Community News                                         Monday May 31st 2010

Leaders of tomorrow


"To Learn, To Serve, To Advance"

147 Airwolf Air Cadets review


The RCAC 68th Annual Ceremonial Review of 147 Air Squadron took place Saturday at the Landing Sports Centre. The cadet parade was reviewed by LCol. D.W. Doern, CD (ret'd). The RCAC have been a part of the Air Cadet League of Canada since 1942 and currently have approximately 25,000 recruits.

Cadets meet every Tuesday from 6:15 pm to 9:00 pm at the Drill Hall at 45707 Princess Avenue (Armouries). Air Cadets is open to boys and girls ages 12-18 and new recruits are welcome to drop in and sign up every Tuesday during Cadet Parade Nights.                  

For more information call: 604-792-0315 or e-mail here. You can also visit their local website here or the provincial website here.


To view the photo gallery go here


                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Community News                                         Sunday May 30th 2010

Mind, body & spirit


A Healthy Turnout

YMCA "Healthy Kids Day" a big hit with young and old

Craig Hill/Voice 



                                                                                                          Craig Hill/Voice photos

A young girl is shown how to shish kebab veggies Saturday during "Healthy Kids Day" at the YMCA on Hodgins Ave.


It's hard getting kids away from their playstations these days, and in an attempt to do that – and like the Cheam Leisure Centre did two weeks ago – the YMCA threw open their doors Saturday for an open house too.


The theme was "Healthy Kids Day" and it took place in the parking lot as well as inside the Hodgins Ave. facility and featured kiosks with bicycle safety techniques, Search & Rescue tips, a Tai Kwan Do brick-smashing demonstration and even a magic show.


Every few months the "Y" lets the public try out their fitness equipment, pool, gym and racket ball courts gratis. If someone wanted to find out what an elliptical trainer is or check out the pool, then that was the day to do it.



Among the kiosks set up in the lot was the Bike-to-Work campaign and City of Chilliwack Environmental Services employee, Malcolm MacLean, was on hand to talk about the program. One of the incentives to get people onto two wheels is the bike draw. "The city is giving away a Norco Vermont hybrid," said MacLean. "Each day a person rides to work they are eligible for an entry to win it."


Manager Shari West, was elated with the numbers of people that showed up despite a steady downpour. "It's been great and we're happy with the turnout considering the bad weather," she said. "We're really pleased with the demonstrations that have gone on, and we have the opportunity to talk with parents about what it means to have healthy children and the parts that the "Y" can play in that."


Hamburgers were cooked up by the staff on the BBQ and dished out free to those who didn't mind waiting in an abbreviated lineup. Even though burgers aren't exactly the healthiest of foods, it was a cost-effective way for the fitness


organization to show it's appreciation for the support of the community and also a way to teach kids how to eat well and not overdo it.


"We've got fruits and vegetables as well and really it's about teaching kids that they don't need to give up anything in particular, but just that they need to do everything in moderation and its about balance," said General Manager Sheri Josephson.


"It's about being physically active and the reality is that they go to birthday parties and they go to friends houses and they eat things that are maybe not so healthy for them, but as long as they balance it off with some other choice during the day which is a healthy choice."


Cultus Lake resident and avid cyclist, Gary Baker, was at the event on a voluntary basis and passing on his knowledge of bicycle safety. "We're teaching kids a little bit about the safety gear, safe practices and tips on commuting," he said. "It's (cycling) something that more people should consider as a option and Chilliwack is great, for the most part it's so flat."


Baker has been riding many years and currently he belongs to a club called "Randoneering" – a French word which means "to wander about," he said. "It's a worldwide organization and very much like car rallying, only on a bicycle."      


"We do 200km, 300km, 400km, 500km and ultra-marathon rides of 1000km and 1200km non-stop," he said.


Baker is planning on traveling to Europe in the near future to join the "Paris Breast Paris" ride which sees about 5000 cyclists taking part. But first you have to prove your skills are adequate for the ride.


"I hope to qualify and go," said Baker. "You have to qualify by doing all the distance rides and this year you have to do the1000km ride which I will do in a series of rides in about 3 weeks from Vancouver to Hope, Coquilhalla, Merit, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Armstrong and back."


Another group onsite was Chilliwack Search & Rescue. Volunteer member Dave Casey told the kids about the Hug-A-Tree program and handed out whistles and bright yellow rain covers.


The Hug-A-Tree Program is designed for smaller kids and was started in the 80s stateside. The main idea is to teach the kids to stay in one spot if they are lost. Find a tree, make lots of noise, make themselves larger so a searcher can find them.


"You hug a tree and you stay there until someone finds you, even if you have to stay there all night long, it's so much easier for people to find you if you stay in one spot," he told the kids. "You can keep blowing the whistle and that will scare away the animals, they don't like loud whistles at all."


Casey has been with SAR for about six-years and says all too often they have to go out on rescue missions.


"We've had a pretty busy year this year already and a very big call volume so we have lots of resources on our team," said Casey. "We have a jet boat, a zodiac, rafts, kayaks, we have ATVs plus two rescue vehicles capable of going off road and there is our command vehicle that we use on searches. We also use helicopters when necessary so we can go down on a 150-foot line or 200-foot line and rescue people."


Casey's message is simple. "If you're going out, just let people know where you are so if you do have trouble, if you get hurt, broken down or whatever, we know where to start looking for you," he said. "It's a big open wilderness out there so if you are out in Chilliwack hiking, we just have no way of knowing where to start looking.


Casey recommends people use a trip planner that shows how many people are in your group, where you're going, what you're driving with, what kind of supplies you have, and then leave that behind with somebody so that in case you're not back when you're supposed to be, the RCMP can be contacted and then they in turn will alert SAR.


The YMCA has all kinds of programs for everyone in the community. Kids with special needs are welcome and encouraged to participate in programs that they a capable of handling.


For more information on YMCA programs visit their website:  To find out more about the Bike-to-Work program visit the city's website: 


The food was generously donated by Hofstede's at 45796 Luckakuck Way 604-824-1192  and Mcgavin's Breadbasket at 100-45428 Luckakuck Way 604-824-2077


To view the photo gallery go here


                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Voice Views                                                Saturday May 29th 2010

Cash for trash


Bin There Done That

Dumpster Diver of the Week #7




                                                                                                                Staff photo/Voice

This binner is proudly Canadian as is evident from the maple leaf flags.


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

For recycling information visit


                                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Local News                                                      Saturday May 29th 2010

Meeting the community's needs


Vision Becomes Reality For Local Charity Group

CSCL helps developmentally challenged people in the community


The Chilliwack Society for Community Living had their annual general board meeting Tuesday at City Hall. The meeting was chaired by Helen Tolmie, who mentioned that her board member husband, Brent Tolmie, was away due to illness.

Executive Director, Brenda Gillette, was awarded a plaque in recognition of her 35-years of service.

"Some days it seems like a really long time and other days it feels like a really short time," Gillette told the packed chamber. "When I started here I was 25 and now I've turned 60."

"Here I am 35-years later, what I have seen and haven't seen is nothing short of amazing, it really is quite surprising and one of the trends that I think we see is difficult at this point, is if you look around the room tonight we have a tremendous number of self-advocates and staff here but not very many family," said Gillette.

"I think that some of the changes we see are quite significant in terms of community acceptance and change that we're working on and this has been a community that has been truly welcoming for the most part around those issues," said Gillitte. "People will always look and people will always ask questions if there is a difference in somebody, whether that's appearance, or the way they walk, the way they talk. I mean how often do we stop and listen to folks who have an accident simply because it sounds so nice to us we like it. The reality is that most of the time when people look it's only because something is a little different and it's not because they don't accept and I think we need to remember that."

"We've strengthened a lot of ties in the community, we've developed a lot of supports and services and a lot of them now are more individualized than ever rather than group things in the past and I'm happy to have been a part of that and I'm happy continuing to be a part of that," she said.

The CSCL has been providing services to children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities and their families since 1954. Over the years the Society's programs and services have expanded and now include a wide variety of supports to individuals of all ages who have developmental issues.

For more information visit the CSCL website:



                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



Taking A Walk On The

Wild Side

Heron Reserve a natural classroom


Even the parents got in on the learning at the Heron Reserve last week. The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve is a 130-hectare site (325 acre) located on the un-dyked floodplain of the Vedder River and the site is known for the breeding colony of Great Blue Herons as well as a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation.


The reserve features over 100 Great Blue Heron nests, salmon spawning channels, 9 km of walking trails, an observation tower and bird blinds where you can watch these majestic creatures up close and personal. Inside the beautiful Interpretation Centre    Kids and parents check out snake skin Tuesday.

is a live nest cam,

wildlife information displays and a collection of preserved animals including beavers, hawks and others.

The site is wheelchair friendly and folks can take a guided or self-guided walking tour of the site and you can pick up a little souvenir of your day there in the gift shop.


For more information visit 


                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


May 28th 2010

Community News & Views
The Joe Report

Community News                                            Sunday May 23rd 2010

Fun, fitness & some bumps


Lawn Bowlers Off To A Rolling Start

Coun. Chuck Stam throws first ball 

Craig Hill/Voice                                                   


The Chilliwack Lawn Bowling Club's season once again got off to a rolling start Monday right after Chilliwack City Councillor, Chuck Stam, threw the coveted golden ceremonial ball onto the glistening green at the corner of Princess and Edwards.


Lawn bowling is a great way to stay fit and remain active in a social setting where friends bump into other friends. It's a sport that's been played by kings and queens since the 13th century AD. The game is less about rolling the ball straight and more like chess which use the tactical fundamentals of defence, attack and recovery strategies and above all there is etiquette which means no bellowing like a bull at a gate.


There was no pressure on the Coun. Stam to try and throw a slightly oblong ball on a straight line across 100-feet of turf. He was just out getting some vitamin D and some well-deserved R&R with his wife and son and nephew and was honoured to have the opportunity to throw the first ball of the season, as he'd mentioned during city council meeting last week.


Club members later formed a large circle and tried throw a "holding shot" by getting their ball closest to the white "jack" ball in the centre and the ball bowlers try to get closest to during ends.


Club President, Bill Fergusson, said it's    Opening day at the Chilliwack Lawn Bowling Club.

going okay with

membership but could be better. "It's not bad, it comes down then it comes up," he said. "We got 7 new members this year and we haven't had our Open House yet."


The CBC has about 30 members in total and Fergusson says they would like to see more using the facilities. "It would be nice to have it at about 50 current members or so," said Fergusson.


The Club's Open House is slated for Saturday. For more information on that event or membership enquiries, call Bill or Betty Fergusson at 604-824-1199


So unless we get out there and do some lawn bowling ourselves, then we don't know jack!


                          To view the photo gallery go here.


                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



Your Voice                                                         Friday May 26th 2010

Letter to the Editor



Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

Eco-Logic's Donald Costin says industry not sustainable under new plan

Craig Hill/Voice

                                                                                                                                           Donald Costin Voice file photo.

Former Chilliwack School Board Trustee,

Donald Costin, is an advocate for the environment and in the letter below he analyzes the state of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.


Costin recently co-founded Eco-Logic, a non-profit society that promotes a balance between conservation of natural resources and their use to create employment and commercial opportunities. Eco-Logic has a mandate which includes working to protect the air shed, preserving the ALR and protecting water quality in the Fraser Valley. The group also advocates urban agriculture and organic gardening and less pesticide use.


The following is a recent letter from Costin who takes issue with the Boreal Forest Agreement.


My quick and dirty analysis of the Agreement

I can’t understand why David Suzuki Foundation and others signed the Forest Agreement. We need to approach David Suzuki et. al. and let them know that we disagree with the intent of the Forest Agreement. No need to go public as that is what the forest companies want – divide and conquer.

The Forest Agreement stinks; it’s 99% in favor of the Forestry Industry. A fact sheet can be viewed here.


Forestry Companies Participating in the Agreement

AbitibiBowater Inc., Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., AV Group, Canfor Corporation, Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Cascades inc., Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd., F.F. Soucy Inc., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited Partnership, Kruger Inc., Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd., Mercer International, Mill & Timber Products Ltd., NewPage Corporation, Papier Masson Ltée, SFK Pâte, Tembec, Tolko Industries Ltd., West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., and Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada.


Environmental Organizations Participating in the Agreement

Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canopy (formerly Markets Initiative), David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, Greenpeace, Ivey Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and Pew Environment Group’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign.


Here are some quotes from the Agreement and why I am suspect of the monumental agreement announced today by the Forestry Companies and Environmentalists.


Contract Law

Once you sign a contract there’s no retracting your agreement. So to say that this Agreement is a starting point for negotiations is a farce, plain and simple. Consider an “Offer to Purchase”, once you sign it (as the purchaser) you’re on the hook for the total capital amount. Default results in forfeiture of Deposit and possible Lawsuit. Have you ever tried to negotiate with the Vendor once you sign the Offer to Purchase contract and guarantee the Deposit? So there’s no negotiating; the original wording of the Agreement stands. There’s no negotiating once the ink has dried.


“A full life cycle approach to forest carbon management”

Definition is lacking. How does cutting down the forest result in carbon management? Trees are the “carbon sink”; removing the trees removes the carbon sink. Is that what is meant by the term “carbon management”? They all need to read Biology 101!


Read the full letter with links to CFA documents here


                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



Local News                                                      Tuesday May 25th 2010

New Mother Nature Taking Over


River of No Return

Proposed gravel mine sits right on top of Upper Chilliwack River aquifer

Craig Hill/Voice 



                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

CRV resident and Stop the Gravel Pit organizer, Susan Federspiel, at Tamahi on the Chilliwack River Sunday.


Over the past 2-3 weeks the Voice has shown both sides of the gravel pit issue in the Chilliwack River Valley. We've talked about land owner Wilf Krickhan (see "The Big Dig") and how he will be affected by the mine directly across the road. We've talked with FVRD Electoral Area E Director, David Lamson (see "How Green is Your Valley?") and heard his thoughts on why the mine is not a good fit for the Valley.


We've also talked with Brent Tolmie, CEO of Southview Sort Ltd. (see "How Green is Your Gravel?") and how he feels the community will benefit from his proposal by creating badly needed jobs and pumping up a sagging aggregate industry. Today we're going to take a look at how some of the residents, business owners and recreational users feel about the issue. But first a bit of background.


Tamahi Trip-up

On Sunday, about 20 residents and supporters of the Stop The Gravel Pit (STGP) and Friends of Chilliwack River Valley invited the public to Tamahi on Chilliwack Lake Road for a "Speaker's Corner" where the group videotaped citizens speaking out against the proposed aggregate removal project in the Valley that will span 50-football fields and go down as far as 120-feet over the next 40-years.


Petitioners may have thought the parking lot was a good location from their POV but it wasn't a good choice from the adjacent campground management's perspective. The problem was that the group inadvertently put up their display on private property, which for all intents and purposes appeared to be just a public parking lot on Chilliwack Lake Road. But it didn't take long for campsite staff break up the party and petitioners were forced to move.


The STGP is determined to gather more signatures for a petition, which they say already has over 1300 names on it of people opposed. The list doesn't include many of the other 1.5 million tourists that spend summers recreating there.


Pit Problems

Will a proposed mine create a gravel graveyard in the CRV? The STGP think so and they have a litany of concerns with the plan, but the two main problems are water quality and environmental impact. The project application is in the final stage and its now up to Minster of State For Mining, Randy Hawes, and Minister of Environment, Barry Penner to decide what's best for the Chilliwack River Valley.


Those against the project say it will have a tremendous impact on the Valley's ecosytem and that  it will choke the river, pollute the city's drinking water and push endangered species to the brink of extinction.


What Hydrological Study?

One concern with the pit plan, is that it sits right on top of what's designated as the Chilliwack River Aquifer, which is "confined", meaning that it gets recharged by the river and then feeds the Vedder Aquifer which is the main source of drinking water for the city. The aquifer is about 150 meters deep, consisting mainly of sand and gravel which extends for kilometers. Exactly how many kilometers is not known because it's full potential as an aquifer has never been studied.


Tolmie says he's had at least one hydrological study done that indicates there is no water there and has had many experts review the plan. Additionally, it has been reported that the company has said if they run into water, they'll stop digging.


Stop the Gravel Pit organizer, Susan Federspiel, has lived in the CRV since 2000 and been using the river for kayaking since 1995. She told the Voice that if there was a study done they aren't privy to it.


"To our knowledge, no hydrological assessment has been done to see what this prospective mine may do to this significant aquifer that flows into the hatchery and the Chilliwack river," she said.


Federspiel said that there is water there. Lots of it. According     Aquifer pressure relief pipe gushes water. (Submitted)

to her, a pipe used to

alleviate internal aquifer pressure is gushing water near the project.


"A flowing artesian well approximately 500m southeast of proposed mine site, is indicative that this site has substantial subsurface hydrology and the presence of a confined aquifer underground," she said.


"This aquifer is reported to being fed through the Chilliwack river underground," said Federspiel. "Also, there are two disappearing streams, one flows directly onto the property, the other disappears within 25 metres of the site. None of this sub-hydrology information appears in the Madrone Report submitted by the applicant."


The groundwater report for the area can be seen at the Ministry of Land, Air and Water website on pages 91 and 96 here.


The Demise of the Coquitlam River

Once digging commences, there will be water. The worry is that a lot of the silt is going to seep into the aquifer by osmosis and that smaller rock will work it's way into the Chilliwack River with dire consequences. If the aquifier becomes plugged with silt, the water has to go somewhere. The group says you need only look at what happened with the Jack Cewe gravel pit above the Coquitlam River. That operation literally choked the river to death with silt and tailings, turning a once-vibrant and flowing river into a mere trickle over the course of 20-years. The Tolmie proposal wants up to 40-years of extraction.


The Chilliwack Lake Road

The road that Cewe used to transport gravel on was used by very few people. Chilliwack Lake Rd. is used by over a million people. The road has no shoulders and with an increase in heavy truck traffic, it will put kids sitting at bus stops at risk from flying rocks. Cyclists with no shoulder at all to ride on in places, also risk being hurt or killed. A new intersection may have to be created at Vedder Crossing and hundreds of thousands of dollars will have to be spent upgrading the road and bridges.


What About An Environmental Assessment?

To date, there has been no ecological study done on the area which would back up the STGP's claim that the map of the mine is habitat to a variety of flora and fauna, some of which is endangered, like the Giant Salamander and the Tall Bugbane (plant).


According to a fact sheet from STGP, $80,000 has been spent on Coho salmon habitat restoration work in the area and that will have to be written off as a straight loss. The Chilliwack River salmon hatchery which uses three artesian wells sits where the Slesse meets the Chilliwack River.


Tolmie told the Voice that an environmental assessment is very expensive and doesn't need to be done because it isn't a sensitive area. He also wants to know about the process involving the FVRD's Aggregate Pilot Project that declares the area a Red Zone which is a no-go for aggregates.


The STGP on the other hand say they want one done before a decision is made on the gravel project. Adding to their arsenal is eco-Logic, another group opposed to the mine, who are reported to be in the process of filling for a Reconsideration Process with the ALC.


Electoral Area E Director, David Lamson has said that all but one District in the FVRD support the APP.


By law, the Ministry of Mines doesn't require an environmental assessment if aggregate extraction is less than 750,000 tonnes a year and companies skirt that by starting the initial dig small and expanding on that original permit every 5-years.


Tourism and Local Business

Over a million tourists a year will compete head-on with at least one-hundred dump truck trips a day on that section of the Chilliwack Lake Road. Will tourists want to bob and weave around a wall of noisy trucks when they're supposed to be in with     Hyack River Adventures pack up Monday at river.

mother nature?

How pristine is that? Most would put up with the trucks if it was a short-term construction project. Look what fun Cultus lake has had with dump trucks on their road.


There will be a negative impact on tourism, just how negative remains to be seen. Will existing business survive when the tourists stop coming to the CRV and travel just a little further down Hwy. 1 to get some peace and quiet? Four decades is a long time. One resident noted that her young son "would be almost 50" when the trucks finally stop coming and the project ends.


Purple Hayes School of Kayaking owner Kay-Uwe is personally opposed to it but isn't sure how having a gravel pit there would affect his business.


"I am opposed to it because of the increase in traffic up and down the valley," Kay-Uwe said in an e-mail to the Voice. "This will have an impact on the wildlife, I still get to see a deer or two every now and then and am pretty sure this will cause all wildlife to go further away from civilization. I don't think it is in a good spot either. As far as how it will affect my business I don't know if it will. My classes are typically lower down the river than that."


The proposed mine site also takes a one-hundred meter bite out of the TransCanada Trail. More happy campers. There's also forest research going on in the area to do with insect pest management and that too may be affected by the project.


Further Appeals

Federspiel said they may have to take the fight to Ottawa. "We've sent out the petitions to Blair Lextrom and Barry Penner and I think that if we don't get action from them, there are federal agencies whose mandate is to protect ground water."


