Chilliwack News June 2010

Community News                                          Tuesday June 1st 2010

Greg Clark Fishing Derby


Good things come to those who bait

Derby organizers hope for high numbers of fish and fishers

Craig Hill/Voice 



The fishing will be good and hopefully so will the catching. Fishers will have a chance to reel in some good dough at the Greg Clark Family Fishing Derby Saturday June 19 and organizers promise it will be bigger and better than ever.


This year there is a bounty on pikeminnows in Cultus Lake and a $2 cash prize will be paid out for every one of the voracious fish caught no matter what size or weight. And if you are lucky enough to catch one of the tagged fish, then you'll get a cool $100.


Fraser Valley Salmon Society President, Frank Kwak, Vice President Nick Basok and Director Gerry Thomson were out on the lake Tuesday busily tagging fish in preparation for the upcoming derby.



                                  FVSS president Frank Kwak at Cultus Lake.


Pikeminnows are a problem because they reproduce so fast and can live for up to 30-years with mature fish weighing in at 3 or 4 pounds and that equates to a lot of salmon fry being eaten.


The pinkeminnow's digestive system is such that anything they eat shoots right through them. "Quite often when we catch them, they've been feeding on fry and when we bring them in they'll puke back up 3 or 4 of them," said Kwak.


Kwak told the Voice that they don't want to destroy the fish because they are native to the lake, they just want to cut down on their numbers and to help control the population. A seiner is helping out on the lake by netting them.


"In one set this year they got over 1200. Overall they haven't got a lot, I understand they've caught about 2500 to date so it's obviously getting better," said Kwak.


The Cultus pikeminnow removal program is funded by the Fraser River Salmon Table Society which is an umbrella group for First Nations groups, conservation organizations, sport fishers and the Commercial Salmon


FVSS director, Gerry Thomson was tagging Tuesday.


Advisory Board (CSAB) who, according to their website, work to "Foster the rebuilding of the salmon fishery and eco-systems in the Fraser Watershed."


The CSAB gave the FVSS $5000 for the Cultus pinkeminnow program and that money will allow the group to continue restorative work in and around the lake such as removing milfoil and enhancement work at the Inch Creek hatchery which raises smelts and releases them into the lake with hopes they'll return.


"What happened was about 3-years ago, the commercial fishermen in the late-run sockeye salmon wanted to fish for sockeye, however in the late-run salmon we have a mixture of interior fish and Cultus fish and if they allowed for that fishery they would wind up taking some Cultus fish and we can't afford to lose any fish," said Kwak.


"So the CSAB recommended that what they do is allow an exploitation rate of 30-per-cent and they would catch a number of sockeye that they would sell for $600,000 and use that to do restorative work in-river, in-stream and in-lake, rather than just trying to figure out what's going on in the ocean."


It's been an uphill battle, however due to the work of the FVSS, the pikeminnow population isn't worsening – its actually decreasing. But having said that, they are inadvertently increasing cutthroat numbers in the lake. This is good for sport fishers but not for the salmon because they also feast on the fry.


The removal program was initiated 15-years ago by the local Fish and Game Club and the FVSS took over the job about 5-years ago.


Kwak said their objective with the Derby is two-fold; to catch pikeminnows and to teach people about fishing and the more people they can turn-on to the sport, the better.

                                           Tagged and ready to catch in the derby.


"We're trying to introduce people to sport fishing," he said. "We know that watching a computer or playing a video game is not nearly as wholesome as coming out here with your father or your grandfather or your mother or your cousin and learning how to fish."


Thomson said their sponsorship has blossomed to the point where they can now offer close to $20,000 in prize money this year.


The derby starts at daybreak and all the fish are to be weighed in by 2 pm. There is all kinds of prize categories for men, women and kids. Entry fees are $5 for adults (over 16) and $2 for juniors. Three-quarters of the prizes will be awarded on tickets purchased prior to the day of the event so it's a good idea to get yours early. If you can't get a ticket before derby day then you'll be able to do that on the June 19 at Main Beach. Tickets can be purchased at Fred's Custom Tackle, Chilliwack Dart &
Tackle and Rosedale Mini MartDon't lose your ticket stubs, you'll need those to collect the prizes.


For more information on the derby or how you can help or join the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, e-mail Chris Gadsden here or Frank Kwak here.

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Sunday June 6, 2010


Runners Itch For A Cure

Relay For Life gives CCS big cash injection

Craig Hill/Voice


    These days you would be hard pressed to find anyone who's life hasn't been impacted by cancer in some way and when the disease rears it's ugly head, families are devastated and often left in financial ruin.


    According to the

Canadian Cancer                                                                           Craig Hill/Voice photos

Society, 29% of all        Grant Sigaty was tired but pleased with his efforts

deaths in Canada            in the Relay For Life Friday.

are due to cancer,                                  

making the disease the number one killer. However with an ever-increasing segment of the population reaching the golden age, that number isn't going to decrease either.


    On Friday, the CCS held a 24-hour Relay For Life fundraiser at Chilliwack Secondary School. Luckily the monsoons which had the

Lower Mainland stuck in wash cycle, ceased, and approximately three-hundred focused people ran for a cure on the eve of National Cancer Survivors Day.


    They jogged throughout the night on the candlelit track around tents pitched from one end of the field to the other. By sunrise, the fleet-footed group managed to raise an amazing $70,000 for the cause.


Tents dot the field at Chilliwack Secondary Saturday.


    One of those camped overnight was StarFm's Grant Siggity, who spent 2 hours pounding the track raising $385 as part of his team's $3000 overall effort.


    Like many others running, Sigaty has lost members of his family to the disease, so the Relay was something very personal.


    "It was an unbelievable experience to see this many people out in support of everybody that's been affected by cancer," said Sigaty. "I've done five-relays and this is my first overnight one so it was a really different experience."


    Even though its the end of the first week in June, the weather was still not very conducive to camping, but that didn't phase Sigaty who figured it was all worth the effort.


    "It was a little chilly when you got to about 2:30am so you were almost wanting to be on the track to keep warm," he said. "It's something that is near and dear to my heart and it's very important to me."


    For more information on how you can help visit 

                                                                                                  © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Local News                                                      Sunday June 6th 2010

Conservation is key


Water Water Isn't Everywhere

City Hall wants residents to put a stopper in water waste

Craig Hill/Voice 


    It has been said that good planets are hard to find. Who can argue with that? Water stewardship and proper conservation methods are important issues that everyone needs to be aware of.


    In a press release last week, Minister of Environment, Barry Penner, said that despite the recent heavy rain across the province, which helped to ease the water supply concerns in many communities, reserves are still not up to par due to a lighter-than-usual snowpack last winter.


    Interior towns were rated at Drought Level 3 (very dry conditions) at the beginning of May then a late snow at higher elevations delayed the melt and extended the freshet season to mid-June. Depending on weather, local rivers are expected to reach peak levels by mid-month.


    The equinox is only two-weeks away Monday and this summer Chilliwack residents should be thinking about what they can do to conserve water. Low flow toilets and water efficient fixtures help, but to make the conservation picture complete, folks need to be conscious of how much water they use.


    In an effort to become more water-efficient, Chilliwack city officials have come up with a Water Conservation Strategy that combines several elements, all in an effort to reduce use of our precious resource by at least 20-per-cent this summer.


    According to a City Hall press release last week, Chilliwack uses on average approximately 30-million litres daily and the number peaks at 52-million litres during the summer months.


    "Residential water usage increases significantly during the summer months," said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. "Not only will abiding by the water restrictions help protect our water source, it can also save homeowners up to 30-per-cent on their metered water and sewer utility bill. For some users, that is up to $150!"


Water Restrictions

    Lawn watering restrictions are now in place and part of the city's Conservation Strategy includes lawn watering restrictions. As of June 1 sprinkling is only allowed from 5am to 8am or from 7pm to 10 pm. Residences with even-numbered addresses can water Wednesdays and Saturdays and those with odd-numbered addresses can do their watering Thursdays and Sundays.


Xeriscaping - Dry doesn't have to be dull

    Flower and vegetable gardens as well as shrubbery and trees are also exempt from the water restrictions which can be watered using a hose or a watering can. Drip irrigation systems are the most effective watering technique and also have no restrictions.


