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Today, we share the definitive Fraser Valley Spotify playlist, along with headlines and news from around the valley
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Good Morning!

Time zones are hard. We'll try to get this to your email close to 7am each weekday morning. I'd like to blame our delivery system for getting the newsletter to you later than that yesterday, but it was all me and my miscomprehension of Chicago's time zone. It's a long story. We've learned a lot this week. Hopefully, you have too. On to the news. It's 7am somewhere. -Tyler Olsen, Managing Editor
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A new regional park is in the works on the south side of the Vedder River. β€’ 📸Β  Tyler Olsen
Chilliwack quietly plans major new park

The City of Chilliwack has bought a huge 54-acre property at the base of Vedder Mountain that it hopes to develop into a large new showcase park that would provide connections with the Vedder River blueway, the Rotary Trail, and the Vedder Mountain historic railway line trail.

Early plansβ€”details of which are found in meeting minutes from last Novemberβ€”suggest an accessible playground, bicycle rental facility, food vending area, and more could be included at the site, if the park proceeds. Extensive consultations are needed with local First Nations prior to the park becoming a reality.

The property is adjacent to a large city-owned quarry along the south side of the road. The plans were revealed in city documents that went before council earlier this year. The site has been designated a possible future "regional park."

In seeking to create such a park, the city is signaling it hopes to create a greenspace that draws people from across the city and/or region. Such parks attract visitors by offering an experience, facilities or an attraction of β€œregional significance.” The city-owned land spans from the Vedder River, where several trails already exist, to well up the hillside.

Chilliwack currently has just eight regional parks including the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, Cultus Lake Park, and the Community Forest.
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Need to Know
βš–Β  Jarrod Bacon has been released from prison. [Abbotsford News]

🤞Β  The Mount Cheam Lions Club in Chilliwack is trying to save its lending program for medical equipment [Chilliwack Progress]


🗳Β  Fraser Health has opened a large new vaccination clinic at Chilliwack Mall. Four more are in the works, including one in Langley. [Fraser Health]

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The List
THE DEFINITIVE PLAYLIST
We asked and you answered. To mark our first week, we built a Spotify list chock full of Fraser Valley artists. You chimed in on social media. Some artists we had heard of before (Carly Rae Jepsen, hello), and a couple we hadn't. Did we miss anyone?
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Bowinn Ma's mandate letter tasks her with widening Highway 1 β€’ 📸Β  Tyler Olsen / 📸 File
Can more lanes work?
A highway skeptic is tasked with expanding Highway 1
Many people will be involved in widening Highