Thursday - March 14, 2024 - The feasibility of community rail

🌞 High 12C

Good morning!

I’m thinking a lot about trains these days. I’m planning a trip to Europe and I bought a rail pass—but I don’t know anyone who has any experience with the train stations of central/eastern Europe. I have plenty of questions (how long does it take to transfer between trains? How do reservations work?) and it really makes me wonder how we nervous creatures planned any kind of travel without the ability to obsessively google every little thing. You know, back in the olden days.

Anyway, today we’re bringing you a story about trains. Specifically, about a train that once existed—and why some people are fighting to get it back.

– Grace

Support local journalism by supporting The Current. Become a Current Insider member today and help bring local stories to life.

Traffic & Weather

🌤 Local forecast: Langley | Chilliwack | Abbotsford | Hope

🚘 Driving today? Check the current traffic situation via Google, and find DriveBC’s latest updates.

🛣 Click here for links to road cameras across the Fraser Valley, including those for the Coquihalla, Highway 7, Hope-Princeton, Fraser Canyon, and Highway 1 in Langley and Abbotsford.


Is community rail feasible?
A skeptic and an advocate discuss

The old community rail line runs through several Fraser Valley communities. 📷️ Google maps

The resumption of rail travel on the interurban corridor through the Fraser Valley sounds like a cool idea. But is it a practical way to deliver necessary transit to the many who would benefit from being able to take a train or bus across the valley?

Last year, Tyler expressed skepticism about the idea in an introduction to The Current’s newsletter. The old interurban line runs from Surrey to Chilliwack. But it is not a straight line but a route that meanders through the Fraser Valley—prompting doubts about its speed and efficiency.

But the insinuation that the route isn’t practical raised the hackles of Rick Green, a former Langley City mayor and one of the longest-lasting and loudest backers of the idea. So The Current called him up to hear his perspective and understand why he and the proposal’s supporters are certain the route is better than both rapid buses and SkyTrain. 


Need to Know

🌃 Nightfall used to bring a reprieve for wildfire fighters on the frontlines; a new study says that may no longer be the case [CityNews Calgary/ Nature]

🎒 A change to school catchment rules in Abbotsford means that First Nations will be allowed to decide which schools its students attend [Abbotsford News]

🎂 A Facebook birthday party scam fleeced two Mission residents [Mission Record]

🚔️ Two people were arrested for shoplifting $53,000 worth of goods in Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford [Langley Advance Times]

🛝 Abbotsford’s Sandy Hill Elementary PAC is fundraising for an accessible playground [Abbotsford News]

🧾 Loblaws is testing out receipt-scanners at self-checkout; the company says organized crime is driving retail theft [CBC]

👩‍🌾 A massive anvil—which might be the world’s largest (Guinness World Records is still deciding)—has found a new home at the BC Farm Museum in Langley [Langley Advance Times]

📸 CURRENT CAM: Congratulations to John Froese, who was the first to correctly identify Townsend Park as the location of yesterday’s Current Cam.

Enjoying our newsletter? Help us make it even better!

Become an Insider member and help keep local journalism and storytelling alive in the Fraser Valley.

The Agenda

Hundreds—if not thousands—of drones will take to Langley’s skies this summer. 📷️ Getty images

Drone show planned for Canada Day in Langley Township

Langley Township is divvying up the money it set aside for community events—and one of the city’s big events is getting a modern makeover.

Canada Day in Langley will be celebrated with a drone light show this summer. The Township will pay $30,000 for the show, which will replace the fireworks display that usually mark the national holiday. Several Canada-Day fireworks shows across the province were canceled last year due to wildfire risk. Langley Township isn’t the first to look for alternative sources of colourful lights in the region: Abbotsford ran a laser-light show instead of fireworks last year.

The new Canada Day plans are part of the township’s efforts to spruce up community events. City staff are divvying up funds that the city set aside for enhancing events in the last budget into different things that the township wants to pay for. 

$26,000 will go towards various smaller events including a senior’s afternoon tea, better catering for a volunteer appreciation event, a pioneers luncheon (which several townships want to change the name of but don’t seem to have the authority to) and summer-movie-in-the-park events. A water fight between local RCMP and firefighters will be funded to the tune of $2,500.

The way the township pays for community events shifted in its last budget. Money for enhancing events, which is handled by staff and given to existing events that need support and new township-run events, increased. Funding allotted to community grants, which are applied for and run by non-profits, decreased. And the mayor got a no-strings-attached fund. Read that story here. 


Curious about what City Council is working on that impacts your community?

Check out some of the important work being done by Abbotsford City Council on the new Your Council in the Community web section, which includes Council Briefs, Blogs as well as photos of Council out and about in our city!

🗓 Things to do this week/end

🎶 Choir concert: The Valley Concert Society is hosting a concert by the Vancouver Chamber Choir at the Matsqui Auditorium in Abbotsford on Friday, March 15. Details online.

🍀 St. Patty’s day: The Jubilee Community Hall in Abbotsford is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Ceilidh (Kay-lee) on Saturday, March 16. Tickets include dancing and a traditional Irish stew. Details online.

🎭️ Dark comedy play: Opening Nite Theatre Society presents the dark comedy, The Boat in the Tiger Suit, from March 8 to 28 at their theatre on Railway Avenue in Mission. Details online.

Want even more? Insider members get a comprehensive events listing every Thursday, plus a weekly Saturday round-up edition with behind-the-scenes content. Becoming a member costs less than $2 a week and helps support the ongoing production of The Current’s newsletters and in-depth journalism. Become a member here.

Have an event to tell us about? Fill out this form to have it highlighted here.

Catch up

That’s it!

Thanks for reading Fraser Valley Current today ♥️ 

If you found something useful, consider forwarding this newsletter to another local.

And before you go, please let us know:

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Grace Giesbrecht

Join the conversation

or to participate.