Feb. 7th.
 

Winning one of the coveted 20 available spots would be a lottery win for the city and bring in some badly needed tourism dollars. Real money not monopoly money. Sure we'll take Boardwalk but are we really that ritzy? How about we settle for St. James place or maybe one of the nice green squares which are our city's colours? Heck, we'll even take Baltic! That sounds more like it, be it ever so humble.


Mayor Sharon Gaetz is asking people not to pass go without voting first. "We are thrilled Chilliwack has been chosen as a pre-selected city to vie for a position on the Monopoly board,” she said. “Even though the ‘Boardwalk’ property is sought-after because it has the highest rent, we are hoping for the ‘Illinois Avenue’ position, as it is the property that is most visited during a game!”

"The final result of the Monopoly Canada Edition will be surprising, and only time will tell how the vote will turn out," says Michelle Sinclair, Monopoly brand manager. "We hope that fans will vote early and often for their favourite Canadian city."

As of today, Chilliwack is 18th and we get a pretty blue square. But voting is only just beginning and our position is dropping fast so why not take a moment and sign-up to vote. The contest is not restricted to local residents only so tell your friends everywhere to vote for Chilliwack.


If Chilliwack doesn't make it to the Top 20, not to worry, there will be a wild card stage where two spaces – Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues that have been set aside for a second round of the competition which will take place Feb. 8th to Feb. 21st. For more information and to vote visit: www.monopolyvote.ca.

                                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Extra                                                        Thursday January 14th 2010

Chilliwack Chamber Update

 

Coffee With Caruth

Business Excellence Awards

Staff  Report

 

Lisa Caruth, Executive Director of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, dropped by StarFM for an update as to what is going on with the Chamber lately. Here are some highlights from her report.

It has been crazy busy organizing everything we have coming up. It's exciting and we're just ready to go.

Casual Business Connections
The first thing we have on January 19th is our regular Casual Connections and that will be at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel sponsored by Mary at IPS. So that's our regular business mixer from 5pm to 8 pm and everyone welcome.
 

Business Luncheon
Secondly, January 20th we are lucky enough to Jason Myers, President of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association speaking to the chamber. This event will also be at the Coast Hotel. Tickets are on sale on our website or call our office at 604-793-4323.

He will be speaking about "Roadmap to Recovery" and "Economic Update in Canada". He's going to be talking about everyone's favourite tax, the HST as well as his "Buy American" issues.

He's participated in some roundtable discussions across our country and he's going to bring some of that information back. According to the consulting firm Watson Wyatt, he's the most accurate economic forecaster in Canada. It is quite a coup to get him. Not only in Chilliwack but he's going to be speaking to Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce. He'll be presenting and then he'll be opening the floor for some questions.

Chamber of Commerce Awards
The 15th Annual Business Excellence Awards is happening very soon and I'm very excited. We are almost 90% sold out so anyone out there if you want to go make sure you give our office a call today or visit our website at: www.chilliwackchamber.com


The judging is complete. The winners have all been chosen. The awards recipients have all been chosen. There have been a couple of awards that the judging was quite difficult. There was some steep competition. The Business Citizenship Award which is a coveted award and I think our judges, if they could have, they would have given out awards to everyone. Everyone really stepped up to the plate this year.

The After-party
There is a lot of tickets being sold as well as tickets will be available at the awards dinner so anyone interested in going can either come to the awards and purchase your tickets there or just purchase tickets for the After-party. We're expecting a lot of people to be at Prestons at the Coast Hotel and it will just be a nice place for people to celebrate after the awards are finished. Also, I'd like to mention that Sardis Senior Secondary Drumline will be escorting Mayor Gaetz, Chief Joe Hall and the president of Chamber of Commerce Jason Lum into the awards that night. It is going to be fantastic.
 

From an earlier conversation
Tickets to the awards show are going fast. We want to just remind everyone to purchase their tickets quickly because we are getting up there in numbers. Tickets are $90 for the Excellence Awards and this is the first year that we're having a Business Excellence after-party at Prestons Restaurant at the Coast Hotel and tickets are $10. Along with that $10 are some special treats what will happen at the after-party. You can call Victoria at: 604-793-4323 or they can be bought online at: www.chilliwackchamber.com


Future Events in 2010. We are working diligently at organizing events during 'Chamber Week' and that will be in February 2010.
                                                                                                               

 

YMCA Family Day                                            Monday January 4th 2010

 

"Y" Not Get With The Program

Chilliwack YMCA throws open it's doors for the day

Craig Hill/Voice

The Chilliwack YMCA flung the doors open wide for their annual Open House Family Day at the Hocking Ave. Centre Sunday. All the facilities were free to use for the day and more free stuff included popcorn, juice and coffee. Tours were given throughout the day of the facilities with an eye on boosting membership. Currently there are over 2000 carded members.

YMCA staff Carman Neill is from Chilliwack and has been going to the centre her entire life. She was thrilled to wind up working there. "It has been worth it because you see all the different sides to the Y as you grow up," she said.


The pool has change facilities and a wheelchair lift which provides better access for disabled people. There is a hot tub and also a small slide and whirlpool for the kids to play. The pool accommodates all levels of users and parents can bring their kids in and teach them how to swim at the Centre or put them in swimming classes.            

                                                                                              Craig Hill/Voice photos

                                           Dancercising the Zumba to Latin rhythms Sunday.

"The kids can feel more confident in this pool and get a boost in confidence that they need," said Neill.

Next to the pool is the child-minding area where parents can drop off the kids aged 6-months to 6-years old while they workout and swim.

The Centre has it all. Racquetball and Squash Courts, and two floors of weight-lifting rooms, cardio workout rooms, a cycle training room and gymnasium. You can learn basic to advanced CPR and First Aid through one of the many courses offered starting January 16.
 

YMCA Staff Carman Neill.


Most of the early birds at the centre were in the gym working out in Zumba dance classes held in the gym. Zumba is a form of Latin dance created in the mid-90’s by Columbian native Alberto “Beto” Perez that is popular for its aerobic workout. It's a one-size-fits-all dance where you take some salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, cha-cha, samba, flamenco, quebradita, calypso, reggaetton and even belly dancing and mix them all together into an easy-to-follow format. Apparently people have so much fun doing the dancercise that they forget they are exercising.

 

There is lots to do in one of the workout rooms at the YMCA on Hocking.

 

The event brought out some familiar faces. Coast Hotel Manager Joey Beltrano, was there minding his kids while his wife Zumba'ed. "My wife is there working out," he said pointing to the full gym.
 

There were also some great gift baskets up for grabs Sunday with everything you need to start your exercise regime.

The all-day passes are a good idea for people who's schedules are hectic.
"It's nice so you can come in the mornings and then go home or to work and come back in the evening," said Neill. Day passes are $5.75 adults (19 - 64) and kids are $4.00 and seniors are $4.75
 

                                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

Voice Art About Town                                      Thursday January 14th 2010

UFV Theatre

 

Hames Hams It Up With Grainy Production
Ex-Mayor directs "Paper Wheat" at the University of the Fraser Valley

Staff report

 

Ex-Mayor Clint Hames appeared on StarFm yesterday to talk about Paper Wheat, the latest UFV theatre production he is involved with. It is a cooperative creation by the 25th                                                                                                                                            Players Guild photo

Street House theatre of Saskatchewan. Paper Wheat             Clint Hames directs  follows  the struggles of early  homesteaders                                   Paper Wheat at UFV.    in Western Canada and their gradual realization that  isolation and economic helplessness could best be overcome by cooperation in institutions such as the Wheat Pool and the CCF.


First Chilliwack Production
It was 27-years the theatre department was fairly new at UFV and Ian Fenwick who is the head of the department, and has been pretty much since then, came to me and said, "I've got a great show that I'd like to do and would you be interested as somebody in the community that folks recognize and know and coming to the university and directing this show for us?" And I said, "that'd be an awesome thing" and so we put that show on 27-years ago and this is the 30th Anniversary season of the department this year and at Ian's 60th birthday party he said to me. 'You know I've got this idea for the 30th season that we should bring Paper Wheat back with the

Publicity handout.                              original cast.

 

And I sort of smiled and said, "That sounds like a really good idea Ian" thinking to myself, 'you're way too old' because Ian's in the cast of course, he was in the original cast and I'm thinking 'How do you say to a guy you're way too old? Maybe you're a little senile and those characters you played were much younger.'

But I went away and thought about it and his idea was to use students in the production and some of the original cast in some of the ancillary roles that the play had and so when I kind figured out that's what he meant I thought, 'What a great idea.' So we've done that.

The First Chilliwack Production 27-years Ago
I'm kind of getting used to that. I've got suits that old that I still wear. You're pretty much at a point where you try not to think about that. It is brought back a flood of memories about the show and it's great because the original cast is back doing small parts in the show. Two of the original musicians from the show 27-years ago are back and we've augmented the orchestra with some other folks. When I say "orchestra" it's actually a bluegrass band.

It's A Musical
It is a musical. It's a bluegrass musical. It's a wonderful style of theatre that was really, I think, perfected in Canada what they used to call a "collective creation" which (means) there is no author of the show. it was a theatre company that got together around an idea and put the show and music together democratically as a cast and Canada was really at the forefront of this development in the 1970s. Theatre companies like "Theatre Past Mari" across the country. There were shows; Ten Lost Years, The Farm Show, 1937 The Farmer's Revolt, Paper Wheat. These were all wonderful shows that told the story of Canada in a very very accessible way for audiences and I'm just delighted to be a part and do it again because I love the style of theatre. Very presentational. The audience is involved all the time and this one has some great music in it as well.

The Story Of Paper Wheat
It's a story of the formulation of the Wheat Pool and Grain Cooperatives in Saskatewan. The first act really talks about the settling of Saskatewan. Early immigrants coming in and you follow the lives of five people when they first come to the country and what their lives look like. And then in the second act it sort of propels you from about 1905 to kind of modern day and the story of Saskatewan and how this cooperative movement has intertwined in the lives of folks in the prairies.

Everything from the Wheat Pool right up to some delicious kind of jabs towards politics in the prairies and those sorts of things so the first act is very, I shouldn't say 'very', but kind of realistically travels through the lives of these five people where the second act is more like a musical review that pokes fun at a whole bunch of different things. There are some serious bits and some fun things.

Family Entertainment
It's a very accessible play so families would love it. It would be a great show to teach kids about things on the prairies and what it was like for settlers, early settlers when they first came to the prairies.

I think it's an exciting play because it teaches folks that the only way you're going to survive a very tough environment is by cooperating, by getting together and that's how the Wheat Pool was formed by a cooperative movement started in the prairies. That's how political movements started in the prairies. So it kind of a neat story.

