Thursday, May 25, 2023 — Harrison governance crisis pauses playground

Fraser Valley Current

Thursday, May 25, 2023 | ⛈ High 27C | Forecast

Good morning!

I coach my kids’ soccer team. It’s fun to help a very diverse bunch of kids learn a sport I love. But it also leads to some interesting moments. Some kids go out there and run around after the ball like you’d expect. But other kids, well, you have to yell at them. Not a mean yell. Just a loud “Go buddy, get that ball!” will send them off enthusiastically chasing an opponent, like they had just realized that they were in the middle of a soccer game.

It can be a little like playing a 50-year-old video game with players who only move when you tell them exactly what to do. It’s exhausting, but great fun. Even when you notice that one of your friendliest kids is taking a throw-in while at the same time clutching a sharpened stick that looks like a prison shiv.

Our agenda includes an item on a controversial farm property near Cultus Lake. Members can scroll to the bottom of this story for some additional thoughts and context on the use of agricultural land in BC and what is, and isn’t, considered farmable.

Thanks to members like Glenda, Mervyn, and Norman. Learn about becoming a member here.

Tyler Olsen

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Bickering politicians will pause playground work

Harrison Hot Springs governance crisis, and a lack of senior staff at the village hall (top right) will delay the acquisition of a new playground. 📷 Kyle Hislop/Shutterstock; Google Street View; Village of Harrison.

The job has everything: a top leadership position with the power to make a difference in a community; a life in a picturesque village near urban amenities; a six-figure salary.

And also: a whole lot of red flags.

Being Harrison Hot Springs’ next chief administrative officer sounds like a pretty swell job—if you don’t mind dealing with one of the province’s most dysfunctional councils on a daily basis.

Three months after the tiny municipal council asked the province for help, the situation at Harrison’s village hall has only grown more dire, with more staff departures. And while the village’s mayor says he hopes he and council can work better together, the staff exodus is beginning to delay projects with a direct impact on residents—and children—in the community.

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Need to know

🚤 Drag boat racing is returning to the Fraser River near Mission this July [Mission Record]

🔥 Mounties say they have a suspect in a fire that destroyed a large retail tent in Langley Saturday morning [Langley Advance Times]

🚧 Maintenance on two Mission dams this summer will close roads [City of Mission]

🐴 A Chilliwack woman seriously injured by a horse says she isn’t mad at the animal [Chilliwack Progress]

🔎 Langley police are seeking help finding a 28-year-old man reported missing last week [Langley RCMP]

👩‍⚕️ A palliative care nurse says her work lets her see people at their very best [Mission Record]

⚖ Charges have been laid in connection with a standoff that led to a house burning down in Chilliwack Monday [Chilliwack Progress]

👉 Students are auditing recycling bins in Mission; those with too much contamination will be rejected for pick-up [City of Mission]

🤿 Kent officials say replacing a diving board at the local pool would have cost $7,000, including $3,000 for an engineer [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

🏍 A novice motorcyclist was clocked travelling 209 km/h on the Coquihalla [Infotel]

CURRENT CAM: We weren’t sure if you were going to be able to identify the plain white exterior of Mountain View Brewing in Hope, but many of you came through, with Teresa being the very first. Good job!

☺ TODAY’S SMILE: A duck mom had a close call, but eventually led her charges to safety [Twitter]

The Agenda

Nine thousand tonnes of waste were dumped on a Columbia Valley property last year. 📷 Fraser Valley Regional District

Controversial waste site won’t be allowed to process material

The owners of a Columbia Valley property where thousands of tons of debris have been dumped will have to remove the material.

The unofficial dump of material on a 40-acre agricultural property south of Cultus Lake has angered neighbours and sparked a wave of protests. The owners said the waste would be used for compost after the bad bits had been filtered out. They belatedly submitted an application to legalize the screening of compost and debris material and allow some of it to remain on site. But last week, the Fraser Valley Regional District declined to forward the application to the Agricultural Land Commission, ensuring that the debris on the site would remain illegal.

The Ministry of Environment sent a series of warning letters last fall, prompting the application for permission to process the material.

Many of the local concerns surrounded the health of the local aquifer, FVRD director Taryn Dixon said.

“The community… really have made it clear that this is not something that’s wanted in our community,” she said.

The owner had also indicated that they hoped to establish a permanent composting facility, but that would require the Fraser Valley Regional District’s sign-off.

Cultus homes get height cap

Future homes built along Cultus Lake will have to be built a little shorter than their predecessors. The Fraser Valley Regional District voted last week to reduce the maximum height of waterfront homes built along Lakeshore Drive. The move is being made, in part, to preserve the views of other homes in the area. You can read more on the changes here.

Throwback Thursday

📷 James Crookall/Vancouver Archives

More than a century ago, in 1918, prolific Vancouver-area photographer James Crookall snapped the above photograph and captioned it ‘Starling at Abbotsford.’

It was one of at least a couple motorcycle-themed photographs Crookall took in Abbotsford. You can find another—captioned ‘Morrison at Abbotsford—here.

🗓 Things to do


🎭 Jeeves: Gallery 7 Theatre presents Jeeves Intervenes. The comedy runs from until May 27 at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford. Tickets begin at $12.

