Friday - June 21, 2024 - Othello Tunnels to reopen this summer

☀ High 29C

Good morning!

For the last month, my daughter had been counting down to the first day of summer. In her mind the day will be the most momentous of occasions, when rain will disappear, sunny days will reign supreme, all vacations will commence, and she can eat popsicles without ceasing.

She may have been misinformed about the last two. But at least yesterday was sunny—and she didn’t have to learn right away that the weather doesn’t always agree with our idea of the seasons.

– 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.


Promises, purchases, and Carpenter’s first layoffs

More than half the Everett Herald’s newsroom was laid off this week. The paper was bought this year alongside the Fraser Valley’s Black Press-owned community newspapers earlier. 📷 Caleb Hutton/Twitter

The new corporate owners of the Fraser Valley’s community newspapers have embarked on a buying spree in recent months, as its leaders emphasized the importance of journalism and the renewed promise of print news.

But this week, Carpenter Media Group moved to cut one-quarter of employees at its newly purchased papers in Washington State. The cuts triggered criticism from workers and journalists. They also highlight questions about whether the company can live up to its rhetoric—and whether the 20th Century’s newspaper-conglomeration strategy can work in an online world.


Need to Know

🚑 One person is dead and two others are in critical condition after a Thursday morning house fire in Abbotsford [CTV]

💡 BC Hydro will spend $725 million on electrical upgrades and new substations in Langley [CTV]

📺 Abbotsford’s reality TV star Gurleen Maan will compete in the Amazing Race Canada next season [Abbotsford News]

📙 Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad shared her list of 29 books kids and teens can read for National Indigenous Peoples Day today [CBC]

⚖ An Abbotsford man who pleaded guilty to killing his wife with a hatchet is in court for a judge to decide when he will be eligible for parole [Abbotsford News]

❤ An inquest into the death of a Chilliwack man who was tasered during a visit with his daughter has helped his wife heal [Chilliwack Progress]

🔥 Some BC firefighters worry that extended wildfire seasons and understaffed teams are pushing experienced firefighters to the breaking point, and leaving inexperienced trainees out of their depth [CBC]

💸 Chilliwack Search and Rescue plans to finish its new building this year, but is $750,000 short on cash [Chilliwack Progress]

🍑 Last winter’s cold snap put BC peaches off the menu this year; writer Harrison Mooney struggles to make sense of a summer without them [The Tyee] / We profiled Mooney several times, most recently about his life as an award-winning author [FVC]

🏗 A Langley man is the last surviving worker from the Second Narrows Bridge collapse; he attended the 66th annual memorial for his 19 colleagues who died in the accident [Langley Advance Times]

🚒 A lumber mill in Chilliwack caught fire Wednesday [Chilliwack Progress]

💰 Mission’s 11-storey affordable housing project is in limbo until new funding is found [Mission Record]

⛵ The world’s oldest deep-sea shipwreck has been discovered far off Israel’s northern coast [Scientific American]

🌟 Best of Vancouver: Nominations are now open for the Georgia Straight's annual Best of Vancouver awards. Give some love to your favourite shops, arts and entertainment venues, and so much more.*

*Sponsored Listing


Get your crew together

The Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival has a special offer for the Cool Blues Show on July 26!

Buy 5 tickets, get 1 free!

Get your friends, family or coworkers together for 5 blues performances, a beer garden, vendor market, food trucks, games, and more!

The Agenda

Chilliwack residents are composting less than they were five years ago, and diverting fewer organics from the landfill. 📊 Grace Kennedy

Chilliwack residents composting less than five years ago

More old food and yard waste are heading to Chilliwack’s landfill, as local residents are putting less in their green bins.

According to data in the City of Chilliwack’s newly released annual report, residents composted 9,015 metric tonnes of material in 2023—or roughly 87kg of waste for each person in the city. (That number is an estimate: the total compostable volume only includes municipal waste, which is collected from single-family homes and some multi-family complexes.) That is a fair amount of organic waste—but also the lowest per-capita volume in the last five years.

In 2020, every Chilliwack resident sent roughly 102kg of compost to their green bin. Officials estimated that residents diverted roughly 70% of their organics from the landfill; the rest ended up in Bailey Landfill. (Organic waste that is buried in a landfill does not decompose as quickly as it does in the air, and produces copious amounts of methane as it rots.)

Part of the decrease could be due to an increasing number of multi-family complexes choosing to pay for private collection, rather than municipal curbside pick up. This theory is borne out by the decreasing per-capita volume of recyclables, which went from 42kg per person in 2020 to 35kg per person in 2023.

However, it is also clear that residents as a whole are less likely to use their green bins. In 2023, only 66% of organics were diverted from the landfill, compared to 70% 10 years earlier—meaning that people using Chilliwack’s curbside collection are putting more compost in their trash.

(Two) Othello Tunnels will re-open next month

The province announced Thursday that two of the five tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park will re-open next month.

The five Othello Tunnels—along with access roads, trails, and dozens of other park sites—were severely damaged during the 2021 atmospheric river disaster.

A precise date for re-opening has not yet been announced. In a news release Thursday, the province said that the first phase of restoration work “will allow people to access the park from the parking lot to the end of the second tunnel.” Work at the site includes pinning mesh to portions of the first tunnel’s ceiling and walls, and adding mesh on the top of the canyon slope to prevent debris from falling onto the trail below.

The rest of the park is expected to open next year.


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💾 Flashback Friday

These volunteer nurses kept the makeshift hospital at the Langley Masonic Lodge in apple pie order during the Second World War. 📷 Vancouver Archives AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-1381

While men were largely responsible for planning air raid drills and making sure everyone had blackout paper taped to their windows, women were not absent from civil defence groups in the Second World War. Women’s Auxiliaries across the province were responsible for setting up emergency hospitals, establishing first aid stations, and fundraising. In the Langley auxiliary, women trained as volunteer nurses, and created a makeshift hospital in the Langley Masonic Lodge. The women equipped and maintained the hospital during the latter part of the war.

Pictures were taken of the hospital and its nurses—as well as the Fort Langley Volunteer Fire Brigade, and the Langley Prairie Fire Department—in August 1943 and put on display in a local store.

🗓 Things to do

Juneteenth: Join the Bez Arts Hub in Langley for its Juneteenth Community Festival on Saturday, June 22. Juneteenth is a historic celebration of freedom, and will be marked with live music, room for dancing, food and drinks, and a gathering of the community that aims to educate, empower and embrace the diversity of the Black community in the region. Details online.

Canyon festival: The Yale Historic Site is hosting its first Canyon of Cultures Festival on Saturday, June 22 from noon until 4pm. Head up the canyon to celebrate the diverse cultures found in Yale. Details online.

Nature walk: Join the Fraser Valley Conservancy for a family-friendly walk at McKee Park in Abbotsford on Saturday, June 22. Learn the names of our native plants and hunt for sneaky critters. Details online.

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Catch up

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