Show Dates
We have previews starting on January 20th. So the 20th and 21st are preview nights and the show officially opens on the 22nd and runs again on the 23rd. Then the following weekend would be 28th, 29th and 30th (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) the show runs. Then there is a matinee on the 31st which starts at 2 o'clock. Then the next weekend; the 4th, 5th and 6th would be show runs, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening and then on the 7th there's also a 2o'clock matinee, the day of the torch run.

Location, Times & Tickets
The UFV Theatre and they start at 7:30 pm. The best place to get tickets is call the box office 604-795-2814
 

 

 Voice News                                                          Friday January 15th 2010

Seniors At Home

 

One Small Step For Fraser Health And One Giant Leap For Seniors

Chilliwack Health Unit hosts new information sessions

Craig Hill/Voice                                                            Intake Nurse Leanne Jensen

                                                                                           

 

                                                                                                                              Craig Hill/Voice photos

Intake nurse Amanda Hewitt speaks to seniors about policy changes at the Chilliwack Health Unit Thursday.


        Getting community healthcare resource information to Chilliwack seniors

        and caregivers has always been a plodding one-on-one process. The

over-taxed system is getting bogged down and people are waiting longer and longer for appointments. With an ever-increasing influx of boomers shuffling into old age the problem has shifted to almost a Code Blue.

The Fraser Health Authority (FHA) recognized this, and in a first for the city, have introduced a new information delivery program where people can now go to classroom-sized meetings instead of booking an appointment.

The session was well attended and all available seats in the multipurpose room were filled. Team leader Chris Laslop, Clinical Resource Nurse for Home Health was pleased with the turnout.


"A month ago we planned this and we were expecting 50 and we're at 50," said Laslop. "It's cheaper to do it this way than answer all the calls that come in so we thought if we have our intake workers here and everybody asks questions that everybody else wants to know, so they learn from each other and it's a comfortable area."

Clinical Resource Nurse Chris Laslop fields questions

at the public information meeting Thursday.

The new upgrades FHA has introduced to Chilliwack home healthcare work two-fold. First as a more cost-effective measure for the FHA and second as more streamlined system with less waits for seniors wanting to empower themselves and to find out what is available to them in the healthcare system.

The main handout was a 25-page FHA booklet called "Home Health" which gives an overview of services available through the new care plan by the same name.

Because of the new amendments to things like homecare services within the healthcare system, many seniors are finding themselves perplexed so naturally they have a lot of questions. One of the changes causing confusion has been the wait lists seniors were put on for supportive housing. The old first-come-first-served lists have been scrapped and replaced with a needs-based pool system.

Under the new plan once a senior has been assigned a case worker and has had an assessment done to determine their eligibility status, their names are put in a pool for the first appropriate bed available at a supportive housing unit in their area. If they're not happy with the location they can apply to be moved for e.g. closer to family. If a senior doesn't want to wait they can pay for a private respite bed at $30/day for a minimum of 7 days.

There were also questions about whether homecare attendants clean the senior's home. The short answer is no. This service was also hit with cutbacks and there is no money available for cleaning. Seniors will need to have family or friends do the cleaning or hire a cleaner.

Tables situated on the wall of the meeting room were stacked with pamphlets, booklets and even books that were loaded with vital information courtesy of the FHA.

Now that the sessions are underway the FHA will be doing more of them. "We don't really know what the need is yet and we're thinking that we might have to bring our rehab staff in next time," said Laslop. "We're going to try them monthly and if we don't get a good turnout then we'll go every other month."

The new system is better compared to the antiquated one that was in place and the information sessions are one small step that is part of a giant leap forward for the FHA, Chilliwack seniors and delivery of healthcare.

 

For more information contact Chilliwack Home Health, 45470 Menholm Road, 604-702-4800

 

                                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice
 

 Voice Art About Town                                    Thursday January 14th 2010

 BC Photo Perspectives

 

Glimpsing Ghosts of a Gold Rush
History is more than just a roadside attraction

Staff report

 


                                                                                                                                  Craig Hill/Voice photo
Framed Fred and Delphine Gornal photograph titled "Prospector's Cabin at Quesnel Forks" one of a series of shots taken from around BC by the husband and wife team on display at City Hall until Feb 25th.

 

This week the Chilliwack Visual Artists Association is featuring photographs from Delphine and Fred Gornall at the City Hall art gallery. Many stunning photos are on display from different parts of the Fraser Valley, BC interior and other parts of Canada.

 

Back when men were men and horses were camels, gold prospectors dreamt of yellow dust and instant wealth. The 1859 squat of Quesnel Forks later became the first and largest town in the Cariboo goldfields until Barkerville was built. In 1808 Jules Maurice Quesnel was a voyager and logbook keeper in the Simon Fraser expedition and also my great-great-grandfather. A couple of years ago we laid the last Quesnel, my grandmother, to rest in Lumby BC where 25 other gritty Quesnel loggers and pioneers are buried.

 

The City Hall art gallery is located in the main foyer, 8550 Young Road. Hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

For more information call 604-796-0230 or 604-703-6252 or visit their website: www.selectimagesbc.ca

 

                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice City Hall Report                                Wednesday January 13th 2010

The Chilliwack Foundation


Charity Helping Charities
Community groups big winners as Foundation gives out over $100k

 


                                                                                                                                    Craig Hill/Voice photos

Anne McIntyre from the Gwynne Vaughn Park Society accepts a cheque for $16,500 from Chilliwack Foundation vice-chair Todd Harvey. The society plans to use the funds to improve park access on Hope River Road.

