Wednesday - April 3, 2024 - Your perspective

🌦 High 10C | 🌤 Local forecast: Langley | Chilliwack | Abbotsford | Hope

Good morning!

A few weeks ago now we heard that a lack of education assistants in a local school district led to students being sent home for the day. We’ve been looking into shortages of education assistants, but getting information from school districts can be a tad, uhhh, tricky. So if your family has been affected by a lack of education assistants—or if you have other relevant information—we would like to hear from you. You can email Grace here.

– Tyler

NEWS

Introducing: Your perspective

One’s view of the Fraser Valley depends on one’s perspective. 📷 HTWE/Shutterstock

Tyler writes: Any artist knows that an object or subject can look radically different depending on one’s perspective.

The same is true for a region like the Fraser Valley, and the issues, challenges, and opportunities encountered by its residents. Which is why The Current seeks out people with an array of expertise, insights, and interesting perspectives on our region.

But we want to open the door up even further. Since starting The Current three years ago, we’ve been asked to consider creating a letters-to-the-editor section. But although I’ve seen the appeal, the logistics of creating such a space posed several challenges.

First, we simply needed a place to put the stuff. There are technological limits to how much stuff we can cram into any one newsletter. Second, there’s what I’ll obliquely call the “everyone has them” problem—for the crude quip alluding to the fact that while we value our own opinions, we often don’t want to hear others’. Any letters section needs to appeal to readers as much as prospective writers. Opinion sections can become uninteresting and dominated by those with the loudest voices, or most free-time, on their hands. We would need to avoid that pitfall.

But inspired by a request for a letters’ section during our members’ online meet-up last week(thanks Allen!), we’ve come up with something that we hope strikes a balance. Once a month, we’re going to solicit readers’ perspectives on a specific topic, while also welcoming feedback or input on other issues in our region.

We’ll collect the best responses, and publish them in a single readers’ views story mid-month. Hopefully this provides a forum for new insight into our region. We are going to call this Readers’ Perspectives. (We already do this a bit in the poll in our members-only weekend newsletter and the replies are consistently terrific.)

Here’s the important part:

We (and, presumably you) don’t want to read the talking points and political statements we’ve all heard before. We want to hear stories and learn new things that change the way we see our region and the issues within it. We want to air new ideas, share different voices and encounter interesting perspectives.

We’ll see how this all works and adjust accordingly.

Here are some quick ground rules. Broadly, you’ll note that we aren’t looking for opinions. Rather, we want your view of our region or a specific topic.

What we want:

  • Information and perspectives we (or other media) missed in a recent story

  • Stories and insight from your life that inform readers’ view on our region or issues of local relevance

  • Positive and interesting stories about our local community

  • Perspectives and first-hand insights on under-reported issues in the Fraser Valley

  • Constructive insight about how local institutions and amenities could be improved

  • A look at your life in the Fraser Valley—tell us about your unique job, fascinating family, or specific challenges you encounter

What we won’t publish:

  • Potentially libellous information

  • Political diatribes

  • Perspectives and ideas that we’ve heard a million times before

  • Information requiring further investigation (We welcome the information and we may examine further for a future story, but we won’t republish unverifiable allegations)

  • Opinions that cast doubt on the humanity of others

  • Content that is predictable, uninteresting, or overly simplified

Keep in mind: we do not expect to be able to publish everything we receive. Thank you for every submission or comment, but we are going to be selective in order to keep the section broadly interesting, diverse, and concise. We may also hold back some submissions for publication later, in a subsequent mailbag edition. So please be patient and understanding. And remember the point is to inform an audience, not simply to provide a forum for anything people want to write. We have social media for that.

On length: short is good; every piece of writing needs to earn readers’ time. Longer submissions will be less likely to be published. Try to keep your submission under 300 words.

Finally, a big note: We put our names on everything we publish and will expect you folks to do the same. With extremely limited exceptions, we won’t publish anonymous perspectives.

April perspective call-out

Our call-outs will also be accompanied by a poll. Just answer the poll in question and leave a response in the attached box with your name. Alternately, you you can leave a comment on this or another topic using this form. (The deadline is April 10.) Please don’t directly email your submissions. They’re liable to get lost in our crowded email inbox.

