Friday - July 5, 2024 - Harrison businesses focus on free parking


☀ High 29C

Good morning!

Yesterday, we asked you to send in your questions about trains for an upcoming story. I’m delighted by how many of you have already sent in your queries—mostly about the old interurban line, which has a long and complicated history. If you have any questions about rail in the Fraser Valley, please fill out this form. We’ll be taking questions until Monday, July 8, after which we will start researching the answers to those questions.

As we mentioned yesterday, we’d love to connect with any current or past CPKC, CN, or SRY employees who might read The Current and want to help us answer some questions (or talk about your time workin’ on the railroad)! Just reply back to this email if that’s you.

– 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.


The art of the soapbox

The Mission Soapbox Derby has risen from the dead once again, and will be heading to a hill near Hatzic Elementary on July 6 this year. 📷 Mission Soapbox Derby Association/Facebook

It’s not often a kid pushing four-feet-tall gets plunked in a car, trusted with a steering wheel, and told to drive downhill as fast as they can.

On Saturday, July 6, dozens of Mission kids will climb into colourfully decorated cars for a time-honoured tradition: a gravity-powered street race. Still years from being allowed to drive legally, some of the children will be unsure about barrelling down a steep hill on a city street in a wooden vehicle held together by nails. But by the time they get to the bottom of the hill, they’ll likely be grinning ear to ear.

“When they come out for registration, [the kids say] ‘No, I don't want to do that,’” Mission Soapbox Derby Association president Joe Del Grosso says. “Then you put them in a car and they’ve got big smiles, right? Because they get to drive a car at seven years old.”


Need to Know

🚔 Abbotsford police are recommending charges against a man who intentionally hit two teens with his car last February [CityNews]

🥃 Seabird Island is aiming to track down Moonshine makers in the community, after their products harmed some drinkers [Sq’éwqel (Seabird Island)]

👉 An Abbotsford man won’t be eligible for parole for 13 years after he admitted to murdering his wife in 2022 [CityNews]

🏳‍🌈 Hope’s second Pride Festival saw more than 100 people join the celebration [Hope Standard]

⛺ Abbotsford’s homeless residents continue to protest at city hall for a place to set up their tents [CityNews]

🚓 Langley RCMP are investigating a three-vehicle crash in Walnut Grove that happened over the weekend [Langley Advance Times]

🧯 Firefighting foam that accidentally released from a disconnected hose has led to a ‘catastrophic event’ in Abbotsford’s Stoney Creek [Abbotsford News]

🐍 A rattlesnake is on the loose in Seabird Island [Sq’éwqel/Facebook]

👀 A Mission woman says a man was hiding naked in the bush and masturbating while she was tanning at Norrish Creek [Mission Record]

⚖ A former Canadian soldier pleaded guilty to murdering Abbotsford gangster Jimi Sandhu in 2022 [Vancouver Sun]

🚗 Kingpin Lounge in Hope no longer needs to keep its parking lot just for cars, according to a new council decision [Hope Standard]

📞 Mission’s fire department has warned residents about scam calls claiming to be from the department [Mission Record]

🍁 An Abbotsford trans woman says she is ‘angry and hurt’ that an anti-SOGI group participated in Abbotsford’s Canada Day parade [Abbotsford News]

🎺 Chilliwack Community Band is looking for a new conductor [Fraser Valley Today]

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The Harrison Festival returns with the 45th Anniversary event

From July 12-21, the Harrison Festival of the Arts will be celebrating its 45th edition. The festival includes two stages, backed by the panoramic vista of Harrison Lake, as well as an evening of theatre, hands-on workshops, an art exhibit, and a Children’s Day midweek. With an intimate and laid-back feel, the event will feature the best in roots music from Canada and abroad.          

For this anniversary year, the festival has invited back some old friends. Names like Harry Manx, Barney Bentall, and Locarno are well known out here in BC, and certainly have been frequent returnees to the Harrison Memorial Hall stage over the past few decades. Also returning is one of Scotland’s legendary Celtic bands, Shooglenifty, known for it’s “acid croft” music that blends traditionally-influenced highland melodies with trance-like grooves.

The Agenda

Harrison Hot Springs expanded its pay parking last year, and now 15 local businesses want to highlight the free option available to tourists. 📷 Dgu/Shutterstock

Harrison businesses want to showcase free parking

People parking along Harrison’s waterfront need to pay upwards of $2 an hour, but some local businesses want more tourists to be aware of free options, especially after council expanded pay parking to historically free parking spots.

In a letter to Harrison council, 15 local businesses asked the village to redo its signage for the empty grass lot beside the village hall. Currently, the lot has an aging sign that reads “overflow parking,” and is largely used for high-volume events like Canada Day or Sasquatch Days. The businesses want Harrison to change that signage to read “FREE ALL-DAY PARKING HERE.”

“This could offer relief to struggling families and perhaps allow them to cut their costs of parking and allow them to spend on other things for their visit,” the letter reads. The letter also suggests it could draw more people to the new Sasquatch Museum, located on the same street as the overflow parking lot.

The letter suggests that parking revenue would likely not go down, although it provides no rationale for that statement. Last year, Harrison expanded its pay parking system to Lillooet Avenue West, which was previously a free option for patrons wanting to park near the waterfront. The village brought in $377,566 in pay parking revenue in 2023.

The letter, signed by waterfront businesses like Rocky Mountain Chocolate and Morgan’s Bistro, and its new sign proposal will come before council on Monday.

DFO aims to connect Cultus salmon research building to sewer system

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans could soon be paying for part of Cultus Lake’s sewer service.

The Cultus Lake Salmon Research Facility has long been on an individual septic system with an onsite absorption field for its wastewater. However, the system is aging and the DFO wants the federally-owned property to be connected to the Fraser Valley Regional District’s local sewer system. The change would require the federal government to build new sewer infrastructure on the property to connect it to the FVRD’s system, and pay a one-time connection fee of $13,000. The DFO would then pay more than $3,000 a year in service charges.

The sewer connection would be a benefit to the salmon lab, which has 11 full-time employees, and would also allow for more properties within the Cultus Lake Parks Board jurisdiction to connect to sewer service in the future.

The proposed change will need several readings, approval from the Inspector of Municipalities, and final adoption from the FVRD board before DFO can begin working on the new sewer system.


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🗓 Things to do

Berry festival: Abbotsford's Berry Fest returns downtown on Saturday, July 6 at noon. Enjoy carnival rides, live entertainment, and of course local berries. Details online.

Movie night: Chilliwack's Cedarbrook Park hosts an outdoor movie night on Saturday, July 6. Bring your chair and watch School of Rock starting at 8pm. Details online.

Outdoor concert: Hope's Concerts in the Park kicks off on tonight with a performance by Cookin' with Brass. The funky brass band will be in the Memorial Park bandshell starting at 6:30pm. Details online. Read our recap of free concerts here.

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

Catch up

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