The group wants a moratorium. "I'm hoping that we'll get a meaningful public consultation like Randy Hawes mentioned on CBC so we're waiting for a reply and the other thing is we asked for a moratorium on this until the APP has been ratified," said Federspiel.


Stay tuned. The battle to stop the Chilliwack River Valley from becoming a gravel graveyard continues.


To sign the petition online and for more information visit: and Friends of Chilliwack River Valley on Facebook here.


                         To view the photo gallery go here.

                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Arts News                                                      Saturday May 29th 2010



Diminutive Display

Is Big On Talent

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together" – Vincent Van Gough



A beautiful water colour titled "Winter Glow" by J. Elaine Unrah is one of a couple of dozen on display at the Chilliwack Visual Artists Gallery located in the basement, around back, at 45899 Henderson Avenue. The show will continue until June 29 11:30 - 2:30 Tues - Saturday. For more information visit their website:

                                                                                                  © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Voice Eclusive                                                 Sunday May 23rd 2010

If life is a bowl of cherries ...


How Green Is Your Gravel?

A conversation with Brent Tolmie – the man behind the gravel pit


Southview Sort Ltd. President, Brent Tolmie, wants to create jobs in the Chilliwack River           Voice file photo near proposed mine.

Valley that will last for up to        

40-years and revitalize a struggling aggregate industry in Chilliwack.

To do this, Tolmie needs to dig a hole fifty-football fields long and 120-feet deep on Chilliwack Lake Rd. and this has CRV residents and activists across the mainland up in arms over his application which is at the third and final stage and sitting on Minister of State Mining, Randy Hawes' desk.

Tolmie told the Voice last week in an e-mail that despite growing public opposition to the project, there are positive spinoffs for the community.

"Sustainable employment, reduction of carbon footprint due to being closer to market than other gravel operations, local and provincial tax revenue, crown royalties for every tonne sold," said Tolmie.

The Voice reported in a previous story that he could move ahead with a temporary permit while the application is being reviewed, however Tolmie said he's never heard of that before.

"The application was first submitted back in Feb of 2008," said Tolmie. "I have never applied for a temporary permit nor am I aware of such a process."

According to a government website, "The FVRD Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) was initiated by the Minister of State for Mines in response to persistent and intense conflicts surrounding aggregate operations in the Fraser Valley Regional District. Its purpose is to develop recommendations, supported by local government and industry, for new approaches that reduce conflicts and secure a long-term stable aggregate supply."

Tolmie disagrees with the APP on the issue of red zoning the area as ecologically sensitive.

"The APP is not law," he said. "Nor has it had any level of public consultation so at this point it is just a paper with no legal standing. I know many residents of the Valley that would like to know how the CRV was painted as a Red Zone and what the process behind that was."

According to Tolmie, he was "unaware of the existence of the APP" until December last year when adjacent land owner Wilf Krickhan first expressed his concern about the application.

Some in the community have expressed surprise at the possibility of a gravel pit in the Valley, but Tolmie says he followed all the rules and there was notice given.

"The pit has been advertised twice in May of 2008 in the Times (newspaper) and again for the Mines Act Permit in Jan of this year," said Tolmie. "Also it was posted in the BC Gazette and signage was posted at the site though it only lasted 40 days and the application package was posted at the Chilliwack Public Library for people to look at for around 5-weeks."

When asked what his thoughts were on having an environmental assessment done prior to the operation's start, Tolmie said there has been no lack of studies already done and talked about the high cost of a study.

"The application has been referred to all relevant provincial and federal ministries no less than twice, including the DFO, MOE, MOTI, MOFR and the ALC. There have been hydrological studies conducted which concluded the lack of surface water on the site."

"Many Talented people have reviewed this and have not required it at this point, to have an environmental assessment is very expensive and are typically reserved for projects in more troubling areas that have significant issues." said Tolmie despite the fact that his company won't be paying for any environmental assessment.

Regarding Krickhan being forced to move if his gravel pit gets the go-ahead, Tolmie said the Voice got it all wrong and was sensationalistic throughout the story. (See "Between A Rock and A Hard Place" April archives)

"I understand the concept of opinion-based journalism but the majority of this story is not factual and tends on the melodramatic," he said. "Wilf gets his water from a well not the buried penstock etc. I could rebut the whole article but it would take too long."

Tolmie also disagrees with the Q&A story with FVRD Electoral Area E Director, David Lamson (see "How Green Is Your Valley?" last week).

"Mr Lamson has some of the facts but over-extends himself. I plan to call him in order to present the facts to him, not just the web-based arguments sponsored by a former and current political candidate."

                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Voice Exclusive                                               Sunday May 23rd 2010

Further on down the road


Chilliwack River Valley Friends Meet Foes

Stop the Gravel Pit group sent packing


As if the rain wasn't enough of a damper, Tamahi Campground management threw a soaking wet blanket too on a small group of about 20 gravel pit petitioners who were gathered in the parking lot at 54000 Chilliwack Lake Rd. Sunday afternoon to inform the public and add to the 1300 signatures against the proposed gravel pit that they already have.


The campground is operated by MGC Campsite Management Inc. and staff were sent out to persuade petitioners huddled under their canopy, strung with a banner sign www.stopthe ,  to move away from the campground.



Tempers flared briefly, and when push came to shove, the petitioners backed down after a threat of police involvement was made and packed up peacefully.


Thurston Meadows Campground Host, Gloria Smith, told the Voice on the

telephone that she wasn't sure of any policy regarding petitioners on the the campsite property but said she would meet with Tamahi managers Nat and Linda Turner regarding what took

Tamahi Campground managers Nat & Linda Turner

talk with and convince petitioners to move off.


place and perhaps look at avoiding another similar instance further on down the road. 


"I would have to bring it up with my manager to find out what the rules and regulations are around that," said Turner.


Police did eventually show up later but most of the petitioners had left by that time.                  


Watch the Voice for the full story coming soon on what is being done to save the Chilliwack River Valley from becoming a gravel graveyard.


                                                                                                  © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Local News                                                  Thursday May 20th 2010

Does Canada deserve it?


Canadian bid for Security Council seat under fire

COC letter to UN accuses MP Chuck Strahl and the Tories of failing to recognize Native rights

Craig Hill/Voice

Last week, the country's largest advocacy organization, the Council of Canadians (COC), arranged to have a letter delivered by hand to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon in an effort to block Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

The COC's letter said that Canada should not get a Council seat unless the government recognizes water as a human right, signs the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and agrees to cut greenhouse gases on pace with the rest of the globe.

Canada was one of four countries that voted against the Declaration and the COC says that there needs to be an unbiased ratification and implementation of it.

The Declaration is significant in that it provides a vital framework for Indigenous Rights around the world.

"This is yet another example of Canada acting against the current of international norms on human rights,” said Brent Patterson, COC Campaign Director, who was also responsible for the letter.

In an e-mail to the Voice, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Stahl said "The Government recognizes the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous people and has the potential to contribute positively to the advancement of indigenous rights and freedoms around the world. Further to that, the Government announced in this year's Speech from the Throne that we will take steps to endorse the UN Declaration in a timely manner that is consistent with Canada's Constitution and laws."

"I want to reinforce that this Government continues to take a leadership role in protecting the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and we will continue work to advance and uphold the rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples at home and abroad," said Strahl.

Sto:lo Tribal Council advisor Ernie Crey said the COC is correct and he accuses the government of using stall tactics.

"I agree," said Crey in an e-mail. "And what is more, I think Canada is holding out on the endorsation (sic) of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a bargaining chip to secure a seat on the Security Council. A reprehensible position to be sure."

The Security Council is made up of fifteen country representatives; five permanent vetoing members (US, UK, France, Russia and China) and ten elected countries that serve for two-year terms who's job it is to keep international peace and security.

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Jobs Jobs Jobs                                           Saturday May 22nd 2010

The Final Frontier


Tapping into Chilliwack's Hidden Workforce

Elderly worker's program targets 55-64 age group

Craig Hill/Voice                                                                                               Web photo.

Forget all about Freedom 55 and put your hands back down Club Med'ers. Some elderly citizens might want to defer retirement plans after an announcement on Friday from the Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Moira Stilwell, that Chilliwack is going to be getting a share $1 million allocated for it's "Working Beyond" employment assistance and training program. So gramps, dust off your work boots.

The federal and provincial governments provided the money which will be split with Hope and Mission as part of their $30 million skills and training program called the "Targeted Initiative for Older Workers" (TIOW). The program will assist about 800 people in 30 BC communities experiencing the highest rates of elder unemployment. To date, $21 million has been committed to the program which aims to help elderly workers get the skills they need to find and keep new jobs, or start their own business.

The TIOW started in July 2007 and the first projects for elder workers began in February 2008. A total of 23 programs from April 2010 to March 2011 will be delivered across the province.

Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development Moira Stilwell said it is important that elder British Columbians have job training opportunities made available to them so that they can also contribute to the economy.

"The provincial and federal governments are working together to help British Columbians gain new training and skills,” said Stilwell. “It is important to provide the necessary training so all workers can participate and be part of our labour force.”

The "Working Beyond" program for Chilliwack residents, assists unemployed elderly people who can and want to work, connect to employment and self employment opportunities. Participants select between the “Transition & Leadership Series” or a “Self Employment & Business Development” option.

There is some limited financial support available to offset living costs and/or training expenses during the transitional period into the workforce. Employers who are interested can contact the office for partnership opportunities.

Older worker participants in receipt of Canada Pension Plan income should contact their local Service Canada Centre prior to commencing involvement in the program to discuss the impact that participation may have on their pension income.

For more information visit the office at 311 - 46167 Yale Road, 604-854-0043 or 1-866-986-WORK (9675). You can also visit their website by clicking the link below.


                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 City Views                                                   Saturday May 22nd 2010

On foot around town


Chunnel Vision

Charles St. tunnel provides safe passage

Craig Hill/Voice 



                                                                                                              Craig Hill/Voice photos

A woman uses the 'chunnel' on Charles Street last week. The pedestrian and cyclist underpass travels below the tracks and is a heavily-used corridor providing safe passage. The top photo shows a man emerging.

                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Voice Letters                                                   Sunday May 23rd 2010

Eco-garden tips


Time To Watch Your Water

Long, hot summer predicted


City of Chilliwack Water restrictions begin June 1. Residents can water lawns and gardens from 5 am to 8 am or 7 pm to 10 pm. Even numbered addresses on Wednesday and Saturday. Odd numbered addresses on Thursday and Sunday. This summer try using less water with programs like the Low-Flow toilet conversions. There are many ways we can conserve the Vedder Aquifer. For more info on watering go here.


