Voice Business Report                           Saturday December 5 2009

Get to know your mechanic


Local Auto Repair Business Doesn't Give People The Gears

A tale of two transmissions

Craig Hill/Voice


There are the good guys and the bad guys and when it comes to reputation, there are some businesses in Chilliwack that work with people and others that are so far out there in deep space it leaves you wondering what planet they're from. If they do a good job and don't gouge,  if they are honest               The crew at L&D. Submitted photo.

with you and helpful with information about your car, then you have a good relationship and you'll go back for years. A good business has owners that understand this and employees who believe in building strong relationships with customers. They pride themselves on excellent customer service and quality workmanship.

On the other hand, if the 'polar opposite' business treats you like a babe in the woods and takes advantage of you and you know you're being taken, then you're going to go away with some pretty sore feelings. Eventually word cycles around town and you find out through your own or from other people's experiences, who the good guys are and which ones to avoid.

In the case of automotive repair work, finding the right mechanic and developing a good rapport with one is just as important as the repair work itself.

In this article I will tell you about two automotive transmission businesses in Chilliwack. I will name the good guys and the 'polar opposite' guys I won't name however you will know them simply by reputation alone, which is the entire point in writing this.

The story goes that one day my car's transmission wasn't shifting gears properly. As the car limped down Yale Rd. I spotted a company who put it up on the hoist and once the car was prone, the boss waved over his mechanic and the fellow took a crowbar, stuck it somewhere out of sight and wiggled the car's transmission. He did this two or three times and looked at me and wiggling away with his pry bar and talking with the boss.

Now, I've got this thing about mechanics when one calls you over to show you what's wrong, a one-finger-wag is $100, two wags, $200 and so on. It's really one of the scariest parts of an on-the-spot repair assessment. But this guy didn't wag any fingers he walked over and gave me the bad news.

He told me my transmission was shot and that I needed a new one to the tune of thousands of dollars. I shrugged helplessly and had them take it down from the hoist and left there wondering if the car was even going to make it home.

An interesting point to make here is that when my parents were living in sunny Chilliwack and not in rainy, cold and miserable Palm Springs, my dad drove out of there one day with a brand new transmission, again to the tune of thousands of dollars. Mom was more than just choked. He'd spent almost $3000 on a brand spanking new transmission and she insisted there was nothing wrong with the original transmission. Believe you me it caused things to happen that I can't write about in a family news site!

During the drive home on what I thought was the old car's last trip, I spotted L&D Transmissions on Yale Rd. so I pulled in to see about getting another look at it. I explained what was happening and the guy came out to the car to look. "Oh, it's just the bushing there," he said pointing under the hood. "I'll go in and see if we have one."

In a moment the mechanic was back with a small plastic piece about the size of my thumb. And, it was installed within 5 minutes. He wrestled with it a bit and it gave him a bit of trouble but eventually it snapped into place. Presto, new transmission. When I asked how much it was going to cost I was stunned to hear him say "No charge."


While my mouth was hanging open I offered him ten for a round of coffee and doughnuts at least. This was my first experience with L&D and since then I've heard nothing but good things about them and people in Chilliwack really need to know, if they don't already, that these guys are top notch A1. Reputations tend to precede themselves. Why go anywhere else for transmission work?

So, am I saying that the 'polar opposite' guys ripped off dear old dad? The answer is I don't know. But my parents are still in love and still together no thanks to them.


Do you know who the other automotive transmission company is? If you're from Chilliwack then I bet you do and I'd be willing to bet too that you won't be going back there again. If you still don't know who the 'polar opposite' guys are, it's easy enough to find out when you search the rated mechanics at the site below. Case in point.


L& D owner (and operator) Doug Davies, was born and raised Chilliwack and still lives here. He is a certified technician with over 34 years of experience. Their website has transmission maintenance tips and even refers people back to the vehicle's warrantor if their car is still under warranty.

If that's not honesty, then I really don't know what is.


Proudly Serving The Community Full Time Since 1975.
Manager Doug Davies
45575 Yale Road W. Chilliwack B.C.
Canada 604-792-4409

Website: www.fraservalleydir.com/



Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

December 2009 Voice Archives

 Voice Special Report                             Thursday December 3 2009

Breakfast of Champions


A Critical Need

Chilliwack Pitches In

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                            Craig Hill/Voice photos

Breakfast served up hot and fresh to supporters Wednesday of the Coast Hotel for the "Make It Happen Breakfast" Chilliwack General Hospital redevelopment project fundraiser.

The Chilliwack General Hospital expansion fundraising campaign is roughly $23,500 better off today after the "Make It Happen Breakfast" at the Coast Hotel on Tuesday. The money is part of a final $600,000 needed for the $5 million that Fraser Valley Healthcare Foundation (FVHF), organizers pledged to the $30 million renovation project.

According to Wayne McAlpine, Director of the FVHF who was emcee at the affair, everyone involved is working hard to reach their goal. "We're having a campaign for healthcare excellence in Chilliwack," said McAlpine. "We're very close, at about $4.4 million and the last $600,000 is very hard to get, so we're having a number of events including this breakfast," said McAlpine and adding that "we're just getting wonderful support from the citizens of Chilliwack."

The redevelopment will come in three parts. Part 1: a New Emergency Department triple the size of the current facility, accommodating growth from 37,000 to 45,000 patient visits per year. Part 2: Expanding and Integrating the Ambulatory Care Department (Outpatient Services) which will shorten patient visits and wait times and; Part 3: Consolidating Laboratory Services and Diagnostic Imaging adjacent to the emergency and acute care departments by providing patients and physicians with more convenient access to these vital services.

As Chilliwack grows in population, the hospital project should reduce gridlock in ER rooms. According to the Excellence in Healthcare website, the ER at CGH has a new patient every 6 minutes which comes out to about 37,000/year. Projected numbers indicate that by 2016 the number of visits will jump to 45,000/year. The hospital will serve citizens in outlying areas like Hope and Boston Bar as well.

