Friday - Feb. 16, 2024 - Upgrades coming for Sumas Prairie flood protections

☀️ High 8C

Good morning!

There’s a lot of talk about banning cell phone use in schools right now. A provincial plan was announced, and some school districts (like Abbotsford) are building their own policies. But, as someone who went to high school with an iPhone 4 in her pocket (or, often, stuck in the top of her knockoff Ugg boots) I’m really curious: at what point were cell phones actually ever allowed?

– Grace

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.


On Sumas Prairie, BC hedges bets
against Ottawa and Washington

Provincial officials visited Abbotsford Wednesday to announce pump station upgrades they say couldn't wait. But other flood-improvement work has yet to be approved. 📷️ BC Government

Barrowtown Pump Station couldn’t wait. But bigger and better flood protection upgrades elsewhere on Sumas Prairie will have to. 

With Ottawa dragging its feet and Washington State reluctant to build a dike along the Nooksack, the province announced Wednesday that flood-proofing the pump station couldn’t wait any longer. Premier David Eby announced the province will spend more than $76 million to construct a new flood wall and increase redundancy protections at the Barrowtown Pump Station, which was nearly inundated and almost failed during the 2021 flood. 

The station was saved only through the efforts of a legion of volunteers who built a wall of sandbags to keep the floodwaters from shutting down the facility—potentially for months.


Need to Know

🍇 BC wine grape crops could lose 99% of their fruit after January’s cold snap [CTV]

🚘️ Three car crashes clogged a Langley overpass Thursday morning [Langley Advance Times]

📱 Abbotsford is planning to restrict cell phone use in schools [Abbotsford News]

🕳️ Langley construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline is nearly finished [Langley Advance Times]

💊 BC naturopathic doctors are asking the province to let them prescribe safer supply drugs [CTV]

🚔️ The IIO is investigating a man’s death after RCMP wellness checks [Langley Advance Times]

👉️ Two teens were allegedly intentionally hit with a car in Abbotsford [Abbotsford News]

📄 A non-profit in Chilliwack is looking for more volunteer tax-filers to help local seniors [Chilliwack Progress]

➡️ St. Joseph’s food bank in Mission is fundraising for more space [Mission Record]

👕 Aldergrove’s fibromyalgia thrift store will open at its new location soon [Langley Advance Times]; Last fall, we wrote about the relocation of the thrift store as part of our look at the changing face of Aldergrove [FVC]

The Agenda

Victoria’s bike valet has been popular since its 2022 launch; Langley City wants to try something similar for large downtown events. 📷️ City of Victoria

Langley City explores bike valet options

Langley City is planning more measures to encourage cycling—and to discourage bike theft—in the city.

One of the plans is a bike valet service for special events. The bike valet, a popular project in other cities in the province, (most notably Victoria’s, which runs every day) provides a coat-check-like way for the public to lock up their bikes. Staff check in each bicycle, store them in a secure area, and return them to the owner when they come back. 

Council directed staff to review the possibility of setting up the city’s first bike valet near the Douglas Recreation Centre this spring for either Earth Day in April or Community Day.

The city is also examining opportunities to install new bike racks at city hall. The new racks, which are “U” or “O” shaped, make it easier to lock both front and back tires to a rack. 

Robberies vs. thefts

In a newsletter last week, a Need To Know item mentioned that thefts in Mission were up, while robberies were down. One reader asked whether they’re the same crime so it’s worth explaining how the two are different—because it’s fairly large.

Basically, a robbery is a theft with violence, or the threat of violence. In practice, what that means, is that a robbery usually occurs with face-to-face contact between robber and victim. Imagine a bank robbery. Even when your standard “hand over the cash” bank robbery doesn’t involve violence, they are usually prosecuted as robberies because there is a perceived or implied threat if the money is not produced.

During a theft, meanwhile, the person doing the stealing usually never sees their victim. Imagine a car theft or someone sneaking through a garage. (Of course, breaking and entering brings an additional charge.)

All this means that robbery often brings a jail sentence while simple thefts only occasionally do.

Community journalism needs the entire community for it to succeed.

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💾 Flashback Friday

The Chilliwack Senior High School in Yarrow, 1955. 📷️ Royal BC Archive

Teenagers lounge on the grass at Chilliwack High School in 1955. The school’s journalism class put together that year’s yearbook, which included photos of classmates, pictures of sports teams, cartoons and poetry. Black and white pictures of graduating seniors ran beside their answers to questions about their hobbies, interests, and future ambitions. Students—both young men as well as women—planned careers as commercial pilots, physiotherapists, businesspeople, and teachers. One boy’s ambition was listed as “a caddy convertible for the ‘certain girls’ who, along with jiving, are his main interests.”

🗓 Things to do

🎨 Family painting class: The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack hosts a two-part family art class with instructor John LeFlock starting Saturday, Feb. 17. More details online.

🏒 Hockey: The Abbotsford Canucks host the Calgary Wranglers at Abbotsford Centre Feb. 17 and 19. Tickets online.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Family fun day: The District of Kent hosts a free family fun day at the rec centre on Saturday, Feb. 17 with healthy snacks and bouncy castles. Details online.

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Catch up

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Grace Giesbrecht

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