 

The Chilliwack Foundation was at City Hall Monday evening to dole out the dough and all toll over $100,000 was given to eight selected local community groups. Despite a sputtering economy there was still a truckload of money to be had thanks to generous citizens.

Todd Harvey, vice-chair of the Foundation, who was there to make the monetary presentations spoke briefly to council and the gallery

"Tonight I'm going to be giving cheques to the organizations that applied for grants in the fall and the deadline was November 20th, 2009 and our Distribution Committee met on December 3rd, 2009 to approve the grants," said Harvey. "The grants are meant to be for capital projects for organizations so that's something to keep in mind if anyone is thinking about applying and we will be advertising in the spring for the spring grant applications and that will be coming up in the next couple of months."

The recipients Monday evening were; Chilliwack Community Services ($12,815 for new windows), School District #33 ($5,000 for new playground equipment), Chilliwack Academy of Music ($4,487.60 for a new informational database plus an additional $1,378.60 for a new computer), Chilliwack Arts & Culture Centre ($40,000 for new equipment), Chilliwack Learning Community Society ($4,125 for a "Bookbin"), Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra ($16,500 for a variety of new instruments), Gwynne Vaughn Park Society ($16,500 for expanded access to the park) and Sardis Doorway For Mothers and Children ($1,500 to upgrade preschool equipment).

The benevolent Foundation is a registered charity that receives donations from the public and in turn accepts applications from local educational, cultural or charitable groups and organizations for the available funds. Approximately every three months their Distribution Committee goes over applicant requests which are processed in the fall and spring to determine which organization in the community will be the recipient of their cash awards. If your group wants to apply for funds you can visit the website for more information at: www.chilliwackfoundation.com


For a full transcript of Todd Harvey's presentation see the Voice's City Hall report here.

 

                                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Extra                                                        Thursday January 14th 2010

Hometown Heart

 

Yellow Ribbons Still Relevant

Chilliwack shows ongoing support for Canadian Troops

Staff  Report

 


                                                                                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photo

Photograph taken of yellow ribbon on Spadina Ave. Tuesday shows support for Canadian troops is alive and well in Chilliwack.

 

Home is where the heart is and Chilliwack has a lot of heart. Last November city council approved a motion allowing yellow ribbons to be tied to various lamp standards and trees around town. As long as Canadian troops are in harm's way and three months later the yellow ribbons that you see are still relevant.

 

© Copyright (c) The Valley Voice
 

 Voice Music Scene                                          Saturday January 16th 2010

Old becomes new again

 

BTU Reminiscent Of  Nostalgic 70s

Canada's 'Traveling Wilburys' to play Harrison Memorial Hall

Craig Hill/Voice  



                                                                                                                                        Publicity photo

Tom Taylor (left), Shari Ulrich and Barney Bentall play Harrison Memorial Hall on January 23.

 

BTU is currently one of Canada's best threesome acts in their genre and they are coming to the Harrison Memorial Hall next week. They're showcasing a new CD called "Live at Cates Hill" which is available now.

The band consists of Tom Taylor, Barney Bentall and Shari Ulrich. Bentall has worked with bands like 54-40, the Payolas as well as k.d. lang and is promoting his latest CD "Gift Horses" while Vancouver cult favourite Taylor has been playing the indie circuit for years as well as in Europe. Ulrich is best known for her hit singles; Romeo, Flying and I'm ready.

 

What is wonderful about the multi-dimensional Ulrich, aside from her longevity in the music business, is the 59-year-old's willingness to share her experience with her current fellow troubadours and other local greats like Bill Henderson (Chilliwack) who she has toured as a trio with in the past. Now, after years of paying their dues, Bentall and Taylor are

solidly  entrenched in the local                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photos

music scene much like Ulrich was       Photo of cover from Pied Pumpkin's String  35-years ago.                                    Ensemble debut album "Plucking Devine".

                                                                                
Before Dion, McLachlan and others there was the iconic Ulrich. Originally with the Pied Pumpkin String Ensemble, a trio of minstrels that consisted of the eclectic Rick Scott who danced and dazzled with his incredible dulcimer playing and Joe Mock's raw earthy guitar/piano with songs like "Kootenay Bark" and "Ming 14" (ask me sometime when we have 3 hours what "Ming 14" means.) Together or apart they owned the 70s folk music scene in Vancouver and set the precedent for all indie bands and their labels to follow.

 

Bands and solo artists like Smilin' Jack Smith, Gavin Walker, the Willie McCalder Blues Band  (Powder Blues in 1978), Valdy and Pied Pumpkin often played at cool places like the Soft Rock Cafe (originally in Gastown and later on 4th Ave.) and the Classical Joint in Gastown. Across the street was the Spinning Wheel. 

 

They were cool places to hang. You could sip coffee and stroke your Tibetan Prayer Beads while reading a book or playing chess. It was the West Coast's Greenwich Village. Gastown was ground zero for the yippie and hippie movements. Fourth Avenue was Haight and Ashbury with its makeshift communes and underground radio stations. San Francisco came here. Greenpeace emerged from Kitsalino. Headlines like Robert Sarti's “Yippies behind rash of street actions here,” The Vancouver Sun, June 27, 1970 were in every paper. The Georgia Straight was a sleazy sex rag. Harold Head and the Freak             Photo of  Joe Mock inside Pied Pair's album. Brothers and Abbie Hoffman's "Free"

was the preferred literature of the time.