    Allowing your grass to grow longer during the summer will slow down the evaporation rate and as a result less water is needed. There are grass varieties that are tolerant to dry conditions. Dry doesn't have to be dull. There are many species of flowers available that use less water. Planting native species and low-water use varieties also help to reduce strain on the aquifer.


Clean Machines

    People like their cars clean and so washing them won't be included in the water restrictions. Car owners can use a bucket of soapy water and rinse off with a hose.


    However if you want to really conserve water, commercial car washes use on average of about 180 litres of water per car, whereas home washers typically use about 400 litres.


    Waterless wash products are a good idea and available now from many manufacturers, such as "Eco Touch." Many are nontoxic, biodegradable and petrochemical-free. Just spray on, wipe and buff gently with a clean towel, and voilà. Clean car.


Buckets of Rain

    Rain barrels are a good way to water plants around the home. The city engineering department is selling specially designed rain barrels to home owners at subsidized rates. The prices is $85 for the 365 litre barrel and $28 for the 208 litre one (not including taxes.) Home owners can pick one up from the Engineering Dept. downstairs at City Hall. There's a limit of one per household.


Conservation Kits

    Cost-recovery home conservation kits are available from the Engineering Department at City Hall for $14.26 plus taxes.


The package includes;

Toilet bag which when installed reduces the volume of the tank and water used per flush.

Leak detection tablets that will indicate a leak in the flapper valve inside the tank.

 Drip gauge for measuring water leaking from faucets.

 Flow Diverter that limits the amount of water used to rinse the toilet bowl.

Shower gauge bag (doubles as a toilet tank bag) that measures the amount of water used by a standard shower head.

 Low flow shower head that uses 2 GPM (gallons per minute) which are easily installed. Older shower heads use about 4-6 GPM.


Low Flow Flushers

    Did you know that in Australia, low flow toilets are mandatory? The city engineering department is offering a $50 rebate for homeowners who install the new ultra low flow toilets. Installing one of these can save the average household about 80-100 liters a day or 30,000 litres per year. Some companies also offer toilet conversions for around $75.


    Water is our future and everyone has a duty to conserve it.


Related links

    For more information on the topics above visit the city website here.

For more information on the low flow toilet rebate program visit the website here.


    Additional provincial information on the water supply outlook and snowpack data can be found here. Information on drought management is here.


                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Big Top Time

Circus Gatti: Entertaining families

for more than 50-years



                                                                                                 Joe Reporter/Voice photos

A behind-the-scenes look at Gatti Circus prior to the shows. In this photo the rings and props are being setup.


Get ready for the smell of cotton candy and squeals of laughter to flood your senses as Circus Gatti puts on four-shows tonight and tomorrow at Heritage Park .


The Gatti travelling circus has been entertaining families for the last five-decades and features an array of talented performers and their K9 pals that run through a bevy of crowd-pleasing routines.




This circus doesn't have elephants or lions due to BC's laws but that doesn't matter because the trained dogs are the best in the business and sure to put smiles on kids' faces.


After WWII, US Army Major (ret.) Matthew J. Gatti travelled around the US and Europe producing shows for enlisted men and women and in 1963 he founded the American Continental Circus and the Canadian International Circus which later became Circus Gatti.


As a child, Gatti was raised in a Christian orphanage during the Great Depression and later in life became known for his generosity and philanthropic nature by helping underprivileged children and donating his time and show tickets to charities, hospitals and even to penitentiaries.


There is an evening show tonight at 7:30 pm and two more again tomorrow at 4:15 and 7:30 pm. So if you ever want to see a three-ring circus show, or were considering running away to join one, now's the time. For more information visit their website:                                                                                    

                                                                                         © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 June 4th 2010

Community News & Views
The Joe Report

Business News                                                 Sunday June 6th 2010

Beautifying one block at a time


BIA Makes Offer Biz Can't Refuse

Façade grants help business owners beautify 




Who says you can't have beauty in business? The BIA want to spiff it up a bit more downtown and in a bid to provide incentive for local business owners who want to add more charm and character, they are offering up a new pilot funding program.


On Friday, the Association announced their Façade Improvement Grant Program is now available on a first-come, first-serve basis to local business. The cost-sharing stimulus plan will pay for half of the bill up to a maximum of $2000.


Here's the deal.


If a business owner has plans to upgrade their business storefront by December of this year, and are in the BIA's precinct, then they can qualify for the grant money provided the City of Chilliwack's design guidelines are met in their improvement plan.


With the funding in place, the BIA hopes business will step forward with plans to do some cosmetic work and assist them in the beautification of the downtown core.


Alvin Bartel, Chairman of the BIA Urban Design and Greening committee said in a press release that “We are excited to be able to assist business owners to improve their façades with signage, lighting and new canopies all in an effort to add character and revitalization to the downtown shopping area.”


The BIA came up with the program in response to member concerns and as part of the Official Community Plan which focuses on a safe, clean, green and friendly downtown for shoppers and merchants.


Kathy Funk, Executive Director of the BIA also said in the same release that “I am pleased that the Urban Design committee is focusing on this improvement project as it is important to our merchant’s that we continue to support their efforts in attracting customers to their stores.”


To find out if your business falls within the BIA's designated downtown area, and how to qualify for the grant contact the BIA at: 604-792-4576 or visit their website:


                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Community News                                          Monday June 7th 2010

First Half of Year Summary


A Mayoralty Minute

Sharon Gaetz talks about city's accomplishments in the first half of 2010



Cheam Leisure Centre opening day Ribbon-cutting ceremony May 15, 2010. Voice file photo.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz appeared on StarFm today and the following is highlights from that conversation with the dynamic duo, Scott and Lisa.

Cheam Leisure Centre

You know we have some pretty cool things that have happened in the city. The first one, the one I love the most is the new Cheam Centre has opened up. And a six-lane pool and there's all kinds of amenities like a hot tub and there's new gym equipment that's state-of-the-art.


That was an old, old building that the army base used for a long time for their recreational needs so when the city took over, we spruced it up and it looks fantastic. We knocked down the old building and that's gone.


New Kids Spray Park

The next thing that's going to be done by the end of this summer, unfortunately the end of the summer, is a kiddies spray park will be going in so there's some free things that kids can do there too. There's a lot to do in our community and that's one.


The 'Cultch'

The other thing is that the Cultural Centre is going to be opening up in September. So this 500-seat theatre, 150-seat practice theatre, pottery room, all kinds of art rooms, green rooms. There's going to be lots of plays coming through which will be fun. That's opening up in September and the really good news is that all of that is paid for. So we're excited about that.


The thing is that we really underplayed the outside of the building because there are a lot of people in our community who just don't like to spend money on the arts and those kinds of things. So we wanted to make sure that we were really careful with our money and that it didn't look like we were doing a big huge splash. But it's beautiful. The woodwork out there is fantastic. The entrance is marvelous. I think when people go inside of the theatre themselves, they're going to be very very impressed. The acoustics are fantastic. We have a new director of the Arts Centre, Michael Cade, who was hired a few months back. So they're busy planning all the bells and whistles for the inside. It's substantially completed and the shows will start in September.


Our council and our staff have been really fiscally responsible. They carry on with the tradition of many councils before us that have said we want to pay as we go. So we're not borrowing money to do it. We're glad about that and yeah I think we are the envy of a few communities.


Bike to Work Week

You can actually get a map from the city with all of the bike routes that are there. The ones that are preferable. There's some areas that are really nice for biking right now. My husband (Jim) is a tried and true biker. He bikes for everything and hardly takes his car anywhere. He picks up groceries on his bike. He does all of that stuff. And it's really not that he's environmentally conscious, honestly is that he's cheap. Really, I love him, I love him – it's more money for shoes.


Prest Road is a really good example of a road that is hard to retrofit (for a bike lane) because on the sides we have ditches of course for the farmers to irrigate their fields and it's quite a procedure to move a ditch. DFO doesn't like it very much. Anything that has fish-bearing, any watercourse that is fish-bearing they have control over even though it is man-made.


There are sticklebacks, there's bullhead, all kinds of things like that you wouldn't suspect are in the ditches but there they are. There are some really good ones (bike trails). We just put a really good one in Yarrow where we widened the road. It was easier to widen the road in that area. Of course we usually have to expropriate land and pay the land owners for the use of, but this particular piece we were able to use on the city rights-of-way and so it's really nice too to ride those bike lanes.