More families are expected to raise kids in townhomes or apartments. What do our communities need to make that easier?

After clicking an answer, share your perspective in the comment space.

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

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Need to Know

👉 The province is changing its rules to allow First Nations to directly own land [CTV]

🚑 A young Mission man was injured by a car but he can remember little of the collision; police want to know more [Mission Record]

🚨 A man was arrested by the RCMP’s emergency response team following a stand-off in Chilliwack [Chilliwack Progress]

🦥 Abbotsford will host a ‘wildlife festival’ featuring a variety of animals in June [Abbotsford News]

🚔 Three separate assaults—all by multiple perpetrators—occurred over just five days at Kent Institution near Agassiz [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

👋 BC lost more than 8,000 residents to other provinces last year [Canadian Press]

🤼‍♂️ An Abbotsford-raised pro wrestler will take part in WrestleMania [Abbotsford News]

🏠 An upcoming Official Community Plan amendment will enable Abbotsford Tech District to build affordable housing for young people and families, with great jobs nearby.*

*Sponsored Listing

The Agenda

The City of Mission purchased a truck for fire crews to use to respond to medical calls. 📷 City of Mission

Firefighters don’t have to respond to medical calls if cost is an issue, province says

Ask and ye shall not receive. Last year, Mission asked the province to slash stumpage fees, boost disability rates, and fund medic crews. Now the province has offered its tepid response to the city.

Every year, BC municipal politicians craft carefully worded requests that are voted on by other local politicians at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual conference and, if approved, then sent to the provincial government. In response, the province sends a reply back. But those replies are usually short on details and long on vague promises.

This week, the City of Mission received three such replies to resolutions it sponsored at the 2023 Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference.

The city’s three resolutions asked the province to: 1) reduce stumpage fees on municipal tree farm licences in urban interface areas; 2) increase disability assistance from $1,358 per month to at least $1,800 per month; and 3) consider funding medic trucks that are staffed by firefighters but which frequently respond to medical calls.

The province has now responded to all three resolutions and broadly suggested that it is already working to address each.

On forestry, the province said it is working on a plan that will “harmonize stumpage with respect to area-based tenures,” though the response doesn’t mention municipal tree farm licences.

On disability assistance, the province boasted about reviewing disability assistance legislation and pointed to previous increases to disability rates, while not promising any future hikes.

And on medic trucks, the province said it is investing in more paramedics to better respond to medical calls and said Mission municipalities can choose to not send firefighters to non-emergency calls, while ignoring the struggles it has had in adequately staffing ambulances and the fact that firefighters are still expected to attend urgent medical calls.

Correction

Yesterday, we reported that Harrison resident Ross Buchanan had asked the village to purchase 30 sensors and two fire cameras. That was the original idea, but after considering the extreme fire conditions in the East Sector Lands just south and east of the village, Buchanan recommended a 63-sensor, 3-camera system to more comprehensively cover the area. Harrison Hot Springs council was set to receive his recommendation yesterday, but the meeting scheduled for Tuesday afternoon was postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday morning.

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!

📸 Current Cam

Each week we showcase a different photo from across the valley and invite readers to share their best guesses about where it was taken.

Think you know where this week’s Current Cam was taken? Fill out this form.

🗓 Things to do

Food drive: Mission RCMP and Mission Community Services are holding their Cram The Cruiser Food Drive April 5 from 10am to 3pm at Mission’s Superstore. Details online.

BCHL hockey playoffs: The Chilliwack Chiefs and the Langley Rivermen are squaring off in the first round of the BCHL playoffs. The first two games go Friday and Saturday in Chilliwack. Tickets online.

Clarinet concert: The Fraser Valley Symphony presents Rhapsodic Runs, a concert featuring clarinetist Gene Ramsbottom on Sunday, April 7, at the Matsqui Auditorium. Tickets online.

Have an event to tell us about? Fill out this form to have it highlighted here.

Catch up

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Tyler Olsen

 

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