Saturday, May 17, 2014

Opinion

That Don't Impress Me Much

Chilliwack residents disconnected with the farming community

Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack

 

An open letter to Chilliwack City Hall leaders and planners et al.

 

es, I heard this news you sent to me on the CBC News today also.  It does not impress me. 

 

Let's compare ourselves with what we were a few years ago, not with other countries. The problems and the real truth are as follows:

Going by car to those distant places takes time, pollutes the air and costs money that we lack. You allowed first Cottonwood and then Vedder and then Eagle Landing to become predominant.

I suppose people living near those centres want to be able to buy what they need nearby too, but why not make sure we have adequate services right here too? Good that at last buses on one route at last run every 20 minutes, but we still have to walk when we get off the bus, so a shopping trip takes half a day.

We are also appalled by other deteriorating services, such as:

1. Safeway and Save on Foods give only token loyalty to Canadian grown fruits and vegetables.

2. We lack a farmers' market near city centre, within walking distance. There could be a cluster of privately owned outlets under one roof or shelter, refrigerated and open 12 months of the year.

3. Cost of many items of food has jumped 25%, not just the 1 or 2% annual cost of living reported. I think the Supermarkets are an American monopoly. Please pester Jimmy Pattison to do something to bring down prices. They are not low enough and locally grown enough for me to afford to go by bus and foot to Supervalu either.

4. Oasis have been forced to stock only items donated to them. They used to be allowed donations of funds to buy marked down items. Now they rarely have any fresh fruit and vegetables, or even day old bread. It is hardly worthwhile to go there any more.

5. In the large stores organically grown fruits and vegetables are featured, but at prices I and most people cannot afford. I would trust the purity of locally grown more than that of imported organically grown. It is next to impossible for farmers to keep out pollution 100%. Bees and birds carry faulty GMO pollen to them. They get harassed by the Genetically Modified and Pesticide people.

They shouldn't have to coat apples and cucumbers, etc with wax or whatever.

6. Why isn't there a collective marketing system? Could many farmers perhaps be subsidized to market their produce in a refrigerated city centre location? They need a boost to make a living and keep their sons and daughters on the farm. They like rural life when they can be prosperous on the farm. Can young people afford to inherit farms?

7. 4 H clubs have lost their original focus on having fun, pride and a good income growing food.

8. Instead of growing fruit and vegetables ALR is misused to produce hedges and shrubs for nurseries. There was no system to get fruit and vegetables sold so it rotted in the fields.

I'd like Five Corners for year round Farmers' Markets. Not everyone will walk so parking space is needed. Okanagan and Princeton trucks should be encouraged too. SKT Farms Market is nice but not within walking distance of city centre, and short of parking space. There should be shops owned by others around it to. It should be moved to Five Corners. Yes they do have a growing number of high rises around them, but let's not encourage yet another shopping centre. Aren't four areas enough already? (Five Corners, Cottonwood, Eagle Landing and Vedder) - too many I'd say.

It was a mistake to build shops along Young Street. They have been largely standing empty. However a revitalized Five Corners could also give a boost to Young street.
 

About the Myrtle Macdonald

She is has a M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill University.

 

She is a retired registered nurse living in Chilliwack and now working with the local chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turned 92 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.

 

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