Jim and I just did that last weekend. Went down the rotary trail, and went right across and into Yarrow and came back that way. It's a beautiful, beautiful bike lane. But you know of course motorists are sometimes not aware who's on the roads so when you're biking you really need to know the rules of biking and you really need to watch out for those guys who might not be watching out for you.


If you're in Sardis, one of the ways to avoid going on that sidewalk that has telephone poles down the middle, and people ask me why is that. Well, when those roads were planned it was way to expensive to put the telephone poles over to the side, moving every one of them. I think when we did Young Rd. it was about $2 million for the cost, which would be a 4-per-cent tax increase, which most people don't like. I'm in favour of moving telephone poles to the side no matter what it costs. But some don't agree with me apparently.


If you're biking in Sardis for instance, go down the back way. Go down Sheffield. There's a trail right along the side of the railway that is fenced and paved and it's beautiful and it will take you right over to Luckakuck and yeah, its a really good way to escape the usual kind of crowded roads.


We want to make that way easier for people so we do have a bike strategy and part of it we're going to be talking about tonight in the Downtown Use Plan that's coming forward to council for approval tonight and for public input and we're going to be talking about greenways and how to get around in downtown. Right now we're very much vehicle oriented rather than pedestrian and bike-oriented.


Watering Restrictions

It feels weird talking about water restrictions when we've just had pouring rain for the past couple of days. You know what's really amazing that you might not know, usually in the city of Chilliwack we 30-million litres of water a day, which is really quite outstanding when you think about the amount of water that is, that flows through the pipes and that you flush and that you use for washing your car and watering and doing all of those things, but in summer, that boosts up to 52-million. So that's why we're really careful about trying to get the message out about conserving water.


Fortunately, our drinking usage impacts how much you flush (pun intended.) Speaking of drinking water that's the reason why we're conserving because we have the best drinking water. When I go around through the Lower Mainland, and you sit in those hotels and they put those jugs full of water with ice in it and take a swig and you just think 'Oh take me home to Chilliwack.' Because honestly our water is fantastic. We've entered contests before and we've had the fourth and fifth best water in the world. And part of that is that we have a natural filtration system from the Vedder River and there's no chlorine. We don't put fluoride, we don't put anything in the water. What you're drinking out of your tap is pure straight from the river.


There is a finite amount. We are very very careful to make sure that we don't exceed the amount that we actually can. We have water systems, we have one in Yarrow that runs independently of us. We have reservoirs up in Marble Hill area, eastern hillsides up on Chilliwack Mountain, Little Mountain as well and we just want to make sure that resource lasts for many generations. We're a consumer-kind of generation, I think, and lately we've been hearing more and more about water restrictions.


My kids live in a place in the Philippines where they use their water, they first put their water in their washing machine, wash their clothes, they drain the water out, they bath the kids in it, they pour it down the back of the toilet to flush it. It's a very precious commodity and we certainly don't want to end up being one of those area where we take water for granted.


It's something that every town, no matter how big their sources is, it needs to preserved and jealously guarded.

We don't actually water our city parks. If you walk through Sardis Park, you'll see the ground gets brown. We're not using pesticides on our lawns anymore. So we don't have that manicured 1950s, "Leave It To Beaver" kind of lawn anymore.


If you go down to Twin Rinks area, there's (automatic) sprinklers in those lawns there but in our regular parks, nature takes it's course. But I think times are changing and we're just becoming more and more conscious of what we do and most of us don't brush our teeth and run the water anymore, we don't just walk away from a running tap. We're really careful. So you mention a really good thing about watering your lawns and that's one of the things that we want to insist. As a matter of fact we have a bylaw where people can water their lawns.


Those who have even-numbered addresses can water on Wednesdays and Saturdays and they can choose one of two times; if they're morning people, water from 5am to 8am, or in the evening you can also water, you can water from 7pm to 10pm in the evening if you like and the odd-numbered addresses will water on Thursdays and Sundays.


You can wash your cars. Just use a bucket and put some soap and water in there and wash the car with that. You can sprinkle your vegetable garden and your flowers and keep them healthy and alive. But you know that green garden is a bit of a tell-tale sign, that the green lawn, that you're maybe using too much.


You shouldn't be sprinkling your lawn (by hand). Sprinkle your vegetables, sprinkle your fruits. Make sure that your hanging baskets are doing fine but don't be out there watering your lawn with a sprinkler.


(If people aren't following the watering bylaws) If they do then our bylaw officers make sure that they talk to the people that are watering and send them a friendly little note saying that these are the times that you are permitted to water. Once people get that little note, they understand the reasons why, they don't water again but, we don't send bylaw enforcement officers out looking to say 'Aha, she's watering the lawn!'


Just so you know with any bylaw in the city, we're like a reactionary council. If somebody lodges a complaint, we'll go out and look after it, but otherwise you know we don't. We're not proactive. We don't go looking for people (who) do bad things.


Downtown Land Use Plan Public Forum

You can go onto  and there is a whole downtown use plan posted right on the front page so that people can review. Basically the plan is about how do we develop our downtown into a place that we're all proud of and pleased to live in and pleased to shop in and a place to play in. And so the plan talks about greenways and talks about bikeways. It talks about businesses that we want down here. What kind of entertainment we want down here.

The densification which could be an issue with people who live in little single family homes, maybe ranch-style, it might be in an area that is about to be developed into higher density. All of those are questions that people might want to come and talk about. As well that can make any kind of suggestion through our web page. You don't even have to get out of your Lay-Z-Boy tonight if you don't want to, you can be part of the discussion as well and we'll go forward with the Downtown Land Use Plan and rejuvenate downtown.


That starts at 7 o'clock tonight at City Hall and people are welcome to do that. We are having a presentation this afternoon as well by David Blaine about the plan that Metro has to incinerate. And they will call it fancy names, they call it "gasification" they call it "pyrolosis". What it really means is that they have incineration as part of the process and all of the studies will tell you that they cannot take the particles out of the air completely that they're burning in this combustion process.


We're very alarmed. We have let our views know to Metro already. They know that we're not in favour of putting an incinerator in Vancouver. They already have one, it's the North Burnaby incinerator. What it does is that it teaches people how not to recycle and reduce and reuse their items. They just throw them in the garbage and have them burned.


We're going to be breathing that stuff and what we know about breathing this air, and for those who were part of the SE2 struggle that we had, they were planning to burn a clean fuel.


Vancouver is not in favour of it. Metro, is planning to burn garbage. This could introduce things like nano-particles, zerons (sp.), dioxins, mercury into our air shed and you guys know we've worked really hard to protect our air shed. So I need people to come out on the 16th of June. Please, please, please come and let your voice be heard at the Best Western Hotel, at 7 o'clock. You'll be given an opportunity to speak for five-minutes if you wish to. You can write letters.


Barry Penner has to read all of the letters. Please besiege his office with letters telling him that you need him to stand up for our right to breathe clean air. You know it's hard because we cherish our relationship with Metro and want to work harder. We work with them on all kinds of other projects. But this one we want to put our foot down and just say 'no, we've got to find another way to do it.'


Thank you to your listeners listening to a great radio station.




Related links

For more information on the topics above visit the city website here.

and to find out about the low flow toilet rebate program visit here.


For more information on the Cultural Centre go here.


                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Community News                                          Tuesday June 8th 2010



UFV Pays Homage To Volunteer Society

Yarrow Ratepayers to receive prestigious Betty Urquart Award

Craig Hill/Voice

                                                                                   Betty Urquart



                                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photos.

Corie and Graham Robinson are happiest when volunteering for the community.


arrow Ratepayers Association members have won the UFV Betty Urquart Award for volunteerism. It was all in a day's work for "Yarrow Day" organizers, Corie Robinson and her husband Graham, who were at Community Park Saturday morning busily setting up booths and prepping for the big crowds that were on the way to watch the annual parade and take in the two-day festival.


The small Ratepayers society packs a big punch when it comes to helping their beloved community. The group consists of about ten or eleven core volunteers who put on events like Yarrow Days, the town plant sale and host dinners twice a year at their Community Hall.                             Yarrow Volunteer Soc. boss lady, Eileen Waslen,

                                    organized the Yarrow Days celebration Saturday.