The following is a letter from Myrtle Macdonald, MSc.A - Nursing Education and Research, McGill University. Macdonald worked as an outreach nurse for many years in Montreal is now with the Chilliwack branch of the Schizophrenic Association of BC.


The city is fortunate to have her working here for our mentally ill. She is 84 and amazingly, at her age, is an outspoken advocate for people with mental health afflictions and also is a much-needed healthcare watchdog. Can we clone this wonderful woman? The Voice always looks forward to her letters.


This week Myrtle talks about the importance of being eco-smart in the garden and shares her secrets to a happy yard.


Dear Editor:

We are stewards of the earth. Mainly:

We can stop using chemicals to fertilize and control weeds in our lawns. We can use lime in moderation.

We can leave grass cuttings and leaves on the lawn and flower beds, and rake them around.

We can compost weeds, leaves, grass, coffee grounds, tea leaves and vegetable skins.

We should have larger flower beds and add herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, chives, oregano, tarragon, etc.)

Mint needs to be in a pot or surrounded by a deep curb as it spreads madly.

We can add vegetables to our flower beds. They don't need to be in rows.

We can add trees for shade and remove branches if there is too much shade.

We can grow fruit trees, small or big, as space allows.

Ground covering, flowering perennials need little weeding and watering.

We can increase the shrubbery and greenery so as to attract dew and rain. That improves our climate; there is less need for watering.

Watering should be directed to where it is needed, done thoroughly once a week, and not wasted by using sprinklers.

Hanging plants and flower pots need watering almost daily in the hot weather. That is labor intensive. I prefer flowerbeds.


Now please give me flexible knees and a painless back, dear Lord. However David Suzuki's latest is a refreshing view on how and why to keep limber. Attached.


Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack

                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

City Views                                                 Wednesday May 19th 2010

Salish Park 



A Real Live Mother Goose Storybook

Gaggles of turtles too? Craig Hill/Voice


A natural storybook unfolds every day Salish Park for youngsters to watch in wide-eyed wonderment at the waterworld and see the animals that live in and around the pond.


In the top right photo, a duckling prances in step with it's mother along the concrete edge and in the photo on the bottom right, another little guy uses a magical drain hole to get in and out of his pond.


Salish Park downtown, with it's beautiful year round colours and manicured grounds is a Chilliwack gem. Located next to the library and the Coast Hotel, the pond is home to a variety of waterfowl, and surprisingly, a gaggle of turtles. Additionally, if the kids look hard enough, they'll see some of the pond's big orange carp swimming by.


                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Editorial                                                     Wednesday May 19th 2010

School safety


Should men stop teaching elementary school children?

It can't hurt to try – but it sure hurts not to

Craig Hill/Voice


Revised May 19  (Sorry folks, it was a long day. I just needed to come up for air and rewrite this and smooth over it's feathers. Thanks.)


Black clouds and stormy weather on Wednesday ushered in one of the darkest days in Chilliwack news in recent memory. School District #33 was rocked by allegations that one of it's own teachers, Jason Epp, 38, was being charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and interference involving students (see "Teacher Charged" story below.)

It was the second time in as many weeks that a teacher in the Lower Mainland was charged with sexually assaulting students and, not-so-ironically, both men were seen as ideal teachers, gregarious and outgoing. The investigation might deepen as it moves into other areas around the Lower Mainland because Epp travelled around to teacher-computer clinics at other schools.

If proven guilty, then we can assume Epp was not there to teach or mentor the kids and that his agenda was rife with nefarious intent. How, when entrusted with the care of society's most innocent, could he have manipulated the entire school system? For everyone's sake we can only hope there's been a huge mistake made and that he's completely innocent.

While writing the story of  the Jason Epp charges, I was distracted by a bad taste in my mouth and a queasy feeling all day as the news broke. It was difficult to wrap my head around what the man is being charged with.

A stifling pall hung in the air at the press conference. Reporters moods were austere as were the police and school board. I overheard one upset TV guy, who was chatting with others say, that if the charges were proven, they should "Take his head off. I hate diddlers." So everyone was upset and many in the community are calling for blood – before he's convicted.

If you want blood, then look at some small villages in China where if a man is caught molesting a child, they tie him to a stake in the town square, dope him up with opium to kill the pain and then proceed to cut strips of his flesh off over the course of a week. If he lives, ok. If not, oh well.

The RCMP asked reporters to not mention the school that was involved. After the scrum was over, I decided to leave the school alone. The community was still spinning in circles after news broke, so no pictures of children running in the doors of the school and no interviews with parents.

I, for one, just felt it was better to give the kids and parents some space (unlike some of the other media outlets) rather than add to the hysteria that must have been gripping the school. Just let things calm down so the school could regain it's equilibrium.

When the Times newspaper finally released Epp's photo, I stared long and hard at it, looking in his eyes and searching his face for any hint of a hideous predator that may be lurking behind the gleaming smile

This isn't the first time male teachers have abused students but each time it happens, the entire community takes a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus.

Remember Robert Noyes? The former school principal who was convicted in 1985 of 31 counts of sexually abusing 19 school children aged 6-15. He was diagnosed as a homosexual pedophile, and given an indefinite term of incarceration in 1986. At his hearing, experts testified that he could never be cured of his compulsion to molest children.

Female teachers have been abusers too. Remember Heather Ingram, 30, Mathematics, science and business teacher at Chatelech Secondary School in Sechelt? She had sex with a 17-year-old male student. Her life was ruined and the teenager had problems in the community after as well.

A long list of  female teachers involved with their students and charged can be seen here. If you look at that list, very few were involved with students under age 12 and generally speaking, there are fewer female teachers charged with this type of crime than there are males charged. Men seem to be most often caught preying on children younger than 12. Not in all cases, but remember, this is an editorial, they're not facts and I'm just throwing out numbers.

But for me, this begs the question; should men be allowed to teach children below Grade 7? Women are more nurturing for younger kids and perhaps men can take over teaching at Grade 8 and provide positive male influence at a time of life when students are more active in sports etc.

Maybe Epp shouldn't have been teaching Grade 2 students because his own teacher training is indicative of some kind of smarts, right? He is a computer expert. So why was he wasting that intelligence teaching 6-year-olds how to read Dick and Jane and not working in computer labs?

At any rate, school boards should consider the option. Maybe it's time society tried something else. Perhaps having females-only teaching younger kids may cut down on the number of sexual assault cases. It can't hurt to try – but it sure hurts not to.

                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                                     Tuesday May 18th 2010

Shocking revelations


Chilliwack Elementary Teacher Faces Child Sexual Assault Charges

Jason Epp investigation still ongoing say RCMP

Craig Hill/Voice

RCMP announced today that Chilliwack Grade 2 teacher, Jason Epp, 38, has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of sexual interference regarding incidents with children that took place between September 2009 and May 2010.

Epp was arrested May 12, then released on bail the following day after the charges were approved. On June 1 he is slated to be in Chilliwack Provincial Court.

His bail comes with strict conditions that include no contact with his students or former students, or, to attend any public park, school ground, day care centre, swimming pool, playground, skating rink, community centre or recreation centre where persons under the age of 16 are present except on the approval of his bail supervisor.

Originally, one parent made a complaint April 30 and as the investigation unfolded another victim was identified. Sgt. Peter Thiessen, spokesperson for the RCMP Lower Mainland District Regional Police Service, said they contacted the school district May 4.

"These are serious allegations, and that is why the Chilliwack Serious Crimes Unit immediately launched into an investigation as soon as the School District brought the matter to our attention," said Thiessen.

He told reporters, who asked why Epp was not arrested right away, the reason was because a protocol needs to be followed in such cases.

"The first thing that had to be done was that the School Board needed to react to the charges," said Thiessen.

SD#33 Assistant Superintendent, Michael Audet, said that when the Board found out about the charges on May 14, they lept into action and began formulating a strategy to deal with the fallout.

"What we did then, immediately, is we met as a team to develop a plan for what we were going to do, and how we were going to respond to this," said Audet.

He went on to say that their primary concern was to ensure the safety, care and well-being of the other children and staff at the school, as well as to reassure families.

"One of those decisions was to contact all of the parents involved in the school to let them know of these charges and to let them know importantly, I believe, to have a plan in place on Monday, the first day of school after we were aware of these charges, and we met with staff and individual parents and had a trained councillors for students and support staff," said Audet.

Audet made assurances that Epp is no longer teaching in any school and said all procedures were followed according to Chilliwack Teachers Association regulations.

"The district takes it's role of protecting student's welfare very seriously and acts quickly on any information that comes to our attention."

Thiessen said the investigation is continuing and that they have conducted "many interviews" to determine if there are any more Epp victims.

"If parents have any concern that there could be incidents that the police are not aware of involving Mr. Jason Epp and the interaction he may have had with their children, they are asked to call the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611," said Thiessen.

Epp has been a teacher for 15-years and worked at the elementary school for the last 8-years. At  he had comments like "uber funky cool" and "best teacher ever" posted.

He is currently on suspension leave with pay. It's not known if he will return to the district and resume teaching, should the allegations prove to be false.

                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Community                                                     Tuesday May 18th 2010

Reading the water


Throwin' It Down On The Chilliwack River

Local kayakers tackle heavy water chutes

Kay-Uwe, Purple Hayes School of Kayaking


Another great Throwdown event on the Chilliwack River

On May 2, Purple Hayes School of Kayaking hosted the first of three World Kayak Throwdowns which will be held throughout the summer on the Chilliwack River.


The turn out was great. We had 19 competitors and around 30 spectators. The competitors were of all different abilities so we were able to run a beginner and intermediate class in both the men’s and woman’s categories.


The beginners were very enthusiastic and nervous at the same time. One of the competitors has never surfed a wave before so it was great to see her out trying and having fun.




The waves were great for the beginners with enough of a friendly side to get onto the waves in controlled surf with out having to go into the meat of the wave. That being said, some of them had some very long side surfs in the meat of it. There was a good number of T-rescues and even a couple of swims but back in the boat and on the wave they went.


Thank you to Jeff and Ryan who provided the rescues and stayed close to help the beginners and then paddle up and compete in their round. I would also like to thank Tracy for helping out with the registrations.


I had a chance to speak with some of the spectators and they were having as much fun as the competitors. There was a great crowd support for everyone and lots of cheering. A big thanks to everyone that came out and helped make this event a great success.