Bracing against the frosty morning, Coast Hotel employees John Fiorini and Julia Horn huddled under a portable propane heater and poured Starbucks coffee for commuters at the makeshift drive-thru in front of the hotel. "It's slowly starting to pickup this morning," said Fiorini, who has been working for Coast Hotels for about    

3 years.                             

Tess Lojstrup and Carlo Villanueva with the Filipino Association of Chilliwack were at the breakfast to present a cheque from their own fundraising activities for $500. Approximately 250 members raised $2600 and the group decided to give $500 to the CGH redevelopment project. The balance of the money raised will be going to those people affected because some members had family affected by severe flooding after typhoons hit the island chain.

"We are donating some money because we had fundraising November 7th and part of that will go to the Chilliwack Hospital. We went to the hospital and asked them where and when we could give the donation. We got $2600 from the fundraising and so we are giving $500 to the hospital."

Mayor Sharon Gaetz addressed the diners and indicated that they are nearing the $5 million mark. "We are so close to reaching our goal and we are absolutely thrilled with the response today so thank you very much for coming," said Mayor Gaetz.

Chilliwack Bruins defenseman, Brandon Manning, was wearing the mascot outfit and busy getting people pumped. "It's a good situation here to come and help out," said Manning. "We also do Books for Bruins where all the kids get tickets to the game and we sign autographs and hang out." Manning said that they also work with the Salvation Army every Monday also helping out at the Ann Davis Transition House and Meals on Wheels.

The Chilliwack Senior Secondary hand bell choir "Jubilation" were on hand to ring in the morning with their unique type of music.

89.5 The Hawk Radio's Glen and Sadie were live on location and spent the morning interviewing people involved with the Campaign for Health Care Excellence.

Food was donated by the Coast Hotel and prepared by Executive Chef Tony Crisafi. Door prizes of $50 gift certificates for Preston's restaurant at the hotel and passes to events in 2010 from the Chilliwack Community Arts Council were drawn throughout the morning.

Sponsors of the "Make It Happen for Health Breakfast"
Coast Chilliwack Hotel
The Chilliwack Progress
89.5 The Hawk
Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation
The City of Chilliwack
The Chilliwack Bruins
Downtown Chilliwack BIA
The Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce
Save On Foods
Tourism Chilliwack

Donations can be made at the website: www.ilovecgh.com or by calling: 604-701-4051 

                                        For the photo gallery go here


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice





 Voice Report                                                 Saturday December 19 2009

Good To The Corp


Giving People A Hand Up

Salvation Army Kettle Campaign

kicks off in Chilliwack

Craig Hill/Voice



                                                                                               Craig Hill/Voice photo

Volunteer kettle soldier Linda McConnell waits for donations Saturday at Shopper's Drug Mart on Yale Rd.


The 2009 Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is in full swing now in Chilliwack. Originally kettle fundraising began in 1891 when Captain Joseph McFee made up his mind to furnish a free Christmas dinner for the poor in San Francisco. But how would he pay for the food?


Drawing on his experiences from his days as a sailor in Liverpool, the captain remembered a large pot on display at the Stage Landing called "Simpson's Pot." People passing by threw charitable donations into the pot.


This gave him the idea and he got permission from the city to place a crab pot and tripod at the Oakland ferry landing at the foot of San Francisco's Market Place. The kettle and McFee's request to "Keep the Pot Boiling!" drew much attention from ferry passengers. So began a tradition that spread throughout the United States and later to the rest of the world.


Back to the present, Linda McConnell was busy Saturday with her Salvation Army kettle collecting funds at Shopper's Drug Mart on Yale Rd. as part of the Christmas Kettle Campaign. She is disabled and likes to keep active and so for her it was a perfect fit. "I like it, it gets me out of the house," she said with a cheery laugh. "I'm on disability and I like keeping busy."


McConnell is getting to be a regular in the campaign. "This is my third year doing it (kettles)," she said. "But there are some people who have been doing it a lot more.

Some days are better than others but it's still pretty good. "Everybody is busy doing things. said McConnell. "I've been told that if we had the INTERAC it would go better."                                   
A kind soul took the time to stop and write out a

                                               cheque for donation at Shopper's Drug Mart.

Shopper's Drug Mart doesn't mind McConnell being just inside near the exit with her kettle. It's out of the cold and makes it easier than shivering outside all day. "Over at PriceSmart they block off one door so the girl can sit there (with a kettle.) she said. "It's nice that they block off the door and it's alright for people to go through one door."

Salvation Army Pastor Tim Bohr on StarFm

Salvation Army Pastor Tim Bohr appeared on StarFm recently to talk about what the army does for the community. The following are excerpts from that conversation.

Christmas kettle donations
We are very pleased to serve our community and provide those Christmas hampers and get out the Christmas kettle "jinglers." We actually do a fair amount with, relatively speaking, with a small amount of money. Some of the things that we do are:

Food Bank
This is one of the busy days because we are collecting food from all the schools for the food bank

Soup Kitchen

Our numbers there continue to go up as the food bank (use) goes up.

Emergency Shelter
Folks are fairly aware of this but we also have a youth shelter and not a lot of folks know that. We have a two-bed youth safe house for teenagers who are at risk of homelessness or are trying to transition out of that or are waiting for foster care and haven't found a place yet. They have to grow up too fast and these are just kids and they need to have that available to them.

Homeless Outreach Workers
That is a two-person operation where they actually go down to the river and they'll hand out their business card and let folks know that there is a place where there's a warm bed and a hot shower and a hot meal and clean sheets and the opportunity to really make a change in their lives and they also work very closely with landlords. The homeless outreach worker is trying to get people into housing and so they'll go to a landlord and say 'Hey look I've got this client. He's clean. He just came out of Miracle Valley or out of detox and trying to make a change. And we'll work with that client and if you have any problems call us instead of trying to deal with the client directly.' And that's a great program and we're so pleased to have that.

The other thing we do is we have a huge recycling program. Last year we recycled 80 tons of clothing that people donated to us but it was actually not serviceable; torn or broken or in some way we couldn't put it into the Thrift Store and we recycle it so that's 80 tons that didn't go into a landfill that we were able to recycle and we're pleased to offer that to the community.

Thrift Store
The Thrift Store is a great place to find a bargain. I don't think you'll find a cheaper article of clothing anywhere than in our Thrift Store. No offence to our competitors but we're cheaper folks. Come shop at us and it's good stuff! I've gotten stuff there myself of course.

With the Thrift Store one of the things we do is what's called the "Voucher Program." What it is we give through the Thrift Store. Someone comes to us let's say they just moved here from Ft. St. John or something and they're trying to get setup and they've got a job but they don't have anything but the clothes on their back and who they are, so we'll say 'Listen, here's a voucher. Go to the Thrift Store and get yourself a pair of work boots, a pair of jeans, a nice jacket and go to the till and the voucher pays for it so there's no cost to you.'

Last year we gave away almost $60,000 through the Thrift Store. When folks make a donation to the Salvation Army (it's going to a good cause) and I'm kind of passionate about this because I believe in what we do. We always screen the folks that come to us. If we don't sell it in the Thrift Store it's going to get recycled and it's going to help the environment. It's either going to be given away and if it is sold in the Thrift Store, 100% of the profit comes right back to Chilliwack and serves our clients.

Cheque Administration Program
The best way to describe it is that these are clients that can no longer be served through the welfare office. They are clients who generally have a behavioral disorder or an emotional disorder and are just too disruptive in the typical welfare office with a social worker across the desk. So the Salvation Army has said 'we'll look after those folks,' and we have about 24 clients and I got to tell you I've met some of them and you have to be like a saint to work with these people because they're not very pleasant. We have a lady who just is amazing. She is a saint as far as I'm concerned. And again it just provides a service that the welfare department isn't able to serve and we are able to serve those folks.

The Christmas Kettle Campaign
The fundraising is for the funding that falls through the cracks. So some of the government funding doesn't cover a lot of things. It provides salaries and those kinds of things but the in-between-things aren't getting covered so it's (kettles) really important. It's the only time of the year that we go to the public and say with our hand out 'Would you help us out?'

Cashless Donations
I don't carry cash and not a lot of folks carry cash so there is a way to make a donation online with your credit card. Just go to our website: (see below) and right on the front page is a "Donate Online" link and it takes you to a secure page that just explains how you can make an online donation. It's a secure site and it's a great way to make a donation if you don't carry cash. We call it our "Online Christmas Kettle".

Folks, you know what, we understand that things are tight for everyone and certainly if there is a need we are going to be there and help you out. But if you can at all possibly, out of the goodness of your heart, just give a little bit extra this year. It will be very much appreciated and there are folks who need it.

School Donations
We've got over 30 schools to cover in a period of just two days. We're looking forward to it. We've got about a dozen volunteers. Local dealerships are some vehicles for us so we're very pleased.

                         Merry Christmas and God bless Chilliwack.

Kettle Locations

1. Canadian Tire
2. Chilliwack Mall
3. Cottonwood Mall
4. Downtown Safeway
5. Salish Plaza Liquor Store
6. Safeway Mall
7. Sardis Liquor Store
8. PriceSmart
9. Coopers Foods
10. Save-On-Foods Vedder
11. Superstore
12. Shoppers Drug Mart- Chilliwack
13. Shoppers Drug - Vedder
14. Agassiz

Pastor Bohr told the Voice that kettles will be open until noon on Christmas Eve, except Sunday. "We also have an Online Christmas Kettle option at our website for those who wish to make a credit card donation."

Other donations
We always have a need for your usable furniture, housewares, small appliances, bedding, and miscellaneous items. For Free Pickup call: 792-0001

Our community recycling program occurs on the last Saturday of each month at Cottonwood Mall with the distribution of blue bags that can be filled with good used clothing and household items for donation to the Salvation Army. These donations can be received at the booth in Cottonwood Mall or be dropped off at either Thrift Store.

For more information on how you can help or what services are offered by the Salvation Army visit their website: www.salvationarmychilliwack.ca


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Report                                                Sunday December 6 2009

The most precious gift


Filling The Cruiser Fills The Void

RCMP Food Drive Helps Needy At Christmas

Staff Report


                                                                                                                               Craig Hill photo

RCMP Cst. Neville (left) and Cst. Tharney of the Chilliwack detachment collected food Sunday at PriceSmart Foods on Yale Rd. for the 1st Annual "Stuff the Cruiser" food bank drive. The cruiser was busting at the seams and people were still showing up with shopping carts. The food will be going to the Salvation Army Food Bank. Seven pallets of food were gathered by 36 officers at three locations and $1717.63 in cash was also donated.

                                                                                                        Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Report                                               Tuesday December 8 2009

Unsung Heroes


A Christmas Story

Abbotsford excavator digs up

food and toys for Chilliwack kids

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice

Jim Gleghorn's float sits on the tarmac waiting for the parade start. Later his crew walked alongside collecting donations from people watching.


The Chilliwack Christmas Parade of Lights & Sound was a success this year and one of the participants who helped make it that way also works independently collecting food and toy donations throughout the year for Chilliwack Community Services.


Jim Gleghorn, is an excavator operator for King Hoe in Abbotsford and has worked in the industry for many years and this year was one of the worst he's seen. For Gelghorn to say that, it means a lot because he's seen it all over time.

He could see a need and see how people's lives have been effected by job loss or illness so he came up with the idea of a food and toy drive so that he could help people who need it over the holiday season.

Once his idea hatched he went to work on building the trailer for the 2009 Food & Toy Drive. Then upon completion signs were made and mounted. He was off and running.

"I built this this fall for the simple reason that there's so many people that have been affected by the downturn in the          Gleghorn's 2009 Food & Toy drive trailer lights it up.

construction industry       

and the economy and it's ricocheted all the way down the line," he said.

Once Gleghorn was back at work he still wanted to help. "I was fortunate and got back after a 6 mo. layoff and there's a lot of people I know still in the industry still sitting there, EI is running out and they don't have a good looking Christmas coming for them so I decided to try to raise a little bit more for them and this is what developed," he said pointing to the trailer.

Gleghorn says that it all goes to charity. "All the donations in this unit will go to Chilliwack Community Services."

