The last time there was a Freedom of the City parade in Chilliwack, it was for a military unit that was to remain in the city forever, according to the commander at the time.
"We're not going anywhere," Major Ian Somerville of the Area Support Unit (ASU) said after the 60-member unit marched to the Chilliwack Museum on May 24, 2003.
Sadly, ASU Chilliwack did shut down this year, seemingly ending the military tradition in the city. But all along, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl said the Canadian Forces would remain in Chilliwack in some form.
The Royal Westminster Regiment, 39 Combat Engineer Regiment and the 39 Services Battalion now occupy the old ASU base and so, in accordance with military tradition, city council conferred the "Freedom of the City" on the three new regiments at Tuesday's meeting.
The declaration authorizes the units to march through the streets of Chilliwack "with the band playing, drums beating and bayonnets fixed."
The date for the parade has been set for Oct. 26.
The arrival of the three regiments is welcome news for the city, long steeped in military tradition. The departure of ASU Chilliwack elicited concern from Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
"We're a little bit touchy about touching the military because we live in an area that is prone to earthquakes and flooding and so we want to make sure that there is a continued military presence," Gaetz said last year before details on the closure had been announced.
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