Volunteering goes thankless much of the time, but this year people took notice of the group and UFV has dedicated the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award to them for their hard work and devotion.


The BUCS Award was inspired by UFV employee Betty Urquart who worked tirelessly for many years bridging gaps between the community and the educational institution. The award is generally given to a group or individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the community in the University region.


The Robinsons, married for almost forty-years, have spent the last nine of them in Yarrow and Graham told the Voice that the group's fundraising successes are largely dependent upon each other and the benevolence of the community.


"Last year we raised $2300 from the plant sale alone. We had donations. People dropped off stuff in our driveway," he said.


When not volunteering, Corie works in her Clay Monster pottery studio that she says got it's name when she would emerge from the studio covered in clay from head to toe and her husband would say, 'Here comes the clay monster."


The award Convocation ceremony will take place at 9:30am on Thursday, June 10, at UFV.

For more information regarding the award go here and to visit Corie Robinson's pottery studio online see


                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



Feature Story                                                   Tuesday June 8, 2010


Putting on the Ritz

Yarrow loves it's "Day" Craig Hill/Voice


n Saturday, the normally tranquil hamlet of Yarrow exploded with colour for the annual Yarrow Days celebration at the community park. The festivities kicked-off with a parade and later folks enjoyed music, food, and even took in a soap box derby. Families lined the streets under a rare blue sky and kids leapt for candies tossed from an array of floats embellished with balloons, ribbons and smiling faces.

See the photo gallery  here

Community News                                          Wednesday June 9th 2010

Awaken the sleeping waters


People of the River Hit The Lake

Annual Cultus Lake Water Sports Festival




                                                                                                                    Craig Hill/Voice photos

Cultus Lake native paddlers line up Saturday for the first race of the day featuring men's singles.


he Cultus Lake Water Sports Committee held their annual Water Sports Festival at Main Beach Saturday.


Sto:lo people are known for their beautiful carved cedar canoes which at one time was the main mode of transportation in this country before the onset of motorized vessels. The Salish war canoes are world-renowned for their speed and often winning in international competition.


On Saturday, the group had special permission to camp lakeside at the waters edge for the weekend and the parkland adjacent to the beach was covered in tents, campers, mobile homes and vans for the weekend. The event was billed to have 8000 people but it's not clear if that figure was reached.


Starting line positions were determined in the "Captain's Draw." Paddle crews had names like Ocean Thunder, Mystical Lady and Sto:lo Princess. Once that was taken care of the canoes lined up along a yellow rope and waited for the air horn to sound.

                                    Emcee Phillip Lockerby (L) and Duncan, BC co-host

                                    Bill Rice share some laughs at the event Saturday.


There were events for both men and women which had up to 12 canoes in the each of  the races. Paddle crews ranged from men's singles to eleven-seat war canoes and age classes ranged from juniors to seniors.


One of the judges, Art, spoke to paddlers about the race and rules.


"I've been asked to help out this weekend" he told onlookers. "I'm getting warmed up for the races next week in beautiful Cowichan Bay, "Valley of the Sun."


"I'm trying to find a joke to tell and have this one, 'Umpires can speak our language in baseball, because they always go 'Strike three knee-high' and so you that don't understand our language 'neehi' means 'finish'," he quipped.


Surprisingly there were lots of rules but the basic ones were that paddles must be in the air at the start line, no bumping boats, slashing, clubbing or even a slight jab was allowed. Sometimes canoes get too close to each other on the turn and can at times hit each other.


"If you're interfering with another canoe, you're going to be disqualified," said Art. "I know it happens on turns, when canoes get into the turn if they come into the turn and the bouy pops up on the other side, that's ok, but if you miss a turn or you don't go along that turn intentionally you got to go back, if you don't go back (to pass the buoy) then you're not going to finish."


"We don't want anyone getting hurt, we want good clean races and we want the best canoes to win." he said to paddlers.


Stripped (fibreglass) canoes were banned. Singles were able to use paddles with a bent shaft but the big canoes were limited to straight ones.

The races were exclusive to aboriginal paddlers and if a non-native was caught paddling in any of the  races, the boat was disqualified.


Prize money wasn't huge, about $20 a person which helps pay for the costs to attend the event.

Aboriginal cuisine offered on the Main Beach at

Cultus Lake on Saturday.


Skowkale band member and emcee for the festivities, Phillip Lockerby, told the Voice that there was money available to help canoeists with their expenses.


"We'll give one canoe club travel money, because some come from Vancouver Island, some come from down in the states" he said. "Gas ain't cheap."


Co-emcee, Bill Rice, from Duncan was also helping Lockerby with the event.


Lockerby told paddlers to be ready. "Listen for the five-minute warning – or ten-minutes Indian time."



                                                                                              © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



Editorial                                            Wednesday June 9th 2010

Conservation is key


City Hall Denies Native Event Funding

Spirit of the People Pow-Wow is on their own

Craig Hill/Voice 

Traditional sources of funds have all but dried up for community groups and City Hall, for instance, has rejected with regret requests from most non-profit community groups who have gone to council with hat in hand. Many small organizations are suffering and on the brink of collapse with out funding.

In April, City Hall denied Sto:lo Tourism's request to waive the $2500 rental fee for the Landing Sports Centre for their "Spirit of the People Pow Wow" event which takes place July 23-25 this year.

In a letter to the city, Kwis Hoy and Maxine Prevost, said that because of it's popularity, they started the pow -wow up again at Prospera Centre after a hiatus.

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

Powwow means “gathering or celebration.” Traditionally, pow-wows happened when families and friends were reunited in the spring after the long, harsh winters in the north when they were forced to uproot to find food. Over the years, the events have grown in size and the pow-wow in Chilliwack is one of the largest of it's kind in North America.

The Spirit of the People Pow Wow began in 1991 by a group of students who wanted to share their culture with other people in the community and since it's inception an estimated 80,000 people have walked through it's doors. The last event had 15,000 champion dancers from across North America.

The revived Chilliwack event is a native cultural Mecca of food and dance that showcases traditional values of the Sto:lo people. The event features drumming contests that will be paying more than $77,000 in cash prizes to the best drummers in a number of categories. The pow-wow also sells sponsorship packages that range up to and above $10,000 each.

A reliable source told the Voice that the cash prizes are made up of donations.

If Prospera Centre is filled to capacity, then 5700 tickets at $10 each would generate in the area of $570,000. Organizers expect 15,000 to attend. Then there are the other cash-generating things like the sales of vendor locations, plus food and craft sales which would push that number far higher.

The question is; Why would the Spirit of the People group be asking taxpayers to foot the Sports Centre rental bill when the event generates tens of thousands of dollars for Sto:lo Tourism coffers?

In an effort to find out why, the Voice asked Sto:lo organizer Maxine Prevost in an e-mail for her take on it. However more than two-weeks have passed and Sto:lo Tourism still has not responded to e-mails.

                                                                                               © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                 Wednesday June 9th 2010

Riding to Remember


Rally Recalls Canada's Fallen Soldiers

CAV Memorial Ride set to draw thousands to Sappers Park

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                            Craig Hill/Photos

CAV Vice president, Barry aka "Brutus" Drews, will be riding to remember Canada's soldiers who've fallen in Afghanistan.


Since 2002, 149 Canadian troops have died. The latest casualty was Combat Engineer Regiment Sergeant Martin Goudreault, 35, from Ontario. Goudreault, who was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, was killed by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol roughly 15 km southwest of Kandahar city. Ironically, it happened on June 6, D-Day.


This Saturday June 12, thousands of onlookers are expected to be at Sappers Memorial Park to watch as hundreds of bikers, cars and trucks roll in for the 3rd Canadian Army Veterans Rider Group (CAV) Memorial Ride.


The rally, which starts in Vancouver at Trev Deeley's, is in support of Canadian troops who have fallen in the line of duty and also for the families who have lost their loved ones.

Leading the Memorial Ride, will be CAV UBIQUE UNIT Vice President Barry aka "Brutus" Drews.


Drews told the Voice, that BC has lost ten soldiers to-date and that hopefully at least six Silver Cross mothers, or family representatives, will be in attendance at the rally.


