Thursday - Feb. 15, 2024 - A primer on the election to come

🌤️ High 7C

Good morning!

I like Valentine’s Day. But I love Feb. 15. For me—and anyone else who’s responsible for buying their own chocolate—it’s a whole new holiday. It’s Cheap Chocolate Day. It, and its cousin, Nov. 1 (the day after Halloween) are celebrated in Walmart and Dollarama candy aisles everywhere.

– 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.

NEWS

The election to come: Chilliwack and Hope

Three ridings in the eastern Fraser Valley have been reconfigured, with political consequences in October’s provincial election. 📷️ Tyler Olsen

It has already been four years since BC’s 2020 pandemic election, which means it’s time for another vote—but things are looking different this time. 

Re-shaped ridings and new party dynamics are mixing up provincial politics in the Fraser Valley. With some candidates already announced, and with just eight months until voters head to the polls in the Fraser Valley, the 2024 election is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and contested votes in the region’s political history.

Related

Need to Know

💵 The province is investing more than $76 million in upgrades to the Barrowtown pump station in Abbotsford

🔥 The low snowpack in BC’s mountains could lead to a bad wildfire season [National Observer]

🎒 A BC gifted student program has paused admissions over concerns for student’s mental health [Business in Vancouver]

🐐 The Langley Farmers Institute is looking for new members [Langley Advance Times]

🚜 Tractorgrease, a Chilliwack concert venue that closed during the pandemic, is holding a one-night revival [Chilliwack Progress]

🛵 An Abbotsford man was caught on a stolen scooter [Abbotsford News]

💕 New BC research shows that how you meet a romantic partner—whether online or off—impacts who you meet [CTV]

🚔️ A stolen truck led to the arrest of one man in Langley on Monday night [Langley Advance Times]

🏋️ A Langley senior who started hitting the gym at 95 says it has given him a ‘cozier look on life’ [CTV]

🚔 Police say a man in Abbotsford deliberately drove his vehicle into two people; the man has been arrested [CityNews]

👉 People living at the Cole Road rest stop say they’re doing their best but have nowhere to go [CTV]

🔥 No one was injured in a fire that destroyed two rooms at the Skagit Motel in Hope early Wednesday morning [Global News]

📱 Mission school district is re-evaluating cell phone use in schools as provincial legislation looms [Mission Record]

✒️ Thousands of BC residents have signed an online petition demanding changes to wildfire response in the province [CTV]

📷️ CURRENT CAM: We’ve missed announcing the winners of some Current Cams over the last few weeks. Thanks to Chris for letting us know!

➡️ Jan. 31: Ruth Mitchell was the first to correctly guess that the location of Current Cam was the Matsqui Recreation Centre sign.

➡️ Feb. 7: Greg Vanderhoek was the first to correctly guess that the location of the Current Cam was the new feed mill in Chilliwack.

➡️ Feb. 14: Melissa McLeod was the first to correctly guess that the location of this week’s Current Cam was the Abbotsford Pentecostal Church.

🏠 An upcoming Official Community Plan amendment will enable Abbotsford Tech District to build affordable housing for young people and families alongside high-quality education and well-paying jobs.*

*Sponsored Listing

The Agenda

Langley Township’s RCMP building is more than 30 years old.

Langley Township agrees to fund fitness centre, security upgrades for RCMP detachment

Langley Township council agreed to spend several million on upgrades to its RCMP detachment building over the next few years—$4 million of which will add a new fitness centre to the aging building. 

The detachment’s current gym is in an old storage space and has poor ventilation and no natural light. Plans and budget estimates for the project are still preliminary, but Coun. Van Popta warned that construction costs could balloon beyond $4 million. 

“When you open up a 33-year-old-building…and try to build a second storey on it, we’re going to have some complications I’m sure,” she said. “It’s still needed, but will probably require additional funding.”

The entire project is expected to cost $9.4 million. In addition to the gym, that will pay for security system upgrades, fencing, and other external security work.

$1.5 million of the proposed funding was approved for the coming year and council pre-approved $4 million for 2025. An additional $2.7 million will go towards the external security measures in 2025, and another $1.2 million was earmarked for other improvements on the RCMP headquarters in 2026.

Eby salutes departing De Jong

After 30 years representing Abbotsford, MLA Mike de Jong has announced that he won’t run in the upcoming provincial election.

De Jong, who is 60, said he isn’t ruling out running federally for the Conservatives in Abbotsford. But he said that he also wants to spend more time at home and do “some different things.”

De Jong was elected in a 1994 by-election that has been seen as signalling the rise of the BC Liberals and the fall of the Social Credit Party. 

In a press conference Wednesday in Abbotsford, Premier David Eby paid tribute to De Jong. Eby said that while he and De Jong agreed on little, his counterpart (and predecessor as Attorney General) was friendly, “never made things personal,” and was a skilled debater in the legislature.

“When I was in opposition and asking him hard questions in question period—at least I thought they were hard—he always had very good and, frankly, challenging answers to push back on,” he said. “He’s very good on this feet, he’s a bright guy, and he contributed a lot.”

The press conference was held to announce funding for pump station upgrades in Abbotsford. You can find information on that announcement in the Need To Know section above.

Late last year, the province and Washington State announced a framework to guide discussions about the Nooksack River and its habit of flooding Sumas Prairie. Tyler asked Eby Wednesday what, if anything, the province had gotten out of those discussions. We’ll have the answer tomorrow.

🗓 Things to do this week/end

♥️ Valentines improv: Very Very Improv is putting on a Valentines improv show on Feb. 16 and 17 at the Bez Arts Hub in Langley. Details online.

🫀 Science scavenger hunt: The Explore Science Club is running a heart-themed GPS scavenger hunt in Langley’s Campbell Valley Regional Park on Saturday, Feb. 17. Details online.

🎪 Winter circus: Flip Fabrique’s Blizzard, a circus show set in the middle of winter, will be at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Friday, Feb. 16. Details online.

Want even more? Insider members get a comprehensive events listing every Thursday, plus a weekly Saturday round-up edition with behind-the-scenes content. Becoming a member costs less than $2 a week and helps support the ongoing production of The Current’s newsletters and in-depth journalism. Become a member here.

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Catch up

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Grace Giesbrecht

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