 

Pied Pumpkin personified everything that was cool and funky in the 70s. They were a bona fide troubadour band of hippies/gypsies that everyone wanted to see. Every guy had a crush on Ulrich with her long flowing hair, hippie dresses and gorgeous smile. Her flute elevated you to ethereal planes of existence and her fiddle playing made you want to grab your sweetheart and dance.
 

In the 80s the band broke up. Mock and Scott did a duo as "The Pair of Pied Pumpkin" which lasted long enough to make a record. After this Mock went to Japan for ten years, Scott went on to become a premier children's entertainer and Ulrich went on to work with people like Bim, Valdy and the Hometown band and establish a solo career.

 

During that transitional time, punk music exploded and took over the downtown scene with bands like the Pointed Sticks, DOA and the Dead Kennedys. Joey Shithead and Jelo Biafra were running rampant. Thankfully the end of  punk in Vancouver seemed to come when the DKs played that last show at the UBC pub which I'll never forget. That concert has been etched in my memory for an entirely different set of reasons than the warm fuzzy ones that Pied Pumpkin is responsible for. And that's another story.


It was magic in the 70s and now the creative energy of BTU is making it magic for a whole new generation. Ulrich is the heart and soul of the group. She's worked with the best in the Canadian Music Industry for decades and has won every award there is to win. Originally from California, she became happily ensconced here in the early 70s while carving her initials into the west coast music scene by establishing her own brand of flute and fiddle.

Ulrich could have had much a more diverse career with truckloads more star power stateside but chose to keep her precious talent in Canada. It's not clear if people know just how fortunate we are to have had the plucky Canadian icon involved in the music scene these last four decades.


Over the years I've had the chance to see Pied Pumpkin (later The Pair Of Pied Pumpkin) perform at venues as diverse as SFU, the Soft Rock Cafe, The Sunflower Cafe, the Queen E. Theatre, the Wild Rose Folk Festival in Alberta, the Classical Joint and a few other places.

 

 

 The Classical Joint in the 70s in Vancouver. (Anonymous artist)

 

I've also had a chance to sit and talk with Mock on several occasions and he is a very interesting, approachable and genuine person who's is unafraid to connect to strangers and audiences which is something sadly lacking with a lot mainstream musicians today.

My three cherished Pied Pumpkin/Pair Squash LPs sit enshrined in the record collection on the shelf. Every now and then over the years a dear friend of mine and I would have "Pumpkin" nights where we'd play the albums and reminisce about those magical times. Memories are meant to be shared by those who experienced them. Randy is gone now and so I'm left to remember those grandest times of a carefree youth alone.

If you asked me in 70s why I was there and captivated by that culture, I wouldn't have been able to tell you then. But the answer has become translucent over the years to tell you about it now. The Dead Kennedys are ... well, dead but Pied Pumpkin lives!

BTU promises to be a great show at the Harrison Memorial Hall 8 pm January 23rd. Tickets are $20.00 (1970s prices!) and are on sale at the Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart, online at www.harrisonfestival.com or you can call: 604-796-3664.
                                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Extra                                                        Thursday January 14th 2010

A Growing Faith

 

They Paved Paradise And They Put Up A Parking Lot

Jehovah Witnesses want to expand their horizons

Staff  Report

 


                                                                                                                                    Craig Hill/Voice photo

The Jehovah Witnesses church on Yale road is expanding the parking lot into the adjacent property which will see the house there disposed of.

 

At least they want to pave paradise. The Chilliwack South Congregation Jehovah Witnesses Hall at 46924 and 46930 Yale Rd. had an application to have their property rezoned on the City Hall agenda last Monday. They want to rezone the property to accommodate a larger parking lot.

The adjacent property which the church owns, has a house on it with tenants living there who will be displaced because they plan to remove it to make more room for cars. They also have plans to add on to the existing church structure. The city's design requirements stipulate that additional landscaping and screening will be needed on the main residential parking to the west. The motion was unanimously approved by council.

 

© Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Perspective                                          Tuesday January 19th 2010

Vedder Viewpoints

 

Angling For Steelies

Clearer water and better weather brings out fishers

 

 

Craig Hill/Voice photo

Silhouetted fishermen angling for steelhead dot the bank of the Vedder River during Monday's long-awaited sunshine break.

 Voice Community News Release                 Monday January 18th 2010

The Learning Never Stops

 

New Year? A New You!

Free courses offered to Chilliwack Employees

 

 

Michael Berger photo

Ian Milne (top) and Lamonte Hilton work on MS Office program at a Stream Global Services who offered their computer lab to us as part of a recent Learning Society project.

 

Microsoft Office course we did in the fall. Pictured are Ian Milne (top) and Lamonte Hilton (bottom). The course took place at Stream Global Services (they offered their computer lab for us to use as part of the project).

Chilliwack, BC, December 31, 2009 - Press release from CLCS

special to the Voice.

 

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

Michael Berger, Workplace Essential Skills coordinator for the CLCS, stated "We recognize that many people use the New Year as an opportunity to make positive changes in their lives. Many people like to focus on upgrading their knowledge or skill levels. We're offering free courses on a number of essential skills that will be attractive to anyone wishing to become a more valuable employee."

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, Oral Communications, and Working with Others.

Berger stated "HRSDC's essential skills go well beyond the workplace. They are skills needed to succeed and thrive in everyday life too. We surveyed a number of Chilliwack businesses and determined the skills that their employees could most benefit from improving. Our first training course was on Microsoft Office 2003. We had employees from eight different businesses attending."