"We set this up for the Silver Cross families who lost their sons and daughters in conflict in Afghanistan," he said. "The money raised on the run is also for soldiers who come home injured."


CAV also supports the Association For Injured Motorcyclists (AIM) an organization who provide legal and rehabilitation guidance to accident victims. Additionally they provide vocational guidance to those who cannot return to their former occupation after an accident and also visit people in the hospitals, bringing them reading materials or helping take care of TV rentals and any special equipment required.


Everyone is welcome to join the Canadian Army Veterans for the 3rd C.A.V. Memorial Ride for the Fallen. The ride leaves Trev Deeley's at 9:30 a.m. and the cost is $20 per bike/vehicle. Pre-register here. Memorial Service at 3:00 p.m. at Sappers Cenotaph on Vedder.


After the ceremony everyone is invited to a social gathering at the Canadian Military Education Centre located in building 1011 at the old Supply/Quarter Master warehouse which is at the end of Dieppe Street on the corner of Petawawa Rd.


The next CAV ride will be at the July 1 Canada Day celebrations at Heritage Park. Then on July 24, they will having their 2nd Annual Canadian Military Education Centre fundraiser.


Donations that are collected will go to the Wounded Warriors Foundation Fund and to help the Silver Cross Mothers and their families.


To see the gallery of photos of CAV's Yarrow ride go here.


For more information or how to donate visit:

CBC's "live" list of fallen soldiers go here.


                                                                                                           © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



Local People                                               Wednesday June 9th 2010

Hanks for the memories


Hanks For The Cuts

Yarrow legend still finding ears after all these years

Craig Hill/Voice 


                                                                                                                         Craig Hill/Voice

Hank Giesbrecht aka "Hank Da Barber" stands in front of his shop in Yarrow where he's been since 1945.

ranks for the memories. Where do you go when you want to remember how it was way back when? You go to Hank Da Barber's.

These days they're more apt to be called a beauty salon or a hairdresser and back before words like "moptician" were coined, they were just called barbershops.

Barbershops have always been about more than just haircuts. Not so much anymore, but at one time they were firmly attached to the town's central nervous system. For the last 150-years or so, barbershops in every small town have been the hub of happenings. Buy a cigar, read the paper and get a shave or maybe a cut. To find out anything, you went to the barbershop.

Like a trip back in time to Moses' place in Barkerville, you travel down the the main artery in Yarrow BC and ultimately end up at Frank Da Barber's. The heart of Yarrow. One that's been beating steadily for 65 years in the very same place.

A barbershop is also about character. Hank Gieslbrecht has that, and then some.

"My name's Hank Da Barber," he said, pointing to the custom made welcome mat .

The clock winds backward the moment you walk in. It's a living, breathing museum and Giesbrecht is a legend. The chairs inside are over a hundred-years-old. His pride and joy – a small yellowed photograph in a plastic sleeve. He takes it down from the shelf.

"Look here, I've got something to show you," he says with a smile. "It's the first licenced barbershop in BC."

Back in the 40s and 50s, it was easy to tell how many heads he cut simply because he knew everybody and he knew their schedules.

"At one time, I knew how often the people came for a haircut and they would even ask 'How many haircuts have you given me?" and so it was easy for me to tell because they came in every month on a Thursday at 10 o'clock in the morning or in the afternoon, it was so easy to remember."

Even at an amazing 84-years of age, he has no plans to retire and will keep on cutting. He's lopped-off everyone's hair, well almost everyone. He still hasn't trimmed royal locks but does find the ears of some local politicians now and then – pun intended.

"The Prince was here in Yarrow on the canal, but no cut for him then, but I've cut you know, MPs hair, people like that," he said. "And I just love Mayor Gaetz." adding that he's never done her hair.

To say Giesbrecht works all the time is an understatement He recently took seven-minutes off per eye for cataract surgery and is glad he did and is ecstatic about being able to see the trees on Vedder Mountain once again  – and people's ears.

The surgery was done by Dr. Heinrich and he was back to work in two-days time. Amazingly, Giesbrecht gave Dr. Heinrich his very first haircut when he was a baby.

Giesbrecht does perms too. He's always done them for the ladies in town and said he even used to give Heinrich's grandmother one. He can also still give a straight razor shave and will do it again for a soon-to-be-filmed documentary.

In 1945, and fresh out of a barbering school in Vancouver, Frank moved to Yarrow where he set up shop and cut hair at 25¢ for kids and 35¢ for adults. It's a flat sawbuck at his shop for a cut now and it will be post-HST too.

Giesbrecht doesn't care what taxes the government throws at him and isn't paying any attention to it. He admits that although he knows the value-added tax is coming, he knows nothing about it and doesn't want to because it's not going to affect his business.

The reason is because he cuts less hair these days and doesn't get the customers in like the good old days.

You'd think that with more people living in the area than ever before business would increase. But not for Giesbrecht.

"I don't have the volume of people that I used to have," he said.

And wouldn't you know it, the gentleman in the white coat has even sung in the local Barbershop Quartet.

Drop-in for a cut and his store is at 42297Yarrow Central Rd.

Franks for the Memories. Just a bit off the top please.

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Note: The story was amended and the Voice apologizes for the error with Hanks first name.


Community News                                            Thursday June 10th 2010

Growing places


A Growing Concern

Annual plant sale is perennial in nature

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                            Craig Hill/Voice

Some of the plants on sale at Gwynne Vaughan Park last Saturday at the annual sale.

he sun shone on hundreds of smiling faces last Saturday as the green thumb crowd flocked to the annual Gwynne Vaughan Park plant sale. It is Chilliwack's largest plant sale of the year and cars lined both sides of Hope River Road and flag people directed traffic.

The park, at the corner of Hope River Rd. and Williams Rd., was a veritable beehive of activity with vendors, Strawberry Tea, food, music and of course, plants. Lots of plants. Every size, shape and variety imaginable was available to anyone looking to spruce up the garden. And the prices were very reasonable as always.

Gwynne Vaughan Society President, Anne McIntyre, was working at the society's tent selling bedding plants and having a blast with it.

"It's going very well, we're having such a lovely day," she said. "We get these (bedding) plants from Sardis Senior Secondary and all these perennials we grow in our own gardens and the rest of them are growers from all around the Valley."

                                   Gwynne Vaughan Park Society Pres. Ann McIntyre.


"We get a cut from them and we also charge them a fair amount for their booth," said McIntyre. "The better they do, the better we do."

McIntyre wasn't sure how many people showed up for the sale because they were coming from all directions making it difficult to estimate.

"There are about 8 places that people can come into the park we have no idea how many people are here," she said. "But it seems very crowded so I'm sure it's as good as usual."

Entertainment was provided by a popular local musical duo called "Sweetwater" at the park's pavilion. The Rotary Train was also on site for the day.

Earlier this year, the Society received a grant from the Chilliwack Foundation to help pay for a new gateway type of entrance to the park, and McIntyre says things are progressing.

"When I got the money from the Foundation, I told them that it would be finished at the end of May, but the city's Parks Dept. has been very busy this spring." she said.

"It's going to be great. All the drawings are out, the proposals are out and the best thing about it is, there used to be a big brick Post Office in Chilliwack, right downtown in the middle of Wellington and the city saved the granite steps from there and they're going to be incorporated into the opening at Gwynne Vaughan Park," she said.

McIntyre is out year-round braving all kinds of weather in the park year-round. It's more difficult in the colder weather like at their annual holly sale but it would take a lot to keep her out of the park.

"The weather is always terrible that time of year," she said with a laugh. "It's always snowing and raining then."

The park has an organic community garden with about 20 highly-sought-after plots that come available now and then. To find out more about how to become involved in the community garden call 604-795-7566.

The Society has a new website and McIntyre updates the site frequently (take that you young computer geniuses!) She says the site has has all the information that anyone would need to know.

"It has the history of the park on there, stuff about the plant sale, board members and it has the history of Gywnne Vaughan." said McIntyre. "It's Chilliwack's most beautiful and most unique park."

The website also has information regarding booking the pavilion for weddings and picnics.

                                                                                                          © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Volunteer News                                               Friday June 11th 2010

Saving lives at home, work & play


St.John Ambulance Seeks

"For the benefit of mankind"

Craig Hill/Voice 


n Saturday June 19, the Chilliwack arm of the St. John Ambulance     Long-time volunteer Jim Aitken, at Cultus.

service is having an Open

House at their Hocking and Young station. The purpose of the event is to give the public a chance to see what they're all about, and hopefully, to sign up more volunteers.


