Friday - March 8, 2024 - A year in a school trustee's shoes

🌧 High 8C

Good morning!

I’m still planning my Europe trip for this spring and I’m starting to get nervous because I have procrastinated on making a lot of the decisions. And when I say a lot of them, I mean, well, all of them. I might be the most indecisive person I know. But it’s fine. If all else fails, I’m booking a plane ticket to London or Paris and making all the choices when I get there.

But I’m curious: how far in advance do you plan your vacations? Let me know (and maybe scare me into making some choices!) in the poll below.

– Grace

When you travel, do you...

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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.


Power, politics, and a meme gone wrong:
A new trustee learns on the job

Teri Westerby was elected to the Chilliwack School Board in the fall of 2022. 📷️ Tyler Olsen

Learning how to do any new job takes time.

You have to listen to your more experienced colleagues. You familiarize yourself with your surroundings, your material, and your organization. You find where you can make a difference, and where you’re better off relying on those with more knowledge and training. But doing everything right can only get you so far.

Sometimes you need to screw up. Even (or especially) when you’re a politician.

  • Over the course of a year, Tyler repeatedly interviewed new Chilliwack school board trustee Teri Westerby to understand how a new politician learns on the job, tries to make a difference, and comes to a new understanding of what being in power really means. We have that story today.

  • In a coming edition, we’ll have a story about another would-be politician and the tough decisions that come with deciding to run for office.


Need to Know

🛍️ The Abbotsford Flea Market is closing down for good [Abbotsford Flea Market/Facebook]

🚆 Design and construction teams have been picked for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project [Langley Advance Times]

📕 A Chilliwack writer won an international award for her non-fiction book about losing tens of thousands of dollars to fraud [Chilliwack Progress]

👉️ An Abbotsford man has been charged with three child-pornography offences [Abbotsford News]

🏀 A pair of UFV women’s basketball players were honoured at a U-Sports event [Mission Record]

➡️ Three inmates have been charged with a stabbing inside an Abbotsford prison [Abbotsford News]

👮‍♀️ A Mission man was shot to death in Toronto [Mission Record]

👍️ Ten Abbotsford students were selected as Indigenous role models for next year [Abbotsford News]

🪲 An invasive beetle is wreaking havoc—and attracting racoons—in Mission gardens [Mission Record]

➡️ An Abbotsford McDonald’s is facing discrimination allegations from a customer who didn’t wear a mask [Abbotsford News]

🍽️ Nominate your favourite Fraser Valley restaurants. Give your local restaurants some love and nominate them for the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates. Enter your nominations here.


Come celebrate Festival du Bois, March 8-10

This weekend, say “bonjour” to the 35th Anniversary Festival du Bois, starting tonight, March 8 and running to March 10 in Maillardville/Coquitlam’s Mackin Park. Come hear (and dance to) live Acadian, folk and world music, see fun shows for kids and families, explore the Métis Village Experience, sample delicious cuisine traditionnelle – and much more!

The fabulous music lineup features New Brunswick’s talented La Famille LeBlanc, carrying on their Acadian family heritage, Vishtèn Connexions from PEI beautifully blends Acadian and Celtic music with rock and Indi-folk influences. La Famille Léger and Podorythmie, from Washington State, play the music and dance of French Canada – and introduce you to crankies! For kids, there’s Will’s Jams and Missy D.

The Agenda

A rendering for Langley Township’s soccer park plans shows a covered turf field and a big, wooden-arch based building. 📷️ Langley Township

Langley Township’s new soccer park will now cost $154.7 million 

A new youth soccer campus planned for the Smith Neighbourhood in Langley Township has new plans—and a new price tag to go with them. 

The soccer campus near the intersection of 76th Avenue and 209th Street has been in the works for two years. When the project first came up, the cost was estimated at about $40 million. Last December, the Township’s budget included $100 million for the three-field project.

Last week, city staff came back to council with more details about the plans and a new, $150 million budget for the park. That figure includes $22 million to prepare the site, $5.3 million for a fourth turf field, $26 million for the basics of the park (two turf fields and park amenities) and $63 million for an indoor turf field. Parking and other costs make up another few million dollars. 

The $63 million building is the more-expensive, but much prettier, option that staff presented to council. It would be constructed with wooden arches instead of metal panels. 

The Township is funding the park’s construction with a mixture of development cost charges and community amenity contributions (which come from developers) and borrowing. Currently, $58.9 million of the cost is slated to be covered by borrowed funds with developers expected to ante up the rest. The school district will be asked to pitch in to upsize one of the fields for rugby. Mayor Woodward insisted that property taxes wouldn’t pay the bill for the park.

Coun. Kim Richter warned that the township was borrowing a lot of money.  

“I don’t know where the money’s going to come from,” she said. “We can’t keep borrowing like this.”

Other council members were largely supportive of the growing plans for the park. Some spoke to how backed-up local fields already were and others to how important soccer is to the development of strong citizens.

“It’s a great opportunity for the future,” Coun. Steve Ferguson said.“Unfortunately, it is an awful lot of money.”

The first phase of the park could be open as soon as summer 2025.

Community journalism needs the entire community for it to succeed.

As part of a membership, you get our special weekend roundup of all the things you might’ve missed each week!

💾 Flashback Friday

Boston Bar’s old fire hall. 📷️ Royal BC Museum Archives

Boston Bar’s new fire hall opened in 1954. The hall had a garage with room for two vehicles—one fire truck and one that could be an ambulance. The hall was also home to the local branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

🗓 Things to do

🎵 Music festival: Local bands Big Duke Sorrow, The Bobby's, and Joanie Loves Chachi play Spring Rockuinox 2024 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre HUB International Stage Saturday, March 9. Tickets online.

🦢 Nature walk: The Great Blue Heron’s monthly Heron Walk will take place on Saturday, March 9. Join them for a free, hour-long guided tour to learn more about Great Blue Herons. Details online

🤣 Comedy fundraiser: The Fort Pub in Fort Langley will host a comedy show raising money for the BC Hospice Association on Saturday, March 9. Details online.

That’s it!

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Grace Giesbrecht

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