Tuesday - July 9, 2024 - A call for rail fire suppression

☀ High 35C | Heat warning

Good morning!

I recently visited Whistler for a day, which is more time than I’ve ever spent in the place. As my kid observed, it’s like Sun Peaks, but bigger. Anyways, the highlight of the 24-hour excursion was following my kids around on their bikes. I didn’t have the room to pack my own two-wheeler, so I tried out Whistler’s new e-bike-share program.

It was my first time ever pedalling an e-bike. And I now think they’re the future. Have you tried one? Basically, they makes you feel like you could ride in the Tour de France. I haven’t fully been sold on bikes as a large-scale commuter transportation device, but these things seem to solve some of the hill-and-sweat issues that make cycling to work tricky in BC. They are heavy, cumbersome, and a delight to cruise up a hill on while your children walk their mountain bikes up the side of a steep mountain road.

– Tyler

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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.


To buy an island

The shape of Carey Island is continually changing as the Fraser River deposits sediments and erodes its banks. 📷 Google Earth/Tyler Olsen

On Monday, the Nature Conservancy of Canada announced it had bought a large island sitting on the south side of the Fraser River, immediately north of Chilliwack.

Although $8 million will be spent on buying the property and preserving it for the future, the real value lies in the river channels and gravel bars that surround the undiked island. Those channels and gravel stretches are key habitat for salmon and other species; their value depends on the ability to shift and react to natural processes within the river.

But buying an island specifically because it is unprotected from river erosion raises the prospect that, eventually, a large portion of that property could one day disappear—or that it may grow.


Need to Know

🔥 The City of Mission has implemented a fire ban that includes all open-burning, including recreational fire pits [City of Mission]

🚬 Langley Mounties seized money and contraband cigarettes during a June traffic stop [RCMP]

🚧 Mission council approved a new six-storey apartment building [Mission Record]

🔥 Smoke in a Langley field took hours to extinguish Sunday [Langley Advance Times]

🐟 Abbotsford city officials say more than 1,000 fish were found dead in Stoney Creek following the spill of contaminants from a fire hose [City of Abbotsford/Twitter]

👉 Ron Denman, the long-time former executive director of the Chilliwack Museum & Archives, has died; he is being remembered as “Mr. Museum” [Chilliwack Museum & Archives]

👎 Copper thefts keep leaving a community in rural Mission without internet and phone service [Global]

⌚ Hope Mounties have issued a warning about fraudsters trying to sell fake gold jewelry and watches for cheap [Hope Standard]

⚠ An air quality advisory has been issued for the Fraser Valley [Mission Record]

🚔 Charges have been laid in connection with the seizure of 3-D printed guns in Langley [Langley Advance Times]

🐶 An unknown person has threatened to kill dogs at a Chilliwack park [Chilliwack Progress]

🔎 Mission police are seeking help to find a missing 23-year-old man [RCMP]

👉 Police are still seeking information on the killing of a 33-year-old Seabird Island (Sq’éwqel) woman [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

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Spectacular blues, brews, and beyond at the 2024 cool blues show

Fort Langley Community Park will come alive with 5 blues bands, a beer garden, food trucks, a vendor market, games and more on July 26.

You will have a blast checking out artists like Tom Lavin & The Legendary Powder Blues Band, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Miss Emily, Silent Partners (a tribute to B.B. King) and Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne!

The Agenda

Multiple fires have broken out this month along rail lines in the Spences Bridge area. 📷 Christine Walkem/Facebook

Fraser Canyon First Nation calls for rail companies to provide firefighting resources

A Fraser Canyon First Nation is demanding more oversight and accountability after a series of fires along rail lines near Spences Bridge.

The Chief of Cooks’ Ferry Indian Band says there have been five fires detected near or along CN and CPKC (Canadian Pacific Kansas City) rail lines since April. Three fires have already occurred in July. The last occurred along the CPKC rail line directly across the river from the Cooks’ Ferry reserve. Locals used shovels to keep the flames from jumping the highway before BC Wildfire, along with a fire response train, responded and quelled the blaze. That blaze occurred just three days after the last fire near rail tracks.

Rail fires are not uncommon, and many locals believe that the blaze that burned Lytton in 2021 was sparked by a train. (A subsequent investigation declared there was no concrete evidence that the fire was started by a train, but it also did not rule out the possibility.) That same day, a fire broke out along a rail line near Boston Bar.

The repeated fires have left residents on edge, Cooks Ferry Chief Christine Walkem wrote in a release issued Sunday.

“Our confidence in response is rocked,” Walkem wrote. “Community members are often first to show up on site. First to report and often stay throughout the life of a fire to monitor growth and response… Our quality of life is vastly diminished because of many sleepless nights and worry over safety.”

Walkem called on the federal government to force the rail lines to install fire suppression resources in the area and position fire suppression trains in Spences Bridge.

“CPKC and CN, how many warnings do we need?” she concluded. “Prime Minister Trudeau, do we really need more devastation?”


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