🛶 Slough challenge: Friends of the Camp/Hope Sloughs are hosting their 2023 Paddle the Slough Challenge. Participants are encouraged to travel the sloughs, snap pictures or take video, and enter them for a chance to win prizes. Register online. Maps will be provided.

🎭 Beauty & Beast: Ignite Theatre in Chilliwack marks its 10th anniversary with a production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” starring student actors. The play runs May 25 to 27 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Tickets online.

🔎 Open archives: The Chilliwack Archives holds tours of its collection on the last Friday of each month. Get a sneak peak into Chilliwack's history and the world of archival science.

Thursday, May 25

🎭 Theatre fest: The Chilliwack Players Guild hosts Stage 43, who perform God of Carnage at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre as part of its Fraser Valley Zone Theatre Festival. Details online.

🎸 Live music: Gordie Tentrees performs at Bozzini’s Restaurant in Chilliwack. Tickets online.

Friday, May 26

🎭 Theatre fest: The Chilliwack Players Guild hosts Emerald Pig, who perform The Last Real Summer at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre as part of its Fraser Valley Zone Theatre Festival. Details online.

🎤 Tribute shows: The Clarke Theatre in Mission hosts a double-bill of tribute shows, with performances featuring the music of both Elton John and Billy Joel. Details online.

🏫 Gala anniversary: Brookswood Secondary in Langley is hosting a weekend-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, with a car night, met gala, and more. Details online.

Saturday, May 27

🏀 Basketball begins: The Langley-based Vancouver Bandits open their season on the road Saturday against the Winnipeg Sea Bears. The first home game at the Langley Events Centre is set for June 3.

👉 Creek Clean-up: Local environmental groups are teaming up to clean up Lane Creek in Mission May 27. The Fraser Valley Invasive Species Society will also host a workshop. Details online.

🐝 Bee fest: The Langley Demonstration Garden hosts its annual Festival of the Bees May 27 featuring beeswax candle-making, seed bomb creating, a plant sale and more. The kid-friendly event runs from 10am to 2pm. Details online.

🛶 Paddle practice: Take a free 45-minute introductory kayaking lesson from a certified instructor on Cultus Lake on Saturday. Choose from a 1pm, 2pm, or 3pm start time. Suitable for adults and children over seven years old. Register online.

🎻 Recital: Chilliwack Academy of Music students perform at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre May 27. Attendance is free. Details online.

🎶 Ukuleles: The Langley Ukulele Association presents With a Little Aloha in two shows, at 3 and 7pm, at Chief Sepass Theatre in Langley. Tickets online.

🎸 Blues music: The Brandon Isaak Trio perform at the Eagles Hall in Abbotsford at 8pm. Tickets online.

🎙 Bar band: Head Over Heels performs at Whiskey Richard’s in Chilliwack. Cover is $10 at the door.

👟 Trail running: The Run For Water hosts its trail races on Sumas Mountain, with 10km, 25km and 50km routes. Details online.

🥭 Farmer’s market: The Mango Market includes food trucks, artisans and prizes in the parking lot of Gateway Community Church in Abbotsford. Details online.

🏁 Car racing: The Agassiz Speedway hosts its ladies night Saturday. Tickets at the gate or online.

Sunday, May 28

👟 Road running: The Run for Water in Abbotsford takes place Sunday, with 5km and 10km routes. Both start at Mill Lake. Details online.

🎤 More Elton: The Yellow Brick Road Experience, an Elton John Tribute Show, takes over the Chilliwack Cultural Centre Sunday. Tickets online.

🌳 Tree talk: Arboriculturist Susan Murray will give a presentation on trees from around the world at Trinity Memorial United Church in Abbotsford on Sunday at 5pm. The by-donation fundraiser will help plant trees in Abbotsford, and is also a potluck dinner. Register online by Friday at noon to attend.

🎼 Ensemble anniversary: The Cascadia Wind Ensemble is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a concert featuring favourite songs from the last decade on Sunday May 28 at 3 pm at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford. Tickets and more information are available online.

🚶‍♀️ Walk for a cause: The Alzheimer Society of BC hosts a fundraiser walk Sunday starting at Gardner Park in Abbotsford at noon. Details online. 

Soccer Sunday: Langley-based Vancouver FC hosts Valour FC Sunday at 5pm at Willoughby Stadium at Langley Events Centre. Tickets online.

Tuesday, May 30

The Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Society celebrates its 2023-24 season with entertainment, information boosts, and a featured arts exhibition on May 30. Details online.

Wednesday, May 31

🥍 The Langley Thunder host the New Westminster Salmonbellies in Western Lacrosse Association action at the Langley Events Centre. Tickets online.

Catch up

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Tyler Olsen: How satellites reveal the versatility of BC’s farmland

Today’s agenda includes a piece on a controversial property south of Cultus Lake.

One of the reasons given for the need for the fill was “that the soil consists of glacial till deposits at shallow depths which makes farming difficult due to resistance to root penetration and poor water retention.”

It’s not uncommon in the Fraser Valley to hear a property owner claim that their agricultural land is not actually farmable. But when the experts do weigh in, they usually come to the conclusion that the land can actually be used for farming. And satellite images back them up: you can grow things in remarkable places in BC.

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