Archive for March, 2012
Saturday, March 31st, 2012
(Story and photo by Shaun Glazier)
(Chilliwack, B.C.) The campaign office was packed as nearly 80 people turned out to help Chilliwack-Hope Conservative Candidate John Martin, officially open his campaign office near Cottonwood Mall on Saturday. Martin was joined by B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins, and previous B.C. Liberal-turned Conservative John Van Dongen.
In his welcome speech, Mr. Martin spoke about how B.C. is in for a “dramatic change” in government, and how the current B.C. Liberal government has “lost purpose”… pointing to recent political issues lingering with the sale of BC Rail, to the now scrapped naming rights for BC Place Stadium with Telus. However, while the focus at the meeting was supposed to be on Martin, newly turned Conservative MLA John Van Dongen took a bigger piece of the spotlight. When questioned about why he crossed the floor, Van Dongen pointed to a number of reasons, “the whole process surrounding the naming rights of BC Place”, among others. He was also asked about how his constituents have taken it. He says he thought long and hard about his decision, and that he that he was elected to represent the riding of Abbotsford-South; he’s not a different person today, and he hasn’t taken different policy objectives since he was re-elected.
Speaking about the Conservatives door knocking campaign and what’s he’s heard so far, John Martin says “people have told us that they are ready for change, and that people are seeing the conservatives as an untainted element…we are strongly hopeful that we are going to win this riding”.
Friday, March 30th, 2012
Chilliwack has a new Hospital and Health Care Foundation that plans to introduce some initiatives focussing on prevention of problems.
Director of Community Relations Donna Dixson says the foundation wants to make sure they’re not doing anything redundant. The foundation won’t be focused primarily on equipment, but more towards the programming side.
She says she’s been connecting with stakeholders that have already been doing great things with health.
“We’ll be raising money to enhance existing programs, or if people come to us with programming that will improve health in the community, then we will also be interested in talking to them about how we can assist them.”
Dixson says their master plan will be rolled out during a May launch.
Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Here’s a chance to party and support a great cause at the same time. The “Hometown Hoedown for Hospice” is happening at Evergreen Hall this Saturday night. There will be dinner a dance and a silent and live auction. It runs from 6-midnight. Local musician Todd Richard and his band will be playing, and he says he’s more than happy to do this in support of the Chilliwack Hospice Society. He says everyone has to deal with death…
“…and the hospice society and their volunteers help with that in so many ways. They just started something that’s the first of it’s kind in Western Canada. It’s called a horse whisperer grieve camp, and it’s for kids aged 5-18. They learn trust relationships with horses and other animals…it’s just another outlet for kids who are having to deal with different grief issues. That’s just one of the many things that the Chilliwack Hospice Society is involved in. I love that this is local. I’ve been in Chilliwack most of my life and it’s really great to be a part of it.”
The hospice society is non profit, and its events like these that help them fund those great programs. Tickets for the hoedown are $50, and you can contact the society by going to http://www.chilliwackhospice.org/events.htm
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
Two of the newly renovated Chilliwack Mall’s big tenants are ready to show off to the public.
Winners and the relocated Sport Chek are having their grand openings on Thursday.
Richard Michaeloff is the CEO of Retrocom Real Estate who own the building.
He says they’re excited about bringing new retailers into the market and says they’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about the new retail hub.
“People are anticipating the Winners store opening. The Reitmans store is opening, I believe, April 3rd, which is next Tuesday, and that is new to the market. A little later on in April we’ve got an Osh Kosh store coming in, and that’s about 5,000 square ft and is also new to the market.”
Michaeloff says the renovations to the mall are almost finished.
“New mall flooring, new furniture, upgraded lighting throughout the mall, new restrooms, exterior improvements…”
The grand opening for the indoors will be April 14th.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
RCMP are looking for over $25,000 in stolen native artwork.
Chilliwack mounties were called out to a break and enter in the Ryder Lake area back on February 10th. Approximately 10 native masks worth $10,000 and a large amount of jewelry worth $15,000 were taken. Cbl. Tracy Wolbeck says these items are one of a kind, and are easily identifiable. She says if you come across anyone other than a reputable retailer selling anything like this, to be wary, and call RCMP at 604 792-4611. If you wish to remain anonymous please contact Crimestoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
It took well over two hours last night for Abbotsford residents to have their say about whether Chances should be able to add more slot machines.
Most of the 3 dozen speakers at the public hearing were in favour.
Graham Taylor said gaming is legal in this province and people will go spend their money in other communities if there aren’t enough machines here.
“Restricting and possibly denying the additional slot operations in our local gaming centre will not stop those people in our society with a gambling problem. For those of you on council that I voted for, and like others probably in this audience, we elected you to manage our city’s operations and funds…not our moral compass.”
Aird Flavelle voiced concern about Council getting involved in the expansion of a business.
“By what right do you do that? Are you trying to use your moral conduct, your moral codes to impose them upon me…upon this business? Your worship, this is none of your business. It’s not something you should be considering. It’s a business…it works. Keep your morals to yourself.”
About half a dozen spoke against the application. Evelyn Budzinski said gambling can be very addictive.
“It’s more addictive than crack cocaine is, and machines are intentionally set up this way. Machines are set up for speed and reward…more than 10 games per minute. Also, the hypnotic nature…the lights, the sound and the speed.”
Next Monday the application will come up on the agenda for more debate.
The current application gives a maximum of 300 machines, although BCLC has only authorized Chances to add 50 to their current stable of 125.
Monday, March 26th, 2012
Abbotsford South MLA John Van Dongen has crossed the floor to join the BC Conservatives.
Van Dongen, a long time Liberal, tells us he doesn’t agree with the direction his party has taken over the last year.
“I haven’t seen the renewal that I believe we needed in our party and I believe that the BC Conservative party provides the best option for a broadly based credible free enterprise government in the next election.”
Van Dongen says he’s also disappointed in the leadership of the party, pointing to the handling of the BC Rail case and the cancellation of the naming rights agreement with Telus for BC Place, which was the last straw.
“My assessment was that Christy Clark wasn’t the right person to be leader but when she was elected I decided to hunker down and work with her, work with the caucus which I’ve done for the last 12 months. But I feel that it’s time for me to move on.”
Justice Minister Shirley Bond says the news didn’t come as a complete shock to her.
“I think all of us recognize, whether it was the previous administration or this one, there have been circumstances where MLA Van Dongen has expressed those views. This is part of what happens in politics.”
Conservative leader John Cummins says having van Dongen join his team is a huge coup and a boost for their campaigns in the upcoming byelections.
“He brings not only his wisdom and his experience, but he also brings credibility, and that’s the biggest thing for us.”
Van Dongen becomes the only current member of the Conservatives in the legislature, although he will technically have to sit as an independent until the next provincial election.
Monday, March 26th, 2012
Abbotsford Police are once again alerting the public about the dangers of taking ecstasy, and this time, they have help with their message, from a family who nearly lost someone to it last week. On March 16, a 24 yr old man took a dose that he thought was safe….he was not at a party, and was not with other people. His parents didn’t even know he was a user. The dose turned out to be nearly lethal. He said he remembered the 2 cases of local girls overdosing, and got scared, so he told his parents and they took him to the hospital. It was a good call to tell his parents, because upon arrival at the hospital, he collapsed, and nearly died. He was in a coma for 3 days. He has since made a miraculous recovery, but shared his story with police so they could pass it on. The use of street drugs is riskier now than its ever been.
Monday, March 26th, 2012
Environment Minister Terry Lake was in Chilliwack this morning to make an announcement concerning the local air shed. But for people who oppose waste to energy, it really doesn’t look like it’s going to do much to change their minds. Lake says the province is implementing a new regulation: that ALL waste to energy facilities will undergo a full, mandatory environmental assessment prior to approval, regardless of the size and scope of the project. FVRD vice chair Patricia Ross says it doesn’t change the bottom line.
“I’m certainly glad about that, because my concern before was that if they make it under a certain size, then it doesn’t have to have the full assessment. However, I have to say, I would still prefer it if Minister Lake would announce that there would be no waste to energy facility allowed in this airshed at all.”
She says as much as she appreciates the decision to give better scrutiny to the project, the FVRD has already done the research to prove that given the current limitations of technology and regulatory requirements, there is no way to make garbage incineration facilities “safe” in this airshed.
Metro’s Solid Waste Management Plan, including an incinerator, was approved in July, but it will be subject to the new regulation.
Chilliwack Mayor and FVRD Chair Sharon Gaetz was upset earlier this year, when she found out Metro was already looking for proponents. Metro apologized, and said they will consult with the FVRD on a more frequent basis.
Monday, March 26th, 2012
Better get to City Hall early if you want a good seat for tonight’s public hearing on slot machines.
The hearing deals with Playtime Gaming’s application to add more slot machines to the 125 currently at Chances Gaming Centre on Peardonville in Abbotsford .
It’s been a bit of a long road to get to public hearing. Council originally voted 5-4 against the application the first time it was brought forward, without even allowing it to go to public hearing.
Mayor Bruce Banman said he believed Council had a duty to listen to the people and used executive privilege to bring it back to the table, and this time Council voted to hear what the public has to say.
It’s at 7:00 tonight at City Hall. Last time this issue had a hearing, it lasted several hours.