Berger added "We are currently planning courses that address the skills of Oral
Communications, Working with Others, and Thinking Skills. In order to cover all the components that make up these essential skills, a range of courses is being offered. These consist of courses focusing on everything from conflict
resolution, dealing with difficult people, listening skills, presentation
skills, to problem solving."

Berger is looking for employees (and employers) who wish to take part in the
training. Classes are scheduled to begin in the New Year. If you wish to take
advantage of these free training courses, or would like more information, please
see below for information on how to us.


Registration forms are available on the WES strategy page of the Chilliwack
Learning website and at the Chilliwack Library information desk.

Michael Berger, Workplace Essential Skills Coordinator
Chilliwack Learning Community Society 604-792-0025 ext. 2434 Option 1
michaelb@chilliwacklearning.com  www.chilliwacklearning.com
 

 

 Voice News Exclusive                                   Thursday January 21st 2010

Safer Surfing

 

Hackers Attack Chilliwack Television Website

Google warns web visitors to stay away

 

 

                                                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photo.

Valley Television headquarters on Second Ave. in Chilliwack under fire from hackers.

 

Computer hackers are a nasty breed and you may or may have not seen that Google flags websites which can damage your computer's system and gives you an advisory screen; "Warning - visiting this web site may harm your computer!" Included in the information on that page is a link to a "Safe Browsing diagnostic page" for the particular website you were going to look at.

Last week the Voice saw that Valley Television's website; www.valleytelevision.com in Chilliwack, was flagged as one of those malicious sites. We set out to find out why the site which is linked to home on 46220 Second Ave., was installing harmful code on unsuspecting web surfer's computers.

There was no answer at the door when the Voice investigated however later in an e-mail, Wayne Price, owner of Valley Television and Virtual Television Network, said that the website was attacked by hackers who installed the code. "Was (an) attack some time ago but the code has been removed," he said.

Price also said he was on holidays and that the site is in fact virus-free. He plans on dealing with the problem soon. "I have to add a code from Google on every page for (them) to spider the site to clear it." Google spiders every week or two for their text and image listings but also look for malware and malicious code.

 
                                                                                                                                        Google image.
When your computer is infected with malicious software it is most often installed without your knowledge or permission when you visit nefarious websites, and can include programs that delete data, steal personal information like passwords and credit card numbers, or alter your search results and redirect you to yet more infectious sites.

Spiders are a form of search engine, and "spidering" a Web site lets the user yank information from other Web sites into their own Web site. Anyone can use a spider program. The user tells the spider what keywords to look for, and it searches for them on the Internet. Then it pulls the related information into their site, excluding the need to cut and paste. There are e-mail, fax and data spiders.

Laws stateside are tough but seldom enforced. In America, a hacker can be fined $50,000, jailed for a year and lose all their computer equipment. But too many operate with impunity simply because the manpower needed to enforce those laws isn't there. Many kids start early and learn how online systems operate with easy access to programs like network scanners which probe for open ports on computers and then they use the public as target practice.

One can only speculate the reason why Obama wants everyone online in the states to be on broadband, but it will make people who want to hack think twice about it because with broadband connectivity the IP is static and hacking attempts can be traced.

For more information on this topic visit www.stopbadware.org

 

                                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Special Report                                      Monday January 25th 2010

In The Spirit of the Games

 

 

It's Official, Let The Games

Begin!

Chilliwack raises Olympic flag and

Torch Relay spirit at City Hall ceremony

Craig Hill/Voice

 

 

                                                                                                                              Craig Hill/Voice photos

Torchbearers Cassie Cutajar (L), Indy, former Chilliwack City Councilor Dorothy Kostrzewa, and Angela Laws-Peel join Councilor Pat Clark and Mayor Sharon Gatez (R) Monday to raise the Olympic flag at City Hall.

 

       L et the games begin! Officially the games are underway in Chilliwack. Not

        the Olympic Games, those begin February 12th, but the fun and games that will accompany the Torch Run as it makes it's way through town on February 7th.

 

In the spirit of the games and the run, City Hall raised the official flag Monday as part of the buildup to the planned celebrations. Also there to help in the flag ceremony Monday were three torchbearers who's identities were kept under wraps by VANOC until now. Every torchbearer is sworn to secrecy and former city councilor Dorothy Kostrzewa kept her word. "They say it's in confidence so even until today I didn't tell anyone," she said.

Three months ago Kostrzewa, was one of those selected to be a torchbearer which came as a complete surprise. "I had no clue. All I got was a letter saying you have been selected," she said.

Kostrzewa was the first Chinese-Canadian elected to Chilliwack council in 1969 going on to serve in that position for the next 33-years. She'll be carrying the flame for the section between Prest Rd. and Quarry Rd. shortly after 1 pm.


Kostrzewa almost declined to carry the torch because she has been having hip problems and won't be going to any of the venues because she will be preparing for hip replacement surgery also in February at the same time the games are on.                                  Denis Joly and Sharon Peel attend to Indy Monday at City Hall.

"I was so reluctant to say yes when I got the letter because I had to walk 300 meters from Prest Rd. to Quarry Rd.," she said. "Then they came up with a brilliant idea, the staff did, to say why don't you ride a motorbike with your ex-mayor (Clint Hames)? And that would have been wonderful but it turned out that Mr. Hames has been producing a play (Paper Wheat) and he has to be there. So the next best thing is Chuck Stam. I love him. He was so excited."