Go to any event and you'll see the volunteers tucked away to the side. Always on duty and always ready to assist in a medical emergency. They are a must-have for any community event.


St. John Ambulance is always willing to help but that willingness to set up mobile medical posts at events is quite often dampened, not by lack of enthusiasm, but by a lack of bodies, so to speak.                   



                                   Officer-in-Charge, Russell Newcombe.

The ubiquitous organization tries to be at most events but can't be at all because they don't have the manpower and always seem to be spread far too thin. Currently, there are only eleven active members volunteering to serve a population of about 80,000 people so they are always looking for volunteers. The more volunteers there are, the easier it is on the group and the more events they can attend.


The volunteers would like to have a life too but many find themselves devoting all of their spare time just to make up for any shortfalls in manpower.


The organization, with the help of Chilliwack Bingo, recently added a new pickup truck to their fleet but according to Officer-in-Charge, Russell Newcombe, this year its still a mystery as to what kind of funding they will be getting and when.


Newcombe, a Pitt Meadows resident, originally joined the organization in 2001 and has been volunteering with the Chilliwack branch for the last two-years.


Usually in April they get their funding so they're able to lay out their wish

Mobile First Aid Post at Cultus Lake event.


list and plan ahead, but this year its late and Newcombe says they are a bit under the gun.


"We got some gaming money for the new truck, a donation from Chilliwack Bingo, but the economy has gone down, so things are sort of up in the air," said Newcombe. "We already have our list up so we know, so we know what we want, but until we know how much actual dollars we're going we don't know what's going to happen."


"Essentially, for these events, are donations. So we come here and maybe they make a donation to our organization, that helps pay for the equipment, that helps pay for the upkeep of our mobile post, if there is any training, that all goes to do that," said Newcombe.


Recently, St. John Ambulance attends has been attending the stock cars races at Agassiz. They used to do more. "The more members we can get, the more duties we can do," Newcombe. "So some of us work weekends, some of us during the day and we have some weekends free so it's kind of a juggling thing."


The group meets once a week to recruit and train them. When joining, volunteers need to be armed with a standard First Aid Certificate and they'll also need to know CPRC. Their summer meetings are twice a month in July and August.


Jim Aitken usually volunteers on weekends and is into his eleventh-year working as a volunteer. He is one of those guys who gives so much of his time and asks for nothing in return.


"I usually volunteer weekends, a little less now than I used to," said Aitken.


If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, call or visit them at:  #202 - 45928 Hocking Avenue 604-792-1338


Meetings take place Wednesday nights from 7 pm to 9 pm.


For more information on how to become a volunteer with St. John Ambulance visit their website:

                                                                                                  © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                                    Thursday June 10th 2010

U-Pass U-Think?


BC U-Pass Programs To Start In The Fall

UFV Student Union unsure how it will help students                                                                         UFV SUS Interim

Staff report/Voice                                                                                 Pres. Jay Mitchell

n September 1, all students at publicly funded colleges and universities will be eligible for what the BC government calls "The most comprehensive student transit program in Canada."

Premier Gordon Campbell announced yesterday in a press release, that B.C. is the first province in Canada to offer an affordable, subsidized universal U-Pass transit program to post secondary students.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has set aside $20-million for the program's implementation in Metro Vancouver and will partner with TransLink, BC Transit, local governments and post secondary institutions. The rest of the province's schools will have funding granted as they apply to join the program.

“This fulfils our commitment to establish a universal U-Pass program for all students studying at B.C. colleges and universities,” said Campbell. “Students will enjoy the benefits of discounted transit passes to help with the costs of getting to and from school.”

In Metro Vancouver, post-secondary students will pay $30 per month for a system-wide U-Pass, compared to $81 they pay for monthly passes now. At some point students will be given an opportunity to vote in referendums on whether or not to join the new U-Pass BC Program.

“Not only will the U-Pass BC Program make transit more affordable for post secondary students, it will create a transit culture resulting in more people leaving their cars in the driveway, leading to less congestion and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond.

Canadian Federation of Students’ B.C. Chairperson, Nimmi Takkar, lauded the government on the transit initiative.

“The Province and TransLink are to be congratulated for implementing a common U-Pass program for Metro Vancouver at an attractive price,” she said. “Affordable transit will be of tremendous benefit to post-secondary students in British Columbia and the communities where they live.”

Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development said the program has the potential to assist about 439,000 BC students.

“I’m so pleased we’ve been able to work with our partners to support so many of our students,” said Stillwell.

UFV Interim Student Union President, Jay Mitchell, wasn't as optimistic about the new plan because they're still gray areas and he told the Voice in an e-mail that the program will be good for students in the Vancouver area where the U-Passes are expensive but may not help UFV students.

"A Translink pass for $30 a month is an excellent price for access to that system, and is a strong incentive for people to move away from the pollution and expense of a personal vehicle," said Mitchell. "The details on what transit access will be granted with this pass are unclear (because) it is not stated whether students will be isolated to their regional transit systems for those outside of Translink in Metro Vancouver, or whether this pass will be inclusive of all systems in the province."

Mitchell says the pass may be regionalized which means that students in Chilliwack might not be able to use the passes to travel to the UFV campus in Abbotsford.

"If the pass is limited to regional access, I don't expect that this will have much impact at all on UFV students as our Lower Mainland campus centres are not connected to the Translink system," he said.

The U-Pass is $10 a month ($40/semester), and provides students with unlimited transit as well as access to recreation facilities in the Upper Fraser Valley but it's also unclear if the U-Pass will work the same way in the fall.

"I think it would have been an outstanding move for the government to include rec centre access in their provincial U-Pass, because this benefit would dovetail very well with the ActNow BC program," said Mitchell.

                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Community News                                          Friday June 11th 2010

"Overcoming Addiction. Everyday"


Fun and Fitness For Funds

Yarrow Fun Run raises cash for youth centre

Craig Hill/Voice 


Yarrow Fitness Fun Run for the Teen Challenge Centre last Saturday.

ast Saturday, Yarrow Fitness Inc., hosted a Fun Run and Hanne Loewen told the Voice in an e-mail that they managed to raise $200 for the Teen Challenge Centre in Yarrow.

The enthusiastic group of runners were the first ones out to celebrate Yarrow Day June 4 and began the run with some warm-up exercises.

The Teen Challenge Chilliwack Men's Centre is the oldest of all the centres in BC and is located in the tiny hamlet of Yarrow on 1.9 acres of beautiful farmland. The centre works with young men who have drug and alcohol addiction problems and can accommodate up to twenty clients at any one time.

The youth community service agency originated fifty-years ago on the mean streets of New York City and has since branched off into many divisions throughout North America.

According to the group's website, they "recognize that addiction can take numerous forms, and is not just limited to drug and alcohol abuse. The program is residential-based, and is usually completed in 12 to 18 months. With over 600 locations in 82 countries, including 12 locations across Canada, BC Teen Challenge is affiliated with Global Teen Challenge."

Teen Challenge accepts cash donations to enable them to continue their good work in the community and they also accept cars as part of their "Give A Car" initiative.

If you are interested in helping out this much-needed organization visit their website:

To donate a car call 1-877-5-GIVEACAR

For fun workouts at Yarrow Fitness Inc., drop in to their office at 42375 Yarrow Central Rd. or call Hanne at: 604-823-7200

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Community News                                          Friday June 11th 2010

Alternative Lifestyles


Parabolic Eco-Man

Living-in-the-round a generic trait

Craig Hill/Voice 


                                                                                                             Craig Hill/Voice photos

Parabolic dome homes at the Eco Village in Yarrow where Shayne King-Scobie and his family will live once completed.

he commune of yesterday is really more like rural Yarrow community of today. But there's little semblance to those the hippy days of yore. These days when you think of communes, you think of hippies and hookah pipes. Summers of love, counterculture, subculture and grass juice.

In some ways, the beads and long-hair ideological legacy remains intact. It's actually embedded in our daily lives through healthy eating, diverse spirituality, earth-friendly cohousing and roots music. Sans the orange sunshine LSD, the "rush" to get back to the land is even more relevant now than it ever was back then.