Good Clean Fun was had by everyone. I hope to see everyone at the next Throwdown.


For more information on the next Throwdown event or to find out about some of the water safety courses and junior kayaking at Purple Hayes School of Kayaking call Kay-Uwe at: 604-858-2888 or visit their website:                                             

                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Business Report                              Thursday May 20th 2010

Chamber of Commerce Update



Coffee with Caruth

Casual Connections

hits the road

Staff  Report


Lisa Caruth, Executive Director of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, dropped by StarFm 98.3 Wednesday for an update as to what's happening around town. Here are some highlights from her always-fun interview on the Scott & Lisa morning show.


Casual Connections

Casual Connections last night and at the Coast Hotel and I want to thank everyone for coming out. We had a fantastic turnout, group, great crew. Didn't finish until 9:30, that's late! it was fun, it was a good one.

Casual Connections is on the third Tuesday of every month and the Coast Hotel right now is the main sponsor of the event. They supply the food and we typically have another sponsor too.


It is open to members or future members and anyone who wants to come on out and network, have a good time and actually come July we're taking Casual Connections on the road. It's going to become a travelling road show and we're moving it from location to location. So we'll be able to showcase a number of different businesses.


Chill-Air Connection

The first one onboard is going to be Chill-Air and Chris from Chill-Air is going to be a barbeque in his parking lot in July 13 and everyone is welcome to come down and look at his business, mingle and mix, network, do whatever it is you do at Casual Connections.


Business on the Green Golf Tourney

7th Annual Envision Financial Business on the Green Golf Tournament at the Cultus Lake Golf Couse June 17. I didn't realize how much fun it was going to be. I've never gone to this event in the past and just the fact that I'm planning it now I can just see everything going on, it's just going to be great. I wish I could be golfing, I wanted to golf in it but I'm just going to be doing too much running around.


For more information regarding the tourney call: 604-858-8121 or e-mail here.


Junior Golf Phenom

Anybody can golf. We have a 13-year-old golfer, Keanna Mason. She's just recently won the BC A Zone 3 - 4 girl's (Zapper Series), BC Summer Games qualifier at Royalwood. She golfed an even par, 13-years-old, she's going to be in our golf tournament and she can challenge anybody who wants to golf with her.


We're so looking forward to it. How it's going to work is if you challenge Keanna and she beats you, your team has the opportunity to purchase her ball to be your best ball for that hole and if you beat her your name goes into a draw for a significant prize. So it's going to be rewarding.


Closest To The Pin Contest

The Hawk (89.5 Hawk) is going to be having their "Closest to the Pin Contest." We have Baker-Newby who're going to be there, we're having a barbeque and giving out hot dogs there. It's just going to be a lot of fun.


Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

Number 2 auction started this morning at 8 am and I'm going to get out there this afternoon and knowing my luck I'm going to come home with a backhoe or something. I'm just happy that they're here and looking forward to hanging out there today.


Teddy Bear Picnic

Kilby Historic is having a Victoria Day Teddy Bear Picnic from 11 am to 5 pm at 215 Kilby Rd, Harrison Mills.


Adults $9 - Seniors $8 - Children $7 and Children 5 and under free. Consider a season pass Adults $22, Seniors and Youth $20 and Family pass is $52. Good for right through to our 2011 Teddy Bear Picnic.

For more information contact Kilby by calling 604-796-9576 or visit their website: 


The Chamber welcome new members and if you're interested in becoming one visit their website:


For more information call Lisa at the Chamber: 604-793-4323 or visit:


                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


ICBC News                                                    Monday May 17th 2010

Sticking it to thieves


Hook, Line and Sinker

Bait Car program continues to knock down auto theft rates

Craig Hill/Voice




                                                                                                                     Voice file photos


Once in awhile we get good news from ICBC. Today was one of those days. According to a government report released this afternoon, the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) bait car program pushed car theft rates down to a 14-year low during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.


Solicitor General Mike de Jong, said the RCMP made it clear to car thieves that bait cars would be out there throughout the Games and it seems to have worked.


“We warned car thieves that bait cars would be everywhere during the Games, and it appears they got the message,” said de Jong. “This success is all the more impressive given the number of visitors’ vehicles in B.C. during this time – not to mention that there are about 400,000 more vehicles on Metro Vancouver roads than there were in 1996.”


The report also said that across the province in February there were 730 auto thefts which is a 71-per-cent decrease when compared to 1996 statistics which saw over 2000 car thefts occur during the same period.


Part of the Team's plan was to park bait cars at Park and Rides as well as at Olympic parkades and training centres.


To tease thieves into taking the bait, cameras and laptops were left in open view inside the vehicles and each item was marked with MicroDot DNA technology that allows police                                                     Courtesy of the RCMP

to track where the stolen items go and use that as evidence in court.


Another part of the Team's auto crime reduction plan, is the automatic licence plate recognition technology which is used in undercover police cars to scan plates and find stolen vehicles either parked or on the road. The Team is then able to analyze the data and deploy bait cars where they were needed most.


ICBC statistics indicate that since 2004 when bait cars were first introduced to BC roads, stolen vehicle claims have dropped by 50-per-cent to $47 million from 2009 when claims topped $98 million.

“These are remarkable results and we credit drivers for making smart decisions,” said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s director of road safety.


“Whether they were leaving cars at home, parking in secure and well-lit areas, removing valuables or locking their vehicles, drivers helped make communities safer during the Games and will help us keep our rates low and stable.”


In Chilliwack auto theft continues to drop and RCMP Cst. Lea-Anne Dunlop credited the lower crime rate to crime reduction strategies designed by police and city officials, and to community involvement in policing.


The crime reduction initiative uses a four pillar approach; educating the public, prevention, enforcement and treatment for car thieves, most of whom are addicted to substances.

Associated links

For more information on the bait car program see

For auto theft statistics and tips on how to secure your vehicle, check out


                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Community Info                                     Sunday May 16th 2010

New tax July 1st


The HST Hit List

What is targeted for the new tax and what isn't

Craig Hill/Voice


Curious about what items will have the new tax slapped on July 1? See the list here.


A Doggone Good Day

Chilliwack SPCA holds Weekend

For Animals



Gimme shelter. Once a year across the province BCSPCA shelters have open house, last Saturday the Chilliwack branch on Hopedale Rd. had theirs.


There were plenty of volunteers on hand to talk with folks and show them around the facilities which house a med room, staff room, laundry room and various animal pens. Up for adoption were only about six dogs which is a good thing and plenty of cats, kittens and even some birds were available to good homes.


Some of the animals the Greendale shelter houses are involved in cruelty investigations and the rules surrounding dog walking have changed slightly from the way they used to operate. Now anyone who wants to drop-in and take a dog for a walk needs to call first and arrange a time.


It's not cheap to adopt a dog but certainly worth the price. It will cost about $150 to acquire a new best friend and get the animal into a proper home.


Last year the annual open house event raised $20,000 and additionally the branch holds various fundraisers throughout the year such as the Paws For A Cause walk at Fairfield Island in September.


Donations for the shelter are always greatly appreciated if people want to drop off items they accept; Pet toys, Hill's brand canned cat food and dog food, cash for emergency surgeries and other medical supplies, office stationary, linens such as bedding, towels, mats etcetera.


If you would like to become a volunteer, the shelter is always looking for a helping hand or for dog walkers. For more information call 604-823-6612 or visit the SPCA shelter located at 6797 Hopedale Road.


                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


May 17th 2010

Community News & Views
The Joe Report

 Local News                                                 Saturday May 15th 2010

Healthy diversions



Cheam Centre Makes A Splash

Fitness facility Grand Opening draws big fish and tadpoles




                                                                                                                 Staff/Voice photos

Preview Builders International Inc. President, Randy Regier (L), Mayor Sharon Gaetz (C) and Councillor Ken Huttema (R), along with the help of some tadpoles, cut the ribbon Saturday to officially open the Cheam Leisure Centre in Sardis.


Cheam Leisure Centre threw open it's doors to the public Saturday after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony and offering free use of the facilities for the day. Local dignitaries joined Mayor Sharon Gaetz for the official grand opening.


Gaetz told a smallish crowd gathered in the entranceway courtyard, that she was thrilled to invite the public to the Leisure Centre. "It's truly a community centre," she said.


The mayor thanked builder Randy Regier as well Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Gord Pederson; Manager of Civic Facilities; Ryan Mulligan and Manager of Leisure Development, Kurt Houlden. for "doing an amazing job"


"I'm so pleased to say that Randy (Regier) and his team were able to do this on time, slightly under-budget, which is absolutely fantastic in these days of overruns in other levels of government." said Gaetz. "It's just been fantastic to work with these guys, they have done an amazing job."


The facility features a 25 metre swimming pool, lazy river, hot tub, sauna, double gym, $250,000 of new weight training equipment and squash courts along with a variety of youth fitness programs.


The Centre is located at 45501 Market Way and is open Monday -Friday: 6am - 10pm and Saturday and Sunday: 7:30am - 9:30pm. Admission varies from $5.25 for adults to $3.25 for teens during prime time hours.


                                                                                           © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Excusive                                                   Thursday  May 13th 2010

Saving the salmon


The Get Out Migration Takes Over Victoria

Peaceful protest shouts out to Campbell

Staff report/Voice


Chris Gadsden took the following gallery of shots and the Voice thanks him for sharing them with us. Gadsden deserves our heartfelt thanks for his tireless efforts in towards salmon and river stewardship around Chilliwack and for his work with the Great Blue Heron Society.

Update: See Gadsden's letter posted in the Times Colonist in the gallery.

                                                   To see Chris' photos go here

                                                                                                 © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Exclusive Interview                                      Friday May 14th 2010

Preserving the CRV


How Green Is Your Valley?

A conversation with David Lamson

Craig Hill/Voice


Last Monday, a meeting was held at the Fish and Game Club to discuss the Chilliwack River Valley Official Community Plan. Prior to the meeting, the Voice had a chance to speak with FVRD Electoral  Area E Director,           David Lamson. Voice file photo.

David Lamson regarding the proposed

100-acre gravel mine at Larson's Bench in the CRV. The following are excerpts from that conversation.


Voice: What's the purpose of the meeting tonight?

Lamson: The purpose of the meeting is to update the official community plan also called the "settlement plan."


Voice: What's your position on the gravel pit?

Lamson: We have the memorandum which was done here January 25th by staff which recommended that we not support it until certain things were done and certain conditions were met. That was after our electoral services committee meeting and then at the regional district board level, and that is our position.