"My daughter works for REMAX and has for a lot of years, she's the one that runs the desk. She's over there today (Toy Drive) and felt bad she couldn't be here today but I think she's still going to make it." Gleghorn said.
Gleghorn is somewhat of an anomaly in that he works alone and the project was entirely done by himself and his son. "My wife is trying to set the upstairs up in our house and half the decorations are on the trailer," he said with a smile.

Gleghorn takes his trailer back and forth between Chilliwack and Abbotsford where he lives to places like his job sites. "I have some fellows from work there and I put up posters at work. My son and daughter put posters up where they work and catchboxes and we raise quite a bit and we also advertise for people on the parade route to bring something and we'll have two collectors behind (the float).

His philosophy is simplistic yet profound. "I think every kid deserves a toy and every person deserves a full stomach."

If you see Gleghorn with his trailer throughout the year give him a wave or better yet, help fill the trailer.

Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice News Report                                     Thursday December 17 2009

Nothing Is Too Sacred


Senior's Christmas Tours Cancelled

Vandals strike at the heart of society

On Tuesday night or early Wednesday someone decided that a neat thing to do would be to wreck two buses used for the "Time Out" seniors program.

The vehicles are owned by the Chilliwack & District Senior's Resource Society (CDSRS) who use them daily for tours and regular programs. Nothing was stolen from the buses which were parked on Old Dr. in the Mertin lot but both had windows smashed and fire extinguishers were emptied in the interiors.

Police are asking for the public's help finding the miscreants. "Sometimes in incidents like these, those responsible may talk to their friends or boast about their activity," said Corporal Lea-Anne Dunlop. "We want anyone who knows anything about this incident to do the right thing and come forward with that information."

Recent cutbacks have hit the struggling society hard and this is another cruel blow at a time when they need the services most.

The fallout from this mindless vandalism was felt immediately by seniors who's hopes of getting out and about this holiday season were dashed to the ground because some trips like the Stanley Park Bright Lights Tour had to be cancelled.

Lynda Hayden, Program Director at the CDSRS was deeply saddened about what happened. "We have a full bus going to the Nutcracker in Vancouver on Sunday and if the bus is not ready we stand to take a huge financial loss, not to mention the senior's disappointment," said Hayden. "We use the buses to bring seniors back and forth to our programs as well, so this leaves them homebound."

Police urge people to call them and report any suspicious activity which could be related to a crime being committed.

Anyone that may have witnessed the incident, or who has any information on those responsible, is ask to contact the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. Crime Stoppers tips can also be made online at www.chilliwackcrimestoppers.ca


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 The Joe Report                                   Friday December 18 2009

Joe Reporter

  Minter Country Gardens                                        



Reindeer Games

Sleigh reprieve




                                                                                                                Joe Reporter/Voice photo.

A pair of well fed reindeer stayed out of the rain and snow at Minters on Tuesday and didn't seem too interested in smiling for the camera. The reindeer are part of the ongoing Christmas show at the gardening store on Young Rd. They'll be penned until Santa stops by to pick them up sometime on the 24th.


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Extra                                                        Friday December 11 2009

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.

Chilliwack Business Excellence Awards January 23rd 2010
The nomination process is complete. We've gotten the finalists in every category and we're just putting the finishing touches on deciding who the winners are. It's a very exciting time right now and it's top secret.

Selecting business winners is involved. We've had over 100 nominees this year so we started with a big pile of people. We managed to narrow it down based on questionnaires that were submitted either by the organizations or on behalf of the organizations and like I said we've narrowed them down to three per category right now and there's a few that are finished and we are still getting the final ones in.

Getting an award is prestigious. I was in Bravo Restaurant the other night judging (Bravo) for the fine dining category and they had their previous 2 years' awards hung up on their wall, so they do display them proudly.

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 Preston's 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

Events in the New Year. We are working diligently at organizing events during 'Chamber Week' and that will be in February 2010.
                                                                                                                Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Report                                                 Saturday December 5 2009

The City Lights It Up


It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Parade revs up Chilliwack

Craig Hill/Voice




Copyright photo used with permission of Chwk. photog Kirtis Defehr defehr2004@shaw.ca


Rudolph the red nosed train, which is at many events throughout the year wearing different outfits, was fully loaded and working it's way past Five Corners Saturday towards the end of a cool blustery evening in the Parade of Lights and Sounds.


The skies were cold and clear Saturday but a blustery wind had float attendants wrestling with decor at parade time and throughout the evening in the Chilliwack Parade of Lights and Sound which consisted of over 70 floats.


About 50 people from Crossroads Church were on site with steamy bevies and hot dogs. Russ Adrian, who has been with the church for 10 years at least, said the church is there very year for the event. "We've been coming out to the parade here for 5-years of doing hot dogs and hot chocolate and handing them out to the guys while they get set up," he said.

It's a lot of work for church members who trundle along handing out the perks in the long line of parade floats. "We walk up and down 15-20 times handing out hot dogs and hot chocolate and when we're done this we usually go sit down and watch the parade go by," said Adrian.


Crossroads Church worships every Sunday at G.W. Graham Middle-Secondary School 45955 Thomas Road. Join them for some fellowshipping.



For the parade photo gallery go here.


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Extra                                                      Thursday December 10 2009

Parade Faces


Masterpieces In Motion

More 2009 Lights & Sound Parade



Special thanks to Chilliwack photographer Kirtus Defehr for the following shots of this year's Parade of Lights & Sound. It would be a shame not to share these. We're very fortunate to have this calibre of photographer in town.





























 Voice Report                                                Monday December 7 2009

Sugarplums danced


Making Memories Magical

REMAX weaves magic with

Christmas toy drive

Staff Report


                                                                                                                                Craig Hill photo

A youngster checks out the toy donations Saturday at the REMAX Christmas Toy Drive.


It has been a good year for REMAX and it was an even better one for 3000 kids, parents and the elvish who kept the banquet room at the Pantry Inn Restaurant jam-packed Saturday for the annual toy drive.