Kostrzewa will be riding with Councilor Stam. It's not clear if they will be riding on a motorcycle or in a car.

"I'm really excited because at my age this is probably going to be the last active event that I'll be doing," added Kostrzewa.
 

Coun. Clark raises the Olympic flag.

 

More on this story and photos here.
                                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 

 Voice Views                                                         Saturday January 23rd 2010

Salish Park Downtown

 

Getting Their Ducks In A Row

Waddle they do without caring people?

Staff report

 

 

 

Craig Hill/Voice photos

A youngster finds a tidbit to feed the ducks and geese downtown at Salish Park Wednesday during the warm spell last week which saw temperatures rise to 16°c. Above photo: A senior couple were also busy feeding the birds on the opposite side of the pond.

                                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Special Report                                     Thursday January 28th 2010

Business Development

 

Home Hardware Stays At Home

Local business remains true to it's roots

Craig Hill/Voice



                                                                                                                            Craig Hill/ Voice photos

Artists rendering of the new Home Hardware building on Mill Street.

 

Home Hardware has been at it's historical location on Wellington Ave. for eons. Over 120-years to be more precise and now the retail outlet is making a move to larger digs right behind at 9360 Mill Street which used to house Sunrise Printing.

Business owner Robin Brunette spoke with the Voice about the new project which was years in the planning. Good things come to those who wait. Brunette began looking at the site 6-years ago when he bought the business on Wellington Ave.

 

All he had to do was be patient and wait for a vacancy. Then when the opportunity arose, Brunette jumped on it. "I talked to the gentleman who owned this building then but it was full and he kept me in mind the whole time because he knows it's going to be a great thing for downtown," he said.

 

Because the building is in the downtown's heritage zone, certain requirements are needed to be met such as colour schemes, signage and lighting. It was a struggle but in the end both City Hall and Brunette were able to agree on a plan. "I had to bend, they had to bend, and we finally came to a median in the middle," he said.     

                                                Robin Brunette talks about his new store Monday.

Moving the business wasn't an an easy choice to make because the store has been there on Wellington for so long. "It's been a tough decision," said Brunette. "That's been there since 1891, the hardware and tin store with 3200 sq. ft. on 3 different levels."

Another major hardware store is planned for the Squiala lands and Brunette had to consider that as well in his decision to stay or leave Chilliwack.

With everything on the table, Brunette realized this was the best location. "Am I just going to pull my roots out of here, move to Hope where I live and put a nice big shiny new store in Hope and not have as much competition? And I thought, 'You know I'm the only hardware store this side of the tracks and have been here for over 100-years, so I kept it here.'"

The store on Wellington has no outdoor space to speak of but the new retail outlet will give Brunette plenty of elbow room. "The floor space is 5000 square feet plus there will be a 600 sq. ft. garden centre out front under the overhang enclosed with decorative wrought iron fencing. A big feature will be the 18 dedicated parking stalls which makes it easier to find

The back of the building facing Victoria Ave.        a space than on a cramped

                                                                       Wellington Ave


The approval process wasn't without extra work when Brunette had to take down the wrought iron fencing then have his permit approved and finally will re-install it. "It was holding up my first one (application) so I pulled the wrought iron off and made an amendment to the order," he said.

Home Hardware's corporate colours are white and red and so Brunette had to work to please the corporation and City Hall. "I knew the town wouldn't accept that (white and red) so I graded up close to one of their historical colours and then I'm going to take all the pillars here on the outside and I'm going to paint them all a different darker gray," he said.

When Brunette and his crew began the project they could see that it was going to be a massive undertaking. To start with they even had to take out the old Heidleberg printing presses before any work on the inside could start. The whole building needed to be re-pointed and reset and then sealed as nothing had been done to it for 60-years so the work he's doing to the building goes a long way to helping preserving the city's heritage.

The high costs of the project have been worth it for Brunette. But he's not dumping money into someone else's building. Presently he leases the building but plans on buying half the company which owns the existing building and land.

"It's been a lot of work and I wouldn't have spent all this money without having something in here," he said pointing around the large room with the freshly tiled floor. "I've done thousands of dollars of work here removing the upper floor and painting the ducts."

Coun. Chuck Stam had high praise for Brunette. "It is a wonderful project and congratulations to the land holder and the tenant," he said. "It's a marked improvement in the downtown and also great to see stores expanding their footprint and staying in the downtown."

March 1st is the scheduled opening for the new store but Brunette plans a grand opening sometime in May after they get all the bugs worked out.

 

 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Views                                                      Thursday January 28th 2010

Island 22 Park

 

Fishing the Fraser

Going after the Great Whites

Staff report

 

                                                                                       

                                                                                       Web photo of Sturgeon on Fraser

 

                                                                                                                               Craig Hill/Voice photo

Sport fishers load up their boat Wednesday at Island 22 before setting out after White Sturgeon on the Fraser River. The fish are classified as endangered and covered under the "catch and release" program. By law, any Sturgeon caught is to be returned to the river. For more information on Sturgeon visit: www.frasersturgeon.com

 

 Voice City Hall Report                               Saturday January 30th 2010

Policing costs on the rise

 

Council Locks Horns With Solicitor General Over Increased Policing Costs

Cities want accountability as they scramble to pay

Craig Hill/Voice                                                        

 

 

                                                                                                                                    April 2008 handout

Ex-Solicitor General John Van Dongen (L), Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Derek Egan and Mike Chadwick Deputy Chief pose beside graphic of participating police agencies in BC when PRIME-BC was first introduced.


Last Monday Chilliwack city council questioned the significant rate increases in PRIME-BC (Police Records Information Management Environment), a policing communications tool. Municipalities were taken by surprise when letters went out from Solicitor General Kash Heed's office in September 2009 announcing the increases.

Chilliwack city council isn't happy because the rate increase throws a wrench into their finely tuned 5-year budget. At Monday's meeting, a motion was made to draft a letter to the Solicitor General expressing the city's concerns however Coun. Huttema questioned the wisdom of sending a letter and what good it would do.


Coun. Chuck Stam asked if council could get more information as to why the increases were needed. "I wonder if this council would be in favour of moving this item as a referral to the Public Safety Committee. It appears Maple Ridge municipal council had a presentation from PRIME-BC and I think it would be helpful to hear directly from PRIME-BC to where the

costs come from," he said.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz spoke with the Voice prior to the council meeting expressing concern about transparency in the process and a lack of accountability or local representation on the board.

"We've been trying to impress upon the Solicitor General and the RCMP that we do a budget 5-years at a time, you've got to give us heads-up," she said. "There's no accounting why it has to go up that much. No one has said this is what it costs or this is what training costs. We have nothing and just received a letter saying it's doubling, so we've asked for a little more accountability from the Solicitor General's office and from the RCMP."

City hall is already working on a shoestring budget after a brutal year amid a lot of denials for help from groups and agencies around Chilliwack. "We tell them (PRIME-BC) that we're washing coffee filters at city hall," said Gaetz.

"The City of Chilliwack has not had to lay-off any employees, cut many programs in the community, shut down libraries, close the leisure centre or anything like that because of strong fiscal planning but when the government downloads costs we have to look at all those things over again," said Gaetz. "The message we want to take back to Solicitor-General Kash Heed is that it may seem inconsequential in a provincial budget but in a local budget then it can have dire consequences."

In the 1994 Commission after the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots, Mr. Justice Wally Oppal recommended the creation of a police communications and information system for records and major case management.

So in 2003 PRIME-Corp was hired to create an online system that linked 13 independent police departments and 110 RCMP detachments around BC. The PRIME-BC software is widely employed across North America and used for general occurrence reports, major case management, document imaging, integrated mug shots, officer scheduling, electronic workflow, arrest, booking and court follow-up in formats shared by all police jurisdictions.

Originally, BC was the first province to bring in the paperless system with no cost to municipalities, however $500 fees per officer started in 2007. Since the beginning of this year, the money PRIME-BC collects from Chilliwack was raised to $1000 per constable and when added up equals just over $50,000 for Chilliwack to deal with. The increases came as a result of enhancements to the system and additional training for people using it.

The 2010/2011 operating budget for PRIME-BC is $12 million and that funding comes from three sources — $2 million from the federal government, $740,000 from the PRIMECorp Evergreen Program and $220,000 from the E-Com network and helpdesk. The remaining $9 million is divvied up amongst BC municipalities based on 9,000 police officers province-wide.

Additionally, the PRIMECorp Board of Directors are currently evaluating future upgrades to the system including, Site Disaster Recovery, Server Consolidation, Network Consolidation, and Two Factor Authentication which could drive the levy charges up even further.
 

It's not known at this time if the increases will raise property taxes or what if any programs need to be cut or have diminished funding due to the new levy.


The Solicitor General's office did not respond to the Voice by press time. For more on this see the latest City Council Report here.

 

                                                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Report                                                       Saturday January 30th 2010

New Park Portal

 

Hidden Gem Won't Be So Hidden Soon

Gwynne Vaughn upgrade aims to make park more accessible

Craig Hill/Voice                                                         Rendering of new gateway by parks        

                                                                                       employee Richard Thornton.

 

 

                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

The secondary footpath entrance to Gwynne Vaughn Park at the corner of Hope River and Williams as it is now before a planned gateway entrance.


What has been described as Chilliwack's "most beautiful and unique park" is getting a facelift, or at least an eyelid lift.

Anne McIntyre, President of the Gwynne Vaughn Society, made a presentation to City Hall regarding how $15,600 in grant money they received from the Chilliwack Foundation two weeks ago would be spent. "Fortunately we were lucky to get the amount that we requested," said McIntyre.


The main park entrance is off of Williams where a parking lot for 24 cars is situated however there is a secondary one on Hope River Rd. and this is the one which the society wants to spruce up.

McIntyre explained the park's "dreary" portal on Hope River Rd. looked more like an entrance "a private garden" and that the money from the Foundation will

Anne McIntyre has some laughs with Coun.

Chuck Stam at Monday's City Council meeting.

 

be going towards the construction of an arbour-type of entrance which McIntyre feels would be would be a more welcoming and dignified entranceway to the park. "We think it will invite Chilliwack residents and also visitors to come and visit the park," she told council on Monday.

"It's truly a 3P Project," quipped McIntyre. "It's public, public, public." The project costs have been equally divided between the Foundtion money, the Chilliwack Parks Department and the Gwynne Vaughn Park Society. The facelift project should be finished May 31st.

 

Originally the park was formed in 1993 when Adelaide Bateman, more commonly known as Gwynnie Gwynne Vaughn, bequeathed her heritage house and farm of 6.8 acres to the City of Chilliwack. The park is steeped in history and the original Driscoll home has been restored by the Rotary Club.

 

                                                                                                                       Voice file photo.
For Anne McIntyre's full presentation at council go here.

 

© Copyright (c) The Valley Voice