Some of these things have been met. This goes back to the integrated land management bureau who sent it to us for review. That's not the position of all the electoral areas, that's the position of 6 of the 7 and all the municipalities with the exception of Abbotsford.


I don't believe that this is the appropriate place for it. The area along the river on the valley floor has been designated in the red zone for a reason and that is because of the value for habitat, the value for recreational resources. We get over a million visitors a year to the Chilliwack River Valley. On a weekend, there'll be over 20,000 in a day.


Abbotsford is a big municipality, 48% of our population lives in Abbotsford. But we (Electoral District E) are the biggest area so demographics do have a role.


Voice: Has there been an environmental assessment done?

Lamson: No there was not an environmental assessment done. We do not have the authority to say yes or no. We review the application for the integrated land management bureau, which is the bureau that looks after land in British Columbia and send our comments back to them, to the Ministry of Mines, and they        Concerned residents study topo map

are the ones that make the          at the OCP meeting Monday.

decisions. It's a provincial

decision. It is on crown land which is provincial land.


Voice: Are there plans to remove it from the red zone and put it in the green zone?

Lamson: Well that's one of our concerns is that it's in the red zone. At the present time there are no zones because the Aggregate Pilot Project (APP) has not been implemented. So this is a problem.


Voice: So the company could actually start work before the APP is put in place?

Lamson: I'm not saying that is their intention, but that's what's happening. The area has been logged. It's over 100 acres (40.5 hectares) , so it's a fair sized piece of property.


Voice: Do you have any idea whether it's going to be a yes or no?

Lamson: They were going along with the approval business and it's getting pretty close to approval but my understanding is that they're putting a hold on it. I hope they are.


Voice: Are they going to consider this part of the public consultation process?

Lamson: Let's put it this way, we will make them aware of the community's concerns which we've already done through there and has been done by local people sending in their concerns. We have the Friends of the Chilliwack Valley and they are very interested and keen on the valley. Our Ratepayers Group I would like to see reinvigorated because they have met sometimes and so I'd like to see that. But they're sort of general for all things and wouldn't be just for the gravel. Columbia Valley has an active ratepayers group, Lindell Beach, Cultus Lake, Post Creek. There's a number of ratepayers groups.


Voice: How could they play into this?

Lamson: Gather information and send it off.


Voice: To other residents in the community?

Lamson: Yes. This  the group that is doing that is sending their information on to the Ministry. If they put it on my table then I will pass it on but hopefully they send it directly. Basically what we're doing tonight is we're gathering information in the first of several meetings and we are forming a committee called an "Advisory Commission", probably 7 to 8 people, who will apply and tell us why they would like to be on the committee.


If you've got a product, you and it to be a good product. The product here is the Chilliwack River Valley. Come on up, dodge the gravel trucks. Make sure that you've got good glass insurance.


Voice: So they are going to dig that hole, it's going to fill up with water, then they're going to pump that into Pierce Creek and then it will run into the Chilliwack River and choke that fishery with that effluent for 30 or 40 years?

Lamson: A hatchery is located nearby. Just above the hatchery, on the bottom end of Pierce Creek and in the last 5-years, a tremendous amount of habitat restoration work has been done on this bottom part. This is a beautiful place, excellent for fish habitat.


If you get a gravel mine here (pointing to map), and they dig a deep hole, they have to stay back from the creek, but they dig a big hole and reclaim it, but still it's got to be a hole, but would it end up being a lake and dry up the creek?


Voice: The company will have to deal with water immediately, as soon as they begin the dig?

Lamson: I would think so. You dig down and you're going to get the water, the seepage. They have an engineering study by Madrone and it was sort of general, take the topsoil off, dig down and if they run into water, they'll stop.  They want to build a fish pond, but that won't fit the Agriculture Land Reserve. There should be an environmental assessment done. They set their tonnage just below the environmental limit which would require a study.

                                                                                               © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

City Views                                               Thursday  May 13th 2010

Gwynne Vaughn Park


Gwynnie's Showing Her Colours

Grand old garden is truly ageless



It's a good time to take a stroll around the park and catch Chilliwack's grand old garden in full bloom. Land for the park and the restored home were donated by the Vaughn family to the city in 1993. The park has facilities for groups who book in advance and there is a community garden with some vegetable plots to check out.


The park is scheduled for a facelift this year with a new grandiose entranceway being installed at the corner of Hope River and Williams Rd.


For more information on Gwynne Vaughn Park go here


                                                                         © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

City Views                                               Thursday  May 13th 2010

Environmental Eyesore


Peg Leg A Mess Again

City needs to tackle illegal dumping on the banks of the Fraser River

Craig Hill/Voice


Scarcely a month after the Fraser Riverkeepers scooped 6 tonnes of trash from around Peg Leg Bar, uneducated people are at it again and still dumping there. Party fires with burned metal chairs left behind, heaps of garden trimmings and lumber were all visible on the drive alongside the waterway.


Please don't do this to the river. Take your trash and grow op dirt to the dump or recycle it. The river is no place for your waste. Come on folks.


                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

City News                                                  Thursday  May 13th 2010

Discover Cheam Centre


Cheam Centre Grand Opening Saturday

Take a dip and use the facilities free for the day

City of Chilliwack press release



Don't miss the Grand Opening of the Chilliwack Cheam Leisure Centre on Saturday, May 15 from 9:30am until 12:30pm. Help us celebrate the official opening of Chilliwack's newest recreational facility while discovering the programs the Centre has to offer.


Enjoy free admission during this time and try out some of the activities during the Open House, such as swimming, games (for kids), circuit training, complimentary personal training, basketball, soccer, pickleball, and floor hockey.

"The new Cheam Leisure Centre has only been open for a month and it's already become an important community asset," said Mayor Sharon Gaetz "We're thrilled so many residents are using the facility and encourage those who haven't been in yet; to come down on Saturday and see what they're missing."

Join Mayor Sharon Gaetz and representatives from the operator, Leisure Recreation Group (LRG) and Preview Builders for the Grand Opening Ceremony at 10:30am.

"If you haven't yet had a chance to check out what Chilliwack's newest facility has to offer, Saturday is the perfect opportunity," said LRG founder and President, Stan Anderson. "We are excited to be able to offer a wide variety of recreational programming to ensure there's something for everyone."

"As a local Chilliwack company, it was an honour to be awarded the contract for the construction of the new Cheam Leisure Centre" said Randy Regier, President of Preview Builders International. "We're extremely proud of this project and look forward to seeing the community enjoy it for many years to come."

The Chilliwack Cheam Leisure Centre project in Garrison Crossing includes construction of a new 6-lane, 25 metre pool with change rooms, a gradual-entry family leisure pool with play features and lazy river. A fitness facility upgrade is planned as a second phase, proposed for some time in the future as funding allows.

A park is also being developed on the property adjacent to the Leisure Centre and it is anticipated that an outdoor spray park, which will be free for children and families to use, will be completed and open by late summer 2010. For more information about the Cheam Leisure Centre or the Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre, visit

                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Voice Views                                                Thursday May 13th 2010

Cash for trash



Bin There Done That

Dumpster Diver of the Week #6




                                                                                                                Staff photo/Voice

This "canner" was on a good run collecting refundable items yesterday.


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

For recycling information visit


                                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

City News                                                  Thursday  May 13th 2010

HST & Real Estate


Realtors take taxation concerns to Penner and Strahl

CADREB wants to see housing affordability

Courtesy of CADREB


Executive members of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) took the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and Property Transfer Tax (PTT) concerns of local Realtors ® to the road recently, meeting with provincial and federal elected representatives.


CADREB President Kyle Hislop, Government Relations Chair Mark Andersen and Executive Officer Steve Lerigny held meetings with MLA Barry Penner and MLA John Les on the effect of the Shelter Tax on the sale and affordability of homes, including the HST and the PTT.


Federally, the group met with the Honourable Chuck Strahl to discuss how Capital Gains affects the ability of small investors to re-invest or improve rental properties, without the fear of being penalized.


“We also talked about the indexing of the Home Buyers Plan to ensure that the program benefits will not be lessened due to the economic increase in property values,” said CADREB President, Kyle Hislop.


“The discussions at both levels were well received,” added Hislop. “The BC and federal elected officials were open to the discussions and CADREB feels that these legislations have significant impacts on the real estate industry, home affordability and ultimately quality of life, so we will continue to ensure that there is a line of communication with the various levels of government.”                              

Home sales in Chilliwack and surrounding area in April continued to easily outpace last year’s levels. A total of 233 homes sold last month, compared to 188 in April of 2009.

Inventory remains strong as well. Last month, 548 new listings joined the spring rush to beat the implementation of the HST, for a total of 1,694 active listings.

The highest number of home sales last month occurred in the $350,000. In the $399,999 range there were 34 sales, followed closely by those in the $300,000 - $349,999 range. There were 18 sales over the half-million dollar mark.

For information on how you can take advantage of the current robust real estate market, contact any of the more than 280 qualified Realtors ® of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board.

For more on April Real Estate sale statistics see "2010 April Real Estate Report" on the left hand column of this page.

                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


City Views                                              Tuesday  May 10th 2010

Yellow kisses on green cheeks



If wishes were dandelions

City Parks Dept. reducing pesticide use

Craig Hill/Voice


Don't be alarmed if you see a lot of weeds this year in parks, it's actually a good thing. Chemical pesticide use by the Parks Department hasn't been entirely eliminated, but it's use in the city has been dropping steadily.


City Parks manager, Dave Snider, told the Voice in an e-mail that the Parks Dept. doesn't spray people areas and has been gradually reducing the use of pesticides in parks over the last decade and even more so over the last year.


"We've never treated weed growth in the lawn areas of our parks," said Snider.


According to Snider, chemical pesticide use by the city in 2009 was only 17% of what was used in 2006, and last year was 28% of what parks used in 2008. Overall consumption has been reduced by 83% over the past year despite an increase in park land inventory.

Last year, spraying on sidewalks and pathways was totally eliminated. Staff who apply pesticides are trained and licensed and do not spray anything over the aquifer.


Without pesticides, gardens have to be maintained by hand and park crews do what they can with what they have.

"Current staffing levels will not allow Parks to maintain planting beds through mechanical methods. Spraying will be limited to the lowest impact areas, and the main show beds. Staff will continue to research alternatives as they come available," said Snider.


The Dandelion Herb Quick Facts

Dandelions rank in the top four green vegetables, ahead of broccoli and spinach for overall nutritional value and they have the highest Vitamin A content of all greens and according to the USDA. The fresh leaves contain protein, fiber and are also good sources of vitamins C, D and B-complex as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, potassium and manganese.


