I read with great interest a letter regarding proposed development of Chilliwack. I remember the Chilliwack of which he speaks and perhaps for a longer time.
I arrived here directly in 1957 with my husband and children not through planning but by circumstance. We knew no one but felt immediately the atmosphere of "gentle living," which sounds foolish in the Chilliwack of today, but much of that feeling was due to the sensitivity of the city fathers of the day who presided, they had clued into the wishes of the people.
The hub of the of the town was Five Corners, the majority of the businesses were owned and operated by families who lived here and extended into adjacent areas all serving the public needs of the day. Having said that, I realize that without growth things wither and die and that seemed to be the fate of Chilliwack and wiser heads dictated that growth should begin in an entirely new area -east of the old.
So began the almost frantic development of residential and business opportunities with the support of councils an open door to all proposals.
This meant that the old city (now upgraded to that status) was allowed to grow weaker and sadder with little or no attempt by councils of the day to take action other than to wait for the final demise.
When city, provincial and federal developments came they were built into an already dying community and did little to help. There became less and less reason to go "downtown" because there were so few stores while brand names were busy building in Sardis so it was only a matter of time before it fell into what we see today.
There always was a Sardis but the Sardis of today includes Promontory and Garrison with more development of residential properties to come with all of the required services. The proposed plan for the revitalization of Chilliwack has been solid in the minds of many players for a long time and I doubt there is room for even the slightest wriggle room so I do not think a referendum would work unless it guarantees sufficient revenue quickly for all of the players.
Is it what we wish for Chilliwack? Do we care? Would we have "peace in the valley?" I doubt it, but what some of us do have is a memory that binds us but would not work in today's world.
Final thought: by the time the new plan becomes a reality maybe Sardis will be looking a little sad so will there be a swing back to Chilliwack, or maybe we can financially support two cities.
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