Enter Shayne King-Scobie. He's a throwback to the 70s. He's a 21st century parabolic eco-man.  He's actually one of the friendliest guys you could ever meet on the street and it was there by chance that the Voice met up with him. The term "parabolic" is the shape of the house he's building. Even the interview was a Heraldo Rivera-70s-style of interview because he shoveled mulch throughout the interview.

King-Scobie has offered courses with hands-on learning for natural building methods relevant for BCs climate. He has taught a series of Builder Training Workshops through EcoNest, and also a faster method of cob building called “Light Clay”.

King-Scobie's new home is in a Eco Village cohousing project on the property directly behind the big barn at 42300 Yarrow Central Rd. He's a resident there and shareholder at the Village and is part owner of Yarrow Deli Cooperative.

The home he is building is not your average run-of-the-mill alternative home. It's Mother Earth News revisited and there's a new twist. It's not geodesic – it's parabolic.

The home was created by award-winning California architect Charles Durrett, who is credited with bringing the cohousing concept to the U.S.

"It's designed off of a parabola and the engineer was originally transplanted from

the Middle East         Shayne King-Scobie stands in front of Yarrow Deli

and had a lot of         which he co-owns with Eco Village cooperative.


knowledge of dome structures, working on mosques and things, so, when he came to BC he saw that there was an opportunity to utilize waste wood to make the dome structures from mill sites."

The outside of the building consists of small squares of OSD pressed waste wood that all kit together like a puzzle. Inside is simple enough with short little two-by-four sections that are cut from the mill ends

"It's a real good use of waste wood. The design overall has been tested at UVic for seismic so that's where he was going with it, he was looking at something that would be earthquake-proof, aesthetic and use waste wood.

There is a similar project like the one in Yarrow in New Denver, BC called Dome Quixote.

When King-Scobie moved to Yarrow 4-years ago, the Eco Village ding resource research person. So I started researching different types of building methods and one of the methods that popped up was kit houses made from waste wood which was the domes you see and another one was cordwood/masonry, which we ended up building under one of the timber-framed structures there.

"For the dome, the project kind of fizzled out because we had a group meeting and said 'Okay, here are the three different methods I have that we can use to build in this climate and they all picked cord wood," said King-Scobie.

"So the domes kind of dropped out of the running for awhile but then by accident they were going to ship a project to Mongolia, the same company, and after they built them they had some type of shipping problem which prevented them from actually sealing the deal. So these domes sat inside their warehouse and needed to be sold," continued King-Scobie.

The company approached Eco Village again and this time they cut a deal. Afterward, the kits sat in the barn for a year-and-a-half allowing them to get their infrastructure in place.

"Now it's ready and we're finally able to build this thing."

According to King-Scobie, the dome itself isn't expensive to buy but it's more than conventional framing because of the engineering that goes into it.

"Just the wood itself, just the material, would be about 20% cheaper than standard construction but the engineering kind of brings it on par," he said. "So you get a really cool building shape and you get to live in the round."

King-Scobie said everyone seems to feel good inside a curved space and he thinks its in our genes to feel better

"I think the round shape is actually bred in the bone just because for a couple of thousand years we've been building boxes and our species is more used to living in round hovels in the ground for a million years as opposed to being in a squares which has only been created since the Industrial Revolution," he said.

The inside of his parabolic home has to be designed much the same way the Village came up with the kits to begin with – by exploring all the options.

For instance, he is pondering the 5 different designs of staircases.

King-Scobie says that the home is going to be covered in the same recycled rubber tires that cover the Eco Village main barn. The shingles are made from recycled tires.

"So we diverted about 600 tires out of the landfill to do that route and the same company is going to provide us with our roof on the domes which are a flexible rubber shape," he explained.

The thick heat-absorbing tiles are made by Shercom Industries in Saskatewan. But King-Scobie says the the main reason they are using them is for environmental reasons.

"We've all seen tires out in the landfill and nothing happens to them and they just sit there for eons, so instead of them having to try to come up with creative solutions to discard them."

Underneath the rubber tiles the home will be covered in cedar shakes.

His plans do include an evacuated tube solar hot water tank but the high costs are inhibitive.

"I can't afford that in this budget, so my shoe-string budget allows me to put in the basics and then designate a spot for the evacuated tube system which is the same one they used out at Seabird Island," said King-Scobie.

It all fits together in a cohousing design that will eventually see about thirty-homes in the cooperative.

"The cohousing design is not new," he explained. "It from the 70s and they championed that design in Denmark and then one of the people that brought it over was Chuck Durrett in the US and he just happens to be our architect and designer for this project."

The Eco Village will have 30-40,000 sq. ft. commercial area in front of the residential space and the barn will be in the centre of a courtyard of commercial buildings which will house things like a farmer's market and there'll be organic certified market gardens on the twenty-six-acres of agricultural land.

"We've got all the pieces and components here, we really are just trying to add people into the mix.

The homes will be on an aerated sewage system in a back field and King-Scobie said a great deal of thought was put into that aspect of the community as well.

"The system that we're going to put in is about the best environmental solution that we can use under current bylaws," he said.

They looked at composting toilets but it's very difficult to run one for a family according to King-Scobie.

The dome is 960 sq. ft. and he'll be living in it with his wife and three kids.

"A lot of people balk at it but we've been reading this book by Chris Alexander called "Pattern Language" and he shows a lot of different designs from old Europe and how they used to create these great little bunk spaces," he said. "There'll be a curved heating nook and we'll be utilizing as much used materials as possible, mostly because of our budget but we also know that manufactured products create a lot of waste."

There'll be a crawl space with a hatch that opens up a crawl space that will be converted for canning and preserving. There'll be an old fashioned bath tub.

"We're going to utilize all the little nooks and crannies for storage which includes a big pantry and the kitchen is probably the most well-thought-out spot so that we can still cook comfortably."

To get your own bare bones parabolic dome home and after co-op land cost about $210,000 finished and ready to move in to your own home sweet happiness.

"The reason we're here is because we have a community of neighbors and we're working so that we can actually know our neighbours," he said. "I'm tired of living places where you don't know your neighbours, this is a better solution."

King-Scobie says the reason the costs have been kept down is due to his wife's budgetary skills and that they call her "The Frugal Zealot."

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Community News                                          Sunday June 13th 2010

Helping people cope


The Invisible Disability

Chilliwack Brain Injury Drop-In Centre a community blessing

Craig Hill/Voice 

                                                                Director Ester Tremblay

                                                                                                            Craig Hill/Voice photos

FVBIA Executive Director, Carol Paetkau at Drop-In Centre.


ave you ever met a paranoid schizophrenic? Chances are you have and didn't know it. It's something that isn't always discernable in people. It's a hidden illness that manifests itself in ways the average, untrained person wouldn't understand.


Last Tuesday, about 30-40 normal-looking people helped celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Chilliwack Brain Injury Drop-In Centre. The party was a western-themed event and clients wore cowboy hats and bandanas. They put on a great spread with entertainment by country singer Adrianna Brooks.


Steven Sykorsky is a strong-looking guy of about 25, with arms the size of most people's legs, sat on the sofa, hooting and hollering and generally having a good time. He's a relative newcomer to the Centre and said he's brain injured but added that he hasn't been fully diagnosed yet. Currently he works as a sign waver for Little Cesars.


"I'm a paranoid schizophrenic with the Transition Learning Program." said Sykorsky while doing a strongman pose for the camera.


For the average person, it can be intimidating to be you're face-to-face with a hooting, paranoid schizophrenic the size of a small Mac truck with         Steven Sykorsky hams it up for the camera.

arms the size of most

people's legs. You don't really know what to expect.


The mostly female staff have no problem dealing with the mood disorders they encounter on daily at the Centre. They are trained and specialize in working with people who have a variety of brain disorders helping them to maintain.


Founding Director, Ester Tremblay, opened the Drop-In ten-years ago, couldn't see herself doing anything else.


"I love my job, I wouldn't trade it," she said. "It's so rewarding when you see people succeed and achieve what they want    

 Centre members enjoy their special day.             and follow their dream."


The Centre has about 76 clients and four case managers that they assist clients who come in for lunch twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The lunches are an opportunity for members to connect with other members and network with other organizations as well.