People eat them boiled, or in spaghetti, quiche, lasagna, bread and pizza. The flowers also offer an interesting array of possibilities from wine to jams. Non-traditional medicine uses the leaves and roots to treat liver, gallbladder, kidney and some stomach ailments.


                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                                       Sunday  May 9th 2010

Caring & sharing


Chilliwack Envisions A Big Run For Mom

Mother's Day fundraiser sees

$20,000 in donations




The CGH maternity ward got a big push from over 700 people Sunday in the 2010 Envision Run For Mom at the UFV Tech Centre raising over $20,000.


This year the event was raising money for the purchase of medical equipment such as glidescopes and neonatal jaundice meters.


Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, Executive Director, Vicki Raw told the Voice that they got a really good response       Organizer Vicki Raw was happy with the

from the community.        turnout Sunday.


"It's amazing. We've had a good turnout and awesome weather, we couldn't ask for better weather so everyone is off to a good start. We've raised quite a bit of money," she said.


"We have some individuals who've raised a significant amount of money, I know that right now the top fundraiser has brought in $1500 personally. We also have some teams that have done some group efforts, like Stream decided to do some group fundraising and so they raised over $1400," said Raw.


Money raised is going toward the purchase of new medical equipment like glidescopes and jaundice meters for the maternity ward.


Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner was doing his part for the CGH and despite a bad back, had a


decent time finishing the 8 km route in 45 minutes, well ahead of the majority of the pack.


"The last time I ran, I think was in the Terry Fox Run about 2-years ago, but running can be difficult on my back, I had back surgery about 5-years ago so I'm trying to find other ways of cardio-vascular exercise usually hiking or going to the gym and using cardio machines like stair climbers and ellipticals," said Penner.


He can't make is every year but has always been a supporter from the beginning.


"This is a great event and a great cause and it's been really amazing to see how it's grown," he said catching his breath. "I came to the first couple of runs more than 10-years ago now there were maybe 50 or 75 people on a Sunday morning and to see this crowd here today of hundreds and hundreds of people is just really exciting." said Penner.


                             To view the photo gallery go here.

                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                                       Friday  May 7th 2010

Community Safety


Playing With Fire

Flames on Tupper Ave. extinguished quickly





This fire was snuffed out quickly and later the Progress paper reported that a 12-year-old was slightly burned in the blaze which was rumored to have started by the lad who playing with gasoline and a cigarette lighter.


                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Voice Exclusive                                                Friday  May 7th 2010

An Environmental Catastrophe


The Big Dig

Chilliwack River Valley land owner finds himself between a rock and a hard place

Craig Hill/Voice



A proposed gravel mining operation the size of 50 football fields and 120-feet deep in the Chilliwack River Valley has environmentalists armed to the teeth with a litany of concerns that have so far been ignored by the Agricultural Land Commission.

The issue is one which will adversely affect many in the community indirectly. But to fully comprehend it's impact on the environment, first you have to understand how it will affect people directly.

If Southview Sorting Ltd. gets the go-ahead for their gravel mine, just a stone's throw across the road from Wilf Krickhan's property, then he's the one person who stands to lose the most because its going to turn his little slice of heaven, into a chunk of hell.

The clear-cut forests and stacks of slash adjacent to the road indicate where the mine will extend down the valley above and below Pierce Creek. In Southview's plan, they indicated that no neighbours would be affected. But that couldn't be further from the truth.

Krickhan runs his Larson Holdings Land Clearing and Demolition business from his property. He also has about 160-acres on the farm as hay. Aside from a few outbuildings and a yard with some heavy equipment parked in it, the property looks pretty much the same as it has for the last 50-years – forested, peaceful and quiet.

Krickhan is just an ordinary guy trying to live his life and be happy. That's why he moved up there. He's no tree squeezer. He's not an activist. He just likes his quietude and wants things left the way they are in an area that he's called home for 10-years.

He has his well water to rely on for personal needs but the proposed gravel mine may leave him without irrigation to his fields which would force him to move. Now he has to fight for something he's always had – his home.

Two years ago Krickhan installed a 4" irrigation line to the tune of thousands of dollars for his farm that was almost a kilometer long running from his dam up Ford Mountain. The Forestry Service ran a tee off of his line but no longer uses it. Krickhan says Southview have the wrong information in their proposal, saying that the line belonged to the Ministry of Forests, when in fact it's his line that has been there as long as people have lived on the property.


"I've got a registered right-of-way that is 3750 feet long that goes right up the side of the hill smack in the middle of where they are proposing to dig," said Krickhan. "It's a legally binding contract but I read it yesterday, I had Integrated Land Management to sendme a copy of it, and in there is Article 9 or 10 that says 'This is your right-of-way unless the crown grants someone else the licence' and I didn't think it would read like that."

Krickhan has put it all in writing for Southview so they know he has water there. In 2006 he applied to have his land removed from the ALR so he could create an RV Park and hired Grant Sanborn to handle the process.

So far that application has not come to fruition, but if the gravel pit's does, then almost 100 oil-dripping dump trucks on 200 daily round trips, will hammer the Chilliwack Valley Road into dust as they bob and weave around the thousands of recreational users and cyclists for the next 40-years. That's how long it's expected the gravel to hold out. So much for the RV Park.

Half way up to beautiful Chilliwack Lake there will be a wall of trucks, noise and dust for river users to contend with and the relatively pristine Chilliwack River Valley will become unrecognizable. The runoff from the diesel trucks onto the road is going to wash right into the Chilliwack River which parallels the road and could eventually end up in people's water glasses.

The proposed gravel extraction site and Krickhan's land are both in the ALR, and the ALC has flagged the area a Red Zone which means no aggregate removal. To circumvent that rule, Southview is planning on applying for a temporary use permit which will allow them to start digging now while their application is under review to remove the land from the ALR, or have it reclassified to a yellow or green zone for aggregate removal. The ALC doesn't always issue temporary permits, but occasionally do and other businesses have gone this route in the past.

"In the meantime you apply to have it removed and if it's already operating, it's easier to do that," said Krickhan. "So that's what they're doing right now and they don't have to post and they don't have to do newspaper stuff and no sign on the road. All that stuff is internal government stuff and the machines show up and that's it."

Originally there was a mining application sign on the land asking people to direct their concerns to the Kamloops Mining District but that sign is no longer there.

So much for any public consultation.

Krickhan knows what the impact a gravel mine will have on the Valley and his home. For starters, he'll have to move. He can't stay there without water. The dust will coat everything in sight for kilometers. His home and land will be immediately devalued. The racket will be unnerving and almost incessant and he knows about the bone-rattling noise a gravel mine makes. He breaks rock too – just not on his property.

"I'm the only guy that's really going to feel it other than the traffic because they'll be crushing and screening. You need diesel power plants to do that. I know because I know people that do that," said Krickhan.

Because of the way the road lies, he thinks that trucks will use it to get their speed going adding to the industrial racket generated by the mine.

Southview's proposal calls for being operational 5 days a week from 7 am to 6 pm and they also have the added option of working weekends. There's going to be a drag-line and a cable carrying a big bucket will be strung over the 15-story deep hole.

Another ecological problem is that once the hole is dug it's going to immediately fill up with muddy water and the river-choking effluent will be pumped into nearby Pierce creek which feeds the Chilliwack River which could result in the killing of the Chilliwack-Vedder fishery.

Krickhan has been a good neighbour to Southview. When the company was logging behind his property they needed to have it open for the trucks. It was either allow the trucks access through his land or they were going to build a bridge over Pierce Creek and punch in more roads and log right up to his property line which he couldn't do anything about. So they came to a "mutually beneficial agreement" that saw Krickhan up at 4:30 every morning for a week opening the gates for company trucks that eventually hauled about 120 loads of wood out through his property.

So far Krickhan is in the dark. The company hasn't told him of their intentions and he doesn't know what to expect. As far as he's concerned he's done everything he can to save his little slice of Nirvana.

There will be a public information meeting regarding this Monday at the Fish and Game Club, 48685 Chilliwack Lake Rd. from 5 pm to 8 pm.

A second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at the Columbia Valley Community Hall, 1202 Koskiar Rd. from 5 pm to 8 pm.

For more information visit

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Community                                                       Friday  May 7th 2010

Save The Wild Salmon


Getting Out to the Get Out Migration

Gadsen heads to Victoria on behalf of Society and local fishermen




                                                                                                                     Submitted photo

Fraser Valley Salmon Society Director, Chris Gadsden is packed and headed to Victoria for the final three days of the Get Out Migration where he will be meeting up with Alexander Morton and others on a march to Victoria to stop salmon farming on the West Coast.

Gadsen told the Voice in an e-mail Friday at about 10 am, that Ernie Crey called and said he was just leaving Steveston for Sidney with the Paddlers. The Voice wishes them all a safe trip.

                                                                                                  © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Letters                                                             Tuesday May 4th 2010

Environmental Hero


Morton Writes On Her Walk

Do we live in a democracy?

Submitted letter

by Alexandra Morton

                                                                          Morton Photo courtesy of the Strait.

Walking through the communities of Vancouver Island on the Get Out Migration has been a powerfully emotional experience. We are walking to tell people that if they simply stand up and make themselves visible to government, there is no reason we have to lose our wild salmon. But as we walk into towns with our flags flying, brilliant salmon signs, singing "we are walking to Victoria to save our fish," an entirely unexpected thing is happening. People are coming up to me and holding me - crying. They are speaking about schools without children, independent livelihoods lost, communities dying. This is about much more than fish.

This is about the independent way of life that built these communities going extinct. As we walk I see a land of beautiful clear streams, fertile soil green with life, air sweet with flowers and then I enter towns so burdened by global corporate markets that they can no longer thrive on the richness of this land. There is something very wrong here, it is painful to witness and people are sad.

Somehow we have become blind to our public resource - millions of salmon flowing annually to our doorstep, feeding people and our economy province wide. We have somehow been convinced that Atlantic salmon, dyed pink, vaccinated, fed Chilean fish, in pens where we cannot catch them, infesting our fish with lice - are better. We believe there are jobs even as the Norwegian companies are mechanizing as fast as they can to reduce the number of jobs. When people see us they know we have been duped and they don't know how to turn this around.

The Get Out Migration has been protected, blessed, gifted and honored by the First Nations who know best what has been lost. Everyday more people are joining our trek - weathering storms in tents, waving at thousand honking motorists on the road to Victoria. Our ranks swell as we enter the towns, white doves have been released, First Nation canoes parallel us, songs have been written, feasts laid out, flotillas surround us, people are awakening.

