Chilliwack Year in Review - June 2015
With May the driest on record in some areas of B.C. and the driest in Chilliwack in 20 years, local farmers were worried in June.
“We need rain or it’s going to be do or die,” said chicken farmer and City of Chilliwack city councillor Chris Kloot.
And while the mystery about what weather was coming caused anxiety for some, for others there was optimism.
“Our farmers are mostly ready for the challenge, so look for local produce all over the Fraser Valley this summer and appreciate the plenty our growers produce, while California and many other regions are under severe drought, losing many crops,” said University of the Fraser Valley agriculture professor Tom Baumann.
Men in Chilliwack get too much screen time and eat too few vegetables.
Women in Chilliwack smoke too much and don’t get enough exercise.
Local seniors are watching too much TV, and obesity and chronic breathing conditions are of particular concern for Chilliwack residents, at least compared to the rest of the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland.
Those are a few of the broad strokes from Chilliwack’s community health profile as outlined in a region-wide report of health and wellness. The My Health My Community survey looked at a variety of health indicators: health, lifestyle, primary care access, built environment and community resiliency, in every community in Vancouver Costal Health and Fraser Health.
Two years and nearly five months after a young man tried to strangle Deborah Halladay to death in her own apartment, she finally had some closure.
Judge Steven Point sentenced Matthew Alderman to eight years in jail for attempted murder and three years for aggravated assault, to run concurrently.
“I’m very, very happy with that,” Halladay, adding that, “It’s never over because I’ll have to go to his parole hearing in two years.”
The 27-year-old Alderman was convicted of attempted murder and aggravated assault in October 2014.
One year after animal cruelty charges were recommended against a Chilliwack dairy farm and eight employees, an animal rights group was concerned with the delay.
“We hope the Crown is taking this case seriously and will move forward on charges soon,” Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) spokesperson Peter Fricker said.
The case involves Canada’s largest dairy farm, Chilliwack Cattle Sales.
In June 2014, the national media spotlight was on the community and eight employees were fired after a video was released by the vegan-lifestyle organization Mercy For Animals (MFA) that showed hitting, punching, kicking and hanging of cows.
Despite the delay, the regional Crown counsel said the case had not been pushed aside.
“It’s still under review,” Crown James MacAulay said. “I expect a decision fairly soon.”
Ivan and Ann Coutu said after nine years of dealing with thefts, vandalism, unsightly premises, noise, drugs, prostitution and bad smells at the house next to them on the corner of First Avenue and Broadway, they had enough.
In an act they called a last resort, the Coutus made signs on cardboard and staged a one-hour protest on the sidewalk in front of the house they called a “crack shack.”
“People really want this gone,” Ivan said of the property owned by someone with a Vancouver address.
The Coutus and two other neighbours held signs and hung others from a fence on their property: “Absentee landlord accountability,” “Protect resident homeowners,” and “Enough is enough,” among others.
Sto:lo Health expressed regret for an incident when a few sets of explicitly illustrated cards describing sex acts were found in CHANCE alternate school students’ “goodie bags.”
“It was just an honest error that happened and we take full responsibility for that error,” said the organization’s health manager Kelowa Edel about the May episode.
Edel added that the cards are a sexual health and safety learning tool reserved for an older audience and that they were placed in the students’ gift bags by a volunteer at Sto:lo Health who was delivering the sexual health presentation to the middle school children.
An early morning fire that tore through a three-storey apartment building downtown Chilliwack full of seniors and mostly low-income renters was a disaster, but spurred a positive community response.
The fire, which was intentionally set, according to fire officials and the RCMP, struck at around 4 a.m.
Just a couple hours after the fire started, a group of women who created a group called SPARKS (Special People Acts of Random Kindness) were in full force gathering donations of food, clothing, water, pet supplies and more.
A man who was drinking, left the scene of a motor vehicle accident, then lied to police and spit blood at a Mountie in Chilliwack had his excessive force complaint dismissed by the body that investigates the police.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) said there was no substantial likelihood of conviction of two police officers accused of violently hitting a man after a crash on Vedder Mountain Road on Feb. 16, 2014.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) declared B.C. free of avian influenza after the outbreak that began in Chilliwack six months prior.
The provincial government said it then wanted to see all international trade restrictions removed on poultry products.
A Chilliwack victim of mail theft was outraged the Canada Post employee charged with stealing her important documents was found not guilty in court.
Ex-Canada Post employee Candace Waller was found not guilty of mail theft and possession of stolen property, and she was acquitted of a third charge of fraud in connection with thefts more than a year ago.
“Where is the justice?” asked Nichole Sutton, whose driver’s licence and health care card were stolen in the lead up to Waller’s arrest.
“People come and rob mailboxes and then they just walk away? . . . Still to this day I don’t want to trust Canada Post.”
The finding of not guilty and the acquittal were mostly due to the non-appearance of the Crown’s star witness.
Local Chilliwack businesses and residents once again rose to the occasion by responding to a cowardly robbery of a small centre for adults with developmental disabilities.
After thugs broke into the Chilliwack Opportunity Society on Fairfield Island in May stealing $1,000 in cheques and $2,000 worth of hearing assistance devices, the society was overwhelmed with a community response of more than $6,000 in donations.