On the surface a Christmas party is just an annual event and something you think might be forgotten in five minutes, but the importance of children enjoying things like Christmas parties will stay with them their entire lives. 


Back in the 60s dad used to take us kids to the Kelly Douglas/Nabob Foods Christmas parties on Kingsway where he worked for 35 years. Every year we went it was the same. They told us Santa was arriving by helicopter and we waited patiently for the chopper's sound. The same cute handouts of a mini loaf of bread, candies and fruit. All the kids were given a wrapped gift without fail each year. It was magic then. The good times we had at those parties were forever etched into our memories. Fifty years later the memories are still vivid.


On Saturday kids watched in wide-eyed wonderment as the mountain of toys in the corner of the room steadily grew larger and people were still bringing in toys at 3 pm when the party was slated to finish. Mr. & Mrs. Claus were on hand to meet the kids and pose for nicely framed photographs.    

                                             Retiree Bud and his wife Dee, a cancer hospice

                                        volunteer for many years, dropped off toys Saturday


A lovely buffet-style lunch was donated by REMAX.                    


The tree-topper was a whopper in the form of a cheque from REMAX for $2000 which hung on the wall behind the stack of gifts. All toy and monetary donations go to the Chilliwack Community Services Christmas Sharing Hamper Program. 


If you miss the Toy House then you can go to Cottonwood Mall and pick a  name tag off the tree and buy a toy for the child who's name is on it.


                            For the photo gallery go here.


                                                                                                            Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Report                                               

Time to deck the halls

 Sunday December 6 2009


Holly Holy Love

Trimming Trees For Charities

Staff Report



                                                                                               Craig Hill/Voice

Anne McIntyre and Beth Gillespie sell holly they cut from trees in the park on Saturday. Half of the sale's proceeds are going to charity in Chilliwack.

Business was as brisk as the wind was Saturday for Anne McIntyre and Beth Gillespie who were at Gwynne Vaughan Park selling holly. The holly was trimmed from the trees within the park by volunteers the previous week and then boxed for the sale.

Half the profits are going to the Chilliwack Community Services. The ladies sold nearly 100 boxes at $5 each by day's end and both women were cold and tired but really pleased with the sales.

"We have 14 boxes left and we're going over to Minter's," said Gillespie. "And I hope the pictures don't turn out!" added McIntyre.


Gwynne Vaughan Park is one of those rare hidden gems in a city the size of Chilliwack. It's a gorgeous little 15 acre parcel of land tucked away off of Williams Rd and Hope River Rd. The park is steeped in history and the original Driscoll home, which has been restored by the Rotary      A hidden gem in Chilliwack.

Club, was donated to

the city back in 1993.

For more information regarding fugure Holly Sales or if you want to volunteer contact Anne: anne.mcintyre@uniserve.com

For more information regarding Gwynne Vaughan Park go here.


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice City Hall Report                              Friday December 11 2009

Mother Nature Smiles


Here Toady, Gone Tomorrow

City receives thank-you from Fraser Valley conservancy group

Staff  Report


                                                                                Craig Hill photo above. Other photos are from our files.

Lisa Fox (left), Natasha Cox and local artisan Steven Clegg present Mayor Sharon Gaetz (red) with a Certificate of Acknowledgement from the FV Conservancy group at the city hall meeting last Monday.


Lisa Fox, Executive Director, Natasha Cox Executive Assistant and local artist Steven Clegg from Fraser Valley Conservancy thanked council with a Certificate of Acknowledgement for contributions made by the city for the preservation and protection of the western toad by facilitating a road closure to protect the tiny frog's migratory path.

"The kids from Ryder Lake and the Ryder Lake Farmer's Institute as well as the Habitat Stewardship Program for species at risk which is a federal government program with which we are able to do the toad rescue. With the help of volunteers we crossed over 38,000 toadlets and many more hopped over on their own behind the barricades so we thank the City of Chilliwack    


 A hands-on learning experience last summer.


for allowing us the three-day road closure to help them," said Fox.

Ryder Lake Resident Steven Clegg said he was "really appreciative of the decisions you guys made to close the road and I was able to see the tangible effects that had for our community both in spirit and bringing everybody together for that common purpose as well as for the toads (themselves)," he said.


"When I was contacted to make this frame I was really honoured and I wanted to stick with the conservation theme so while I was making this I used only resources that were reclaimed or salvaged from here in the Fraser Valley. So take for example the black walnut frame, the border was salvaged from a burn pile from a farmer's field out in Rosedale. The inlay of the western toad, I decided to use western broadleaf maple as I thought that was rather fitting. So the little western toad is inlaid in the bottom (of the frame)," Clegg said.


Mayor Sharon Gaetz received the certificate on behalf of the city. "I just wanted to say a few things and I know that this council really cares about the environment and I've watched the way that everybody works together to try to (Shaw Cable lost sound) ... we've been watching over the years the migration is getting bigger and bigger," she said. "We had more letters about the toad rescue I think than anything in recent days and people were very grateful that we rescued those little critters and so a big thank you to you (Shaw Cable sound problems again) ... people came from around the valley to assist in this endeavour (sound problems persisted). Mayor Gaetz added that "she gave me a card saying  - you are toadily awesome."

  Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Report                                                    Saturday December 12 2009

Pump Operators Challenge


Something To Get Pumped About

Terrific trio take Top Ops in BC competitions

Staff  Report




Len Stein (left) and Dr. Bill Hyslop (right) present trophy to Chilliwack's Top Ops Shawn Pritchard and Gary Boyes in city council chambers last week.


A trio of city employees were all pumped up with no place else to go but city hall  Monday during the regular council meeting.

W.F.(Bill) Hyslop, Ph.D. and Len Stein of the Environmental Operators Certification Program were there to present awards to the city's pump operator team for their placing in the annual BC Water & Waste Association Top Ops Competition held during their annual conference recently.

"We started this about 5 or 6 years ago and we just keep getting more and more (people)," said Dr. Hyslop.

Chilliwack's team, usually walks away with 1st place but settled for a decent 3rd in two portions of the battle which was entirely due to the combined expertise of city employees; Gary Boyes, Grant Metcalfe and Shawn Pritchard.

About 200 people register for the annual conference. The "good-natured" recontre has 6 teams from various municipalities of 3 people each who go head-to-head on three problem-solving tests involving large, small and top-off pump tear-downs.

The pumps they work on are used typically for sewer and chemical-feed chlorination and each team has to attack the problem of repairing the pump in the fastest possible way.

A fun part of Dr. Hyslop's job in the "Operators Challenge" was to throw the odd wrench into things. "I worked directly on those (chlorinator pumps) in that we sabotaged them without telling anybody and it's up to them to troubleshoot and say, 'ok, it's running but it's not delivering the right amount over here, was that because someone reversed a valve?' and so it's up to the guys competing to diagnose the problem and go ahead and fix them," he said.

But of course it all must be done safely and there are judges watching them do it. Timers are set and if the team misses any challenges then it's a 5-second penalty and at the end of it they add the points up and subtract demerits for team totals
"There is a penalty points mechanism where for instance the power might already turned on to the pump but it's not working so the team would pull the breaker, block it out, tag it out and a whole series of things that should be done when it's done right," said Dr. Hyslop.

The third part of the competition is a "Jeopardy" type of situation where 3 teams go through a number of speed rounds being asked questions and hitting a button if they know the answer.

"Chilliwack has won or placed second in that part of the competition for a number of years but for some reason this year they didn't. There's no big prizes. That trophy and a couple of bucks gets you a cup of coffee," he said.

Small pump tear-down - Shawn Pritchard and Gary Boyes placed 3rd.
Large pump tear-down - Shawn Pritchard, Gary Boyes and Grant Metcalfe (not shown) placed 2nd.

Stein was enthusiastic about next year and is looking forward to the competitions then. "Thank you and we hope that Chilliwack will come to either reclaim the Top Ops trophy or retain the ones that they just won," he said.


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Special Report                                     Thursday December 17 2009

A lump of coal for Christmas



The Last Cut Is The Deepest

Elizabeth's Wildlife Centre Struggles To Keep Afloat

                      Craig Hill/Voice

Cars and cats take a huge toll on small animals. People find these animals, or what's left of                                                                          Submitted photo.

them, and take them to                      Elizabeth (right) and staff work on a rescued bird.

centres at various locations      

throughout the province.

Not only are the wildlife suffering but the centres that work to keep them alive and rehabilitate them are hurting as well. Everyone knows the economy has been awful and as local governments scramble to cut spending some wildlife rehabilitation centers are finding themselves in troubled waters financially.


At last Monday's council meeting in Chilliwack an axe fell almost unnoticed. This time the Abbotsford-based Elizabeth's Wildlife Centre was on the chopping block and animals may suffer in the wake of that decision. At the meeting, council denied a request from the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) to participate in a "service for support" for the centre. It was originally suggested by council in Abbotsford that they approach Chilliwack to assist in funding.

It all boils down to the bucks
The centre, founded in 1986 by Elizabeth Melnick, relies heavily on public donations. They were asking for $20,000 from both Abbotsford and Chilliwack to help cover an annual operating budget of $80,000 - $100,000. Abbotsford council ended up forking out $14,000. There are no breaks on property taxes either which are paid out of the centre's budget.

Every municipality sets aside funds to deal with injured or abandoned animals and Elizabeth's needs financial assistance now. Because Chilliwack City Council nipped the request from the FVRD in the bud, responsibility to care for the injured or abandoned animals here now shifts to other jurisdictions like Abbotsford and Mission.

There was no one from the centre at the city hall meeting to familiarize council with what Elizabeth's is all about.


A disheartened Melnick said she was prepared to make her plea in person to city council but ran into a roadblock. "One of the veterinarians and myself were set to make a presentation to the FVRD but when I phoned Chilliwack to ask for a delegation form they said not to bother because they didn't have a category to put us under."

Elizabeth's is fully licensed and equipped to treat small animals such as birds, squirrels, baby raccoons and opossums.  The compound holds 4 buildings plus a waterfowl pond for rehabilitation. It is the only facility to service the entire Fraser Valley and at times is overwhelmed with the high cost of medical supplies and food for the more than 1000 small animals it accepts annually in the Rehabilitation and Release Program.

There is only one other small animal rescue centre in operation in the Fraser Valley and it's on the shores of Burnaby Lake. Langley has Critter Care which only accepts larger animals like cougars and bear cubs. The Burnaby centre is impractical because it's too far away to take an injured animal. The next closest facility that accepts small animals is in Kamloops or the Gulf Islands. Realistically, because of the time and costs involved, not many are going to drive a small injured bird all the way up country or take a ferry ride with it.

SPCA relies on the centre
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) just deals with domestic animals like cats, dogs, horses and some exotics. According to Ivanna Ferris of the Chilliwack SPCA, Elizabeth's is essential. "We do not have any other wildlife rehabs in the Chilliwack area," she said. "We will sometimes also use Critter Care in Langley for raccoons."


If after 23 years the centre is allowed to close because of financing difficulties, then the SPCA would be up against the wall.

"It would definitely effect us," stressed Ferris. "There are no other organizations that do the work they do in the region."

                                             Submitted photo.

A volunteer at Elizabeth's releases a

rehabilitated bird.


"The BCSPCA has Wild Arc as a resource for wildlife rehab but they are located on the Island so this is too far away," she added.

The recent spate of sub-zero temperatures has led to a torrent of animals brought in to the centre suffering from exposure. The cold also froze the pipes and Melnick was forced to pack water in buckets. An unexpected occurrence that will take precious funds to repair.

It's simple says Melnick. "Our centre needs money to carry on our services." A hefty percentage, perhaps up to 30% of their animal intake is from the Chilliwack area. "I haven't tallied up the numbers yet but I do know it would be well over 100 and possibly closer to 200."


Friends of Elizabeth's

The Wildlife Rehabilitator's Network of BC (WRNBC)works as a support for members by sharing information about funding opportunities and helping with grant applications among other things.

Jackie McQuillan, President of the WRNBC, says that money is hard to come by at the moment. "Funds are tight for wildlife rehabilitators throughout our province," she said. "The current state of the economy has meant for many that donations are down significantly, while expenses have remained the same."


McQuillan had good words to say about Melnick's Centre. "As a respected and long-term member of our organization it is our hope that the municipalities which Elizabeth's Wildlife Centre serves will continue to support her good work in their communities," she said.

Meanwhile back at the ranch
Not all animals need to be taken in for care and the public needs to be aware that by taking an animal out of it's environment it can actually be worse for the creature. So a lot of Melnick's time is spent educating the public who call in about 4000 times a year with questions.

"Our Center is also pro-active which means that if an animal doesn't have to come in people are advised of this over the phone. Some animals for example, babies who are uninjured and have their parents attending them don't need to come in," said Melnick.

Despite financial woes, Melnick who has been working as a nurse, keeps a bright outlook and will be busy this coming year trying to raise money. "We do as many fundraisers as we can otherwise there really isn't any plan at this time," she said. "I always have dreams to upgrade or make things easier for the volunteers, myself and of course the animals,"

Volunteers are essential

According to the wildlife centre's website they are always in need of fresh volunteers who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty cleaning cages or feeding injured, orphaned or sick wildlife. They had to cease the newsletter because the person doing them had to move on to other things.

The Center has been a non-profit agency since 1999 and is a registered charity . Those interested in donating can get a tax receipt. They can also use help with:
food /formulas medication general supplies electricity/heat and utilities

laundry supplies garbage disposal cage maintenance & construction

Items that people can donate to make a difference:
all types of bird seed cat food - dry & canned dog food-dry & canned kitten food squirrel food - e.g. peanuts  building supplies baby food - all types puppy food rabbit food laundry soap bleach sheets/towels baby blankets receiving blankets cleaners (Mr. Clean, Lysol) garbage bags
paper towels/Kleenex

If someone has any other talents and skills that they feel would benefit the center then they can contact: Elizabeth Melnick 604-852-9173 or visit the website: www.elizabethswildlifecenter.org

Visit Elizabeth's Wildlife website to learn about what to do if you find an injured or abandoned animal. You can also visit this site: www.wildliferehabber.com



Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Report                                                    Monday December 21 2009

Gridiron Greats


They Would Be Giants

Chilliwack football team blitzes City Hall for final touchdown in 2009

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

Chilliwack Giants star players show off trophies to Mayor Sharon Gaetz at City Hall on Monday.


Chilliwack's minor football team might be classified as "midgets" but they are truly giants on the gridiron. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary; giant is a legendary humanlike being of great stature and strength; a person of extraordinary powers and/or something unusually large or powerful.

Most of the Giants 39-player roster were on hand at City Hall on Monday to accept congratulations on the outstanding season and winning the BC Provincial Championships. At 15-0, the team went without a loss for the entire 2009 season.

The team's head coach, Suresh Parray, has been coaching for 16-years and head coach for 9-years told the Voice that he was very happy with how things went both during the regular season and in the post-season championship. "We had a great season," he said. "We have nothing to complain about and some of these guys are in their final year and we promised them if they work hard enough good things will happen."

Most of the players are 16 and 17-years old. The future is bright for the graduates and the teams' seniors. "We have a lot of talented guys," he said. And good things are happening for at least two of their star players who have been scouted by almost every university in Canada. Offensive lineman Tyler Oldendorf and lineman Arie Nakagawa are two reasons    Giants' players fill City Hall on Monday.

he team did so well.

"There were lots of scouts at the championship game and quite a few came into contact with us with regards to what our future plans are with some of our guys," said coach Parray.

The Giants team roster is so strong and deep that when players were chosen for the provincial all-star team they almost took the Giants entire starting lineup of 18 players.

Every year players have to go through the ritual of trying to make the team. Previous track records are of no consequence said coach Parray. "It doesn't matter how great you were last year you still have to be selected for the team each year."

Even the coaches have to go through it annually. "I put my hat in the ring to become a head coach again," he said. "You don't get back in just because of who you are.


You have to go through the process very diplomatically. There are 10 guys applying   Giants Head Coach Suresh Parray

(trying for the head coach slot) and you        talks about the winning spirit Monday.

have to go up and give a speech on why

you deserve to be head coach of a certain program and winning helps."

In congratulating the team, Mayor Gaetz had high praise for the players. "It brings me such pride to be able to look out at you guys and I know that you've worked really hard and have done Chilliwack proud and in fact the province of British Columbia proud," she said. "I understand that this is only the second time that this has happened and I understand that you went through some really difficult challenges to get to the place where you are today."

The 2010 season will get under way in April and August before the team starts it's preseason games.

Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Editorial                                                 Thursday December 24 2009

More reasons to ban pit bulls


Fun Furry Family Pets

When a pit bull attacks it's no longer a dog it's a beast

Craig Hill/Voice


When is a family dog not a dog? When it's a pit bull in fighting trim looking for interlopers.

On Tuesday an unleashed pit bull attacked a leashed police dog on 5th Ave. locking its jaws on the other dog's throat. Officers tried to separate the animals but couldn't. So they did the only thing they could have done and shot the attacking beast.

Generally I don't write a lot of editorials because I'm too busy reporting on the news in Chilliwack but as this story unfolds it is impossible not to write something

If you have ever tried to pry apart two dogs savaging each other then you'll know that it's an almost impossible task and you risk life and limb doing so. Pit bulls don't have necks. Their heads are welded to their shoulders and their bites exert hundreds of pounds of pressure.

I don't care for pit bulls. Never have and never will and consider them a waste of a carbon footprint. Most of the people I've ever seen who own pit bulls are bikers, grow show operators, ACDC headbangers or people who like to parade down the street with a loaded weapon.

Yes, a loaded weapon and they should be treated as such. Sure any dog is capable of attacking other dogs or people but pit bulls were originally bred specifically for fighting in pits with similar breeds.

Why would people go out and get a "family dog" with such a poor reputation? There are dozens of other K-9's to choose from but they opt for a possible child-killing machine and certainly any other creature big or small is a potential target.

Thirty years ago I was caretaking the lodge that once stood on top of Burke Mountain in Coquitlam. Despite a light rain it was a good day for a walk around the park. So off I popped with my dog. My dear beloved and happy pooch that we'd had in the family for ten years.

Suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, a dog rocketed out of the bush and grabbed my dog by the throat. The dog, as it turned out, was a pit bull who's owner was also out walking in the bush. The animal had my poor pooch and ran down the trail dragging it by it's neck.

I ran after the pit bull and tried to pry it's steeled jaws apart. It was impossible. There was a faint yelp and my dog went limp. Then and only then did the pit bull release its death grip on my hound. My yellow raincoat was tainted red. I was covered in blood as I hurried to the vet. It was too late. My cherished dog was gone.

I can tell you that if I had a gun that day when my dog was attacked, I would have happily shot the little monster there on the spot.

Two months ago my neighbor's hand was almost torn off by a pit bull. It was his son's dog and he fed it whenever his son was out of town. One day the trusted animal snapped and attacked. The dog literally tore off his ring while shredding his hand. His fingers still look like waterlogged sausages. He showed me what was left of the stretched and torn jewelry. The dog was later euthanized.


When the police officers responded to the pit bull that was attacking their german shepard on 5th Ave., they did the only thing they could do they shot it. But at that point the creature was no longer a dog, it was a beast and they had no choice.

Clearly every dog needs love and care and a good home. Even pit bulls. But why people choose these killer dogs as family pets is beyond comprehension. The community can do without these types of dogs romping around neighborhoods.


Perhaps in order to avoid another incident like this one the police should start training pit bulls themselves.

                                                                                                                      Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Extra                                                    Wednesday December 23 2009

A Noble Cause



A Natural Christmas Gift

Woodward sisters donate huge tract of land to city for nature reserve

Craig Hill/Voice



                                                                                                                        Craig Hill/Voice photo

Pat (right) and Paige Woodward accept a token of appreciation from Mayor Gaetz (centre) after the sisters donated land to the city.

Rather than seeing development on top of Chilliwack Mountain, a pair of benevolent sisters donated 29 acres of land in a bid to ensure that the City of Chilliwack keep the parcel of land for the sole purpose of preserving the area as a nature reserve.

Pat and Paige Woodward were at City Hall last week so that council could thank them for their generosity.

In her address to council and people in the gallery which included the Woodward sisters, Mayor Gaetz said the city was very appreciative of the sisters generosity.


"I think it's a perfect Christmas present for people in the City of Chilliwack who will be very excited to know about this incredible gift," said Mayor Gaetz. "Our staff has worked really well with the Woodwards and devised a plan whereby to make a trail through that land in the future, not this year we're watching our pennies this year but in the future we would love to be able to do that."

The land is worth about $874k at today's prices and with the donation comes the onus of stewardship which now falls on city hall.

Mayor Gaetz had high praise for the sisters speaking directly to them at the meeting. "I think that people in the City of Chilliwack are very blessed to have them in our community and very blessed to have you pass on the knowledge that you have and the determination to keep this for future generations," she said.

The sisters sat in the gallery listening and when invited by the mayor to address council, Pat Woodward invited people up to the mountain once the park is established and the trails are properly marked.

"I hope that people who are here enjoy coming up to the top of Chilliwack Mountain. There are three lakes there and we already have old logging roads that have been developed into some trails but there are a lot of trees there at the moment," said Pat.

                                                                                                                    Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice 1st Anniversary                                    Friday December 25 2009


A message from the publisher

Thank-you Chilliwack

It has been a year since the Valley Voice News was first brought online. The Voice is an independent internet news source for Chilliwack and I don't consider it to be in direct competition with the print media in Chilliwack, au contraire. I see the site as an asset to the community because even though both print newspapers do a great job covering stories, they can't be all places all the time and the Voice may be able to help with that aspect of coverage.

The Voice has been welcomed into many homes and businesses and I have to give a very warm and heartfelt thanks to Mayor Gaetz and city councilors who have gone out of their way to help get the news out to you where it matters.

Thanks must also go to the police and in particular Cpl. Lea-Anne Dunlop who works tirelessly with her communications. Both fire and emergency services have also assisted immensely.

We are lucky to have some great writers in Chilliwack with people such as the Ghandi-like Greg Knill and Ken Goudswaard, Robert Freeman, Jennifer Feinberg, Paul Henderson and Mike Chouinard. These are big league writers who remain small-town friendly and are genuinely concerned about the community. You can't ask for more from community newspapers than what they deliver.

Many thanks to the inventive Georgia Nicols who loved the Voice from it's inception and has been so gracious to give us her brilliant horoscopes gratis (as long as we don't scoop the Province paper!) Rafe Mair, a hero to the people, sends most interesting and informative stuff which I am all to happy to share with you. Long live Rafe and may his beard never wither.

I can't say it's been an entirely easy publish over the past year mainly because the Voice doesn't get the leads handed to it like print media does but this will change as people become used to getting their news electronically.

In an age of growing global awareness towards the environment, a paperless world seems inevitable and in response to that the Voice readership has been increasing in leaps and bounds. I'm optimistic that eventually local people will be turning to the Voice more frequently for their community news.

If I was worried about being paid for the many hours and money poured into bringing the Voice to you then I'm in the wrong business. In fact I am proud to say that over the last year the Voice has generated zero dollars. It's a labour of love for the community and at the end of the day its not me looking for thanks from you but me thanking you and the community of Chilliwack.

Although the Voice story archives were lost last year, we still have the photo galleries posted there for you on some cold rainy day. Be sure to check them out, you might even know someone in the pictures.

Thanks to our regular readers and to those who have offered many kind words of encouragement over the past year.


Best to you in 2010. It is going to be better than ever.

Craig Hill


Corbould Park                                             Wednesday December 30 2009


New Year Rolls In On A Warm Note

Zen and the art of reflection



Craig Hill/Voice

A beautiful day for reflecting on 2009 at Corbould Park on Tuesday. Little sign of December weather and temperatures are expected to rise to 10c this weekend before returning to more normal winter climes the following week.


Copyright (c) The Valley Voice