"They come to break the isolation bascially," said Tremblay. "It's to gather together, be social, interact and to know that you're not alone here."

City Councillor Stewart McLean and BIA Director, Kathy Funk were also at the celebration.


Coun. Mclean said he has done volunteer work because he has very particular credentials. "I'm certified with the Canadian Association of Rehabilitation Professionals and have negotiated contracts with Fraser Health and other government organizations," said McLean. "I've also          Coun. Stewart McLean at the Centre Tuesday.

done one-on-one

worth with individuals in the community.


He began working in the social work aspect in Chilliwack since 1974, moved away from the city for job changes and then moved back in the late 1990s


A lot of these individuals at the Centre are McLean's personal friends and he tries to find time in his busy schedule to stop by and have coffee with them.


"It's an organization that I have a lot of empathy for and I believe that the individuals here have many struggles in their lives and I'd just like to see them enjoying their lives to the fullest, and any little thing I can do to help along the way, I'm glad to do it," said Mclean.

BIA director Kathy Funk were among those enjoying

lunch at the Centre on Tuesday.


The Drop-In Centre partners with the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association (FVBIA) who operate under the Communitas Supportive Care Society umbrella organization, have an array of services.


The FVBIA is a charitable organization who have been offering support to people with acquired brain injuries and their families since 1997.


"We offer case management, which is basically one-on-one support, dealing with major crisis issues, finding resources in the community and avoid getting into issues with the justice system," said FVBIA Executive Director, Carol Paetkau. "We also offer a variety of art and photography programs throughout the Fraser Valley."


"Communitas was so gracious when we first started 12-years ago, we had no infrastructure, we had no staffing, and they told us that if we were able to get funding together, that they would provide a drop-in centre for us, so they've been wonderful, it's been a great partnership," said Paetkau.


Communitas is and umbrella organization who partners with other agencies in the community to deliver services in the areas of developmental disabilities, mental health, group homes, acquired brain injury and fetal alcohol disorder.


Together the groups advocate for those people with brain disrorders and offer training, rehabilitation, housing, recreational and social activities for clients.


In 2009, the FVBIA lost it's art program and according to Paetkau, Fraser Health was very supportive and came through with some of the funding so the program could be restarted.


The Centre offers different programs like "In The Now" and a pre-employment "Community Mentors" service. Some clients who frequent the Centre are non-verbal and require extra care, but many are out in the community working through the Mentors program.


"It's a starting point for some of them, because they don't believe in themselves anymore, their self esteem has been crushed," said Tremblay. "It's a place where they can resource and discover who they are now, get their strength and try new stuff."


Coming soon on the agenda for the Centre is Zoo Access Day where clients are taken to the zoological centre.


On August 27th, Communitas is having its first Walk & Roll fundraiser in Abbotsford, 2:00 pm at Mill Lake Park. It's open to all family members. Participants will be able to choose between doing the 5K (2.5 laps around the lake) or 10K (5 laps). There will be prizes, although this is not a race. The emphasis will be on supporting each other with healthy choices, like exercising and fostering great relationships. There will be a BBQ with live music afterward.


To see the gallery of photos from the celebration go here.


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Tuesday June 15, 2010

Local News

CRV Grad Party Aftermath

Citizens tired of cleaning up after weekend warriors

Craig Hill/Voice  


n the May long weekend, Chilliwack River Valley was visited by a large group of grad students who spent the                                                                 Voice file photo

weekend  renegade camping  and partying past the Tamahi Rapids on Bench Road. When it was over, they left behind 160kg. of trash which included chairs, bottles and human waste.

The problem is renegade camping. Currently, a bylaw called "Section 58" states camping or parking along the river from Vedder bridge to Tamahi Rapids between the hours of 11pm-4am is forbidden. But enforcement of the bylaw ends at Tamahi and beyond that point to Chilliwack Lake it's been a free-for-all as people setup tents outside of designated campgrounds to save having to pay camping rates in provincial parks and private campgrounds. 

On any given weekend, in the good weather, there are hundreds who bivouac along the river and up into the bush using Forestry Service roads. These renegade campers leave behind tons of trash and river cleanups have to be organized at various times throughout the year or the garbage accumulates.

After the weekend, on the following Tuesday morning, FVRD Electoral Area E Director, David Lamson and others were on their way up Chilliwack Lake Road to have a look at the proposed gravel pit mine site, when they came across the students. Lamson stopped and reconnoitered to find that the area was strewn with party trash.

According to reports, a park ranger who was also in attendance Tuesday morning asked the students to clean it up and said to just leave it piled up and that it would be taken care of.

Some of the students complied and picked up most of the trash, however when Lamson returned, he found that the students had just piled it up out of sight in the bushes and it still needed to be carted out.

President of Fraser Valley Salmon Society, Chris Gadsden, Lamson as well as Lew Chater from The Great Blue Heron Society and other concerned citizens, formed a cleanup group and later paid to dump 160kg at the city landfill.

"The incident on Bench Rd. a few days ago is a perfect example of not having any charges laid against those that left the mess," said Gadsden. "The Province presently have a littering fine of up to $2,000 that can be leveled, so why did the RCMP not press charges against the people they caught red handed littering the bush and roadway at their grad party?"

Gadsden continued by saying that "I know the culprits cleaned it up somewhat but a few of us had to go up and spend a couple of hours picking up the bags and more loose garbage and then loading it in a trailer."

It's an ongoing issue and according to Chilliwack River Valley Citizens on Patrol, Eileen Brader, they have tried to get help to patrol the area but the police are strapped for manpower.

"The Citizens on Patrol first had to find someone who was willing to respond, not the RCMP, understandably they had more important issues than illegal campers, not the Conservation folks, they were not about during the night hours and party goers were generally not their problem, said Brader in an e-mail.

And the problem is getting worse according to Bader.

"The top end of the Valley has received more garbage, more excrement, more devastation to forest, pathways, plants and wildlife since the inception of section 58 than previously. It happens during the week as well as weekends," said Brader. "It took three years of phoning and generally being a nuisance before we managed to get the RCMP on our side, when they could spare anyone, and only now are we seeing a true presence but only on weekends or long weekends."

Brader says the solution is to hire more full-time rangers doing a variety of tasks including education, or some other means to control the 3% of campers/partiers who simply dont care

"If section 58 is pushed up the Valley it will not stop this, it will simply spread it out further and further, more difficult to spot burnt out vehicles (three all ready that I am aware of this year), more difficult and dangerous to talk to everyone about cleaning up after themselves and more difficult to find left unattended fires" added Brader.

CRV residents, Doug & Sue Petersen, wrote FVRD Parks Manager, Doug Wilson, asking to extend the Section 58 bylaw all the way up to Chilliwack Lake in an effort to keep vehicles and camping out of the riparian zones. "Anything to preserve the beauty, the habitat and to promote the recreational values of this wonderful corridor" they said told Wilson via e-mail.

"With the success of Sec. 58 between the Vedder and Tamihi Bridges, there has been community interest and support from the FVRD Board to pursue interest on considering the same level of protection along the entire Chilliwack River Valley," wrote Wilson.

Wilson said he was interested in meeting with local community groups to discuss extending the bylaw and it is not know if, or when, that meeting would take place.

Another idea being bandied about, is to start a campaign to have the area become a Provincial or National Park, which could also nip the gravel pit proposal in the bud, but could be very difficult to do.

Cpl. Lee-Anne Dunlop told the Voice in an e-mail that they do extra patrols on weekends and said that although RCMP members attended the grad party at Cedars, there was nothing to note which took place other than just kids partying.

"Our hope is that anyone visiting the area respects the environment and conducts themselves in a safe and responsible way," said Dunlop.

According to reports, some of the students were from Riverside Senior Sec. in Port Coquitlam, but that has not been confirmed.

The Voice sent e-mails to the two senior secondary schools in SD#43 district and to the city's mayor, Greg Moore, to ask if they had a policy regarding informing their graduation classes about the environmental impact that grad parties can have. In addition to that, the Voice asked if the schools would form student groups to do regular cleanups throughout the year in the CRV with a view that tidying up the area would drive home the environmental awareness factor in the youngsters.

To date Moore has not responded, nor has either school has owned-up to the CRV trashing or responded to the Voice's questions.


See the photos here 


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