Do we still live in a democracy? Our essential rights and freedoms are being lost as foreign shareholders decide our fate, what happens on our land, dividing our communities, in an equation where they get more as we get less. As our salmon go so we go, they are a lifeline to the powerful natural world that gave birth to us. We must lead our governments back to where we can survive. Walk with us. Be there for our salmon, our towns, our children for yourself. If you want to be represented you must represent yourself.

For more information visit: 

                                                                                                   © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Fundraising Outreach

Red Cross support and Awareness

campaign stymied by weather



                                                                                                  Joe Reporter/Voice photo

Red Cross canvassers had no luck collecting donations at Five Corners Monday most likely due to severe wind and rain in the Valley.

Red Cross canvasser Bob Cole and a colleague were at Five Corners Monday trying to raise cash for the organization.

"We're doing a support and awareness campaign, that's why we're out here," said Cole.

Cole is from England and is in Canada until the fall on a work visa. He is employed by a company called Public Outreach, which sends people out in the community in an effort to raise funds for the charity-of-the-day.

"We work for a variety of charities and today we're doing support and awareness for the Red Cross," he said. "We tell people about the work the Red Cross does and try and find help, funds basically."

The stormy weather was keeping people inside because by late afternoon, they still had yet to generate any money on Chilliwack's busiest corner.

If you like the work the Red Cross does and would like to donate money visit their website here.

                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


May 4th 2010

Community News & Views
The Joe Report

Community Voices                                         Monday May 3rd 2010

Unsung Hero


Will The Government Listen?

Ministry of Education Responds to McDonald's letter 


For those of you following Myrtle McDonald's letters to the various provincial government departments, which have appeared here in the Voice (see "Nurse Calls For Salary Equity and Fewer Bureaucrats" April 9th), the following is a response which she received regarding her letter to the Ministry of Education.


                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice




Community News                                            Monday May 3rd 2010

Ready Aye Ready


Chilliwack Navy Memorial Parade

Veterans honour lives lost in Battle of Atlantic 

Craig Hill/Voice




solemn ceremony in Chilliwack on Sunday marked the end of sea battle sixty-six years ago, and since then each year on the first Sunday in May, local  naval veterans march in the Battle of the Atlantic memorial parade.


It was the 3rd of September, 1939, when a German U-boat torpedoed the passenger liner SS Athenia, bound for Montreal with 1103 passengers and 305 crew aboard. The ship was a sitting duck and 118 people lost their lives.


So began the 6-year "Battle of the Atlantic" (1939-1945) for control over the shipping lanes which pitted the surface naval forces of the Allies against the notorious "wolf-packs" of Die U-bootswaffe in World War II.


The HMCS Chilliwack was built by the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy for the protection of shipping convoys and played a major role in repelling the Germans throughout the war years. It was light, fast, cheap to build and had long range which made it the ideal escort.


On March 6th, 1944 the HMSC Chilliwack found a U-boat and chased it for 32 hours off of the coast of Ireland bombarding it with depth-charges forcing the damaged submarine to the surface. A boarding party from HMCS Chilliwack managed to retrieve invaluable information and take 40 prisoners from the U 744 before she sank.


On Sunday, veterans and cadets stood at attention as local dignitaries laid wreaths at the cenotaph in honour of the lives lost. Mayor Sharon Gaetz placed a wreath on behalf of the city and later told the Voice it's an emotional time. "I always cry," she said.


Founding President of the Fraser Valley Royal Canadian Naval Association, Neil Currie, chatted with the Voice before emcee'ing the ceremony. "Today is the sixty-sixth anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic and it was the longest running battle in the Second World        War," he said.


"A lot of people don't realize how many ships were lost in the Navy. And the Merchant Marine – and I'm not positive of this – lost in excess of 3600 ships and 30,000 men. said Currie.


"We also had RCAF involved in the Battle of the Atlantic protecting the eastern approaches to Halifax out to 'The Black Hole' as far as they could fly out and fly back, and the RAF out of England were covering the other side up to the edge of 'The Black Hole' and there was that big hole in the middle where there was nothing. The ships were on their own in there," said Currie.


Continued on gallery page.


For more on this story and to view the photo gallery go here.


                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                                        Monday May 3rd 2010

Off to the races


A Place Where Dreams Are Born

Local KART racers name track after Greg Moore 

Craig Hill/Voice



                                                                                                                 Craig Hill/Voice photos

KART drivers line up Saturday for honourary lap in memory of driver Greg Moore.


es it's fast, no you can't drive it. On Saturday, 52 drivers from Washington to Winnipeg took part in the 2010 season opener at Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack.


The rain-soaked day was marked with a rededication ceremony for the 10th Anniversary of the death of KART driver Greg Moore, who was the most successful KART racer to come out of the Lower Mainland, and his father Ric was on hand to unveil a memorial plaque in honor of his son.


Greg Moore started off as a go-kart racer and the age of 19 began his career in the KART circuit, the fastest cars in motor sports, clocking over 200 mph on the straight-aways.


The geeky-looking Maple Ridge kid with glasses and nice manners endeared himself to the public and the KART association. He was easy-going, calm, articulated himself well and could drive like a bat-out-of-hell.


In 1996, he was the youngest racer on thecircuit and in his first

year with KART. He was selected runner-up for the Jim Trueman "Rookie of the Year" award, beaten out by Alex Zanardi. When 1997 rolled around, Moore was ready to start winning races and he picked up the "Milwaukee Mile" honors.


During the next two years, Moore won at Rio De Janeiro, the US 500 and the Homestead race. His career was just starting to take off, but sadly he was never to reach his full potential as an KART driver.


On October 31, 1999, Moore was running the final race of the season in the California 500.


The overall championship had already been wrapped up by Juan Montoya so there was nothing big at stake in the race that day.


Then on the tenth lap something happened. There was a strong crosswind and as Moore was nearing turn two, he went into a skid and his car suddenly became airborne, slamming  into a retaining wall driver's-side-in.


That type of crash is rarely seen in the sport. Moore didn't make it. Officials let the race continue and when it was over, he was pronounced dead and the other drivers were told what happened. Even the toughest drivers were reduced to tears.


For more on this story and to view the photo gallery go here.


                                                                                                       © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


Local News                                                        Sunday May 2nd 2010

Bus rider blues


The Trouble With Transit



“Every day I get to you, get on the bus that takes me to you.” For at least one Chilliwack transit rider in Chilliwack, there's no "Magic Bus" when it comes to getting around town.


Her name is Jennifer Bigham and every day, rain or shine, she rides a bicycle 10 km from her home to work at The Best Western Rainbow Country Inn on Industrial Way because there aren't any public transit buses servicing that area. She doesn't mind riding a bike because "going green" and riding a is a healthy and hip thing to be doing these days. It's the snow this winter that she's worried about.


When Bigham sold her car and started using the bike and bus to get around, she found that public transit wasn't what she'd expected.


"I quickly discovered the lack of structure and functionality of the Chilliwack bus system," she said. "And the routes go nowhere near my place of employment."


With no bus service to that particular location in the winter months, and no car, she is beginning to get worried.


According to Bigham she's not the only one in the same boat. There are at least 10 others, who she says, also need winter transportation to work. In fact, there are so many cycling to and from the Inn that they "Joke about starting a bike gang to do vigilante justice and fight crime," she told the Voice in an e-mail last week.


Bigham wants the City of Chilliwack to include the road the Inn is on in the transit map.


In an effort to give riders a voice and gain some perspective, Bigham has put together a questionnaire and is circulating it amongst transit riders at places like the malls and high schools. She calls the petition drive: "Taking the mute out of commuter."


Her objective is to gather at least 500 signatures and present a "well-researched, unbiased and thoughtful report with demographic specific data", along with her recommendations, to city council for their consideration.


Bigham says she sees and talks with other riders all the time who aren't happy with the buses and she wants to find out what the community has to say about it.


According to Bigham, since the questionnaire has been in circulation, the feedback has been overwhelming.


"So far I've had a huge response from everyone I've spoken to and (riders) are eager to give their suggestions on how to fix the current transit system," said Bigham. "People are starting to speak out, hoping for change, and I'm trying to do all that I can to see that happens."


Bigham says her Australian boyfriend, Myles Harris, has been helping her manage the "social media aspect of the campaign."


Harris travels to Chilliwack frequently and isn't exactly impressed with the transit system. He says it's a far cry from what he's used to in his native land. “The Chilliwack bus system is a joke compared to my hometown which is the best I’ve seen,” said Bigham quoting Harris.


Bigham will be riding the buses and handing out questionnaires in her spare time and would like people interested in voicing their opinion to join her Facebook or Twitter page. For more information e-mail here.


To join the Facebook page use the link here. Twitter link here.


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May 2010 Archives

Local News                                                        Saturday May 1st 2010

Salmon song



Journey To Save The Salmon

Paddle group stops at Island 22 to pick up petitions



Fish ecosystems in Scotland and Norway have been decimated by sea lice and marine biologist Alexandra Morton doesn't want the same thing happening here.


A group of slightly damp but highly motivated canoeists and kayakers stopped at Island 22 Thursday on a journey west via the Fraser River in the "Paddle For the Wild Salmon."


Like salmon following their instincts, the paddlers are determined to migrate in their canoes across the Strait of Georgia to Sidney but not before stopping to collect more petitions at Fort Langley, Maple Ridge, Musqueam and at other appointed stops.


The paddlers hope to be swamped with signatures on petitions at the riverside ceremonies on their way to meeting up with Morton in Sydney on May 8. From that point they will continue their march under Morton's "Get Out Migration" banner to Victoria.


Once there, they hope the Liberal government will listen to their ardent cries to put an end to salmon farming on the West Coast. Morton is presently about midway on her trek from one end of the island to the other.

                                                                                                                Paddle Organizer Elena Edwards.


The flotilla left Hope on Wednesday and spent their first night at Cheam Beach where June Quip and fellow band members opened their Longhouse and welcomed the determined Argonauts in a spiritual ceremony that included dancing, songs, drumming, stories and food.


On the following day, they reached Island 22 where Fraser Valley Salmon Society Director, Chris Gadsden, handed-off about 100 signatures to organizer Elena Edwards. Also waiting, were Squiala Nation's Williams family, who greeted the group with songs and drumming as they arrived.


There is a groundswell of support accumulating as the trip moves down the river raising awareness.


"We know that these people (paddlers) are doing good work in bringing this to the public's attention about what's going on," said Gadsden.


For more on this story and to view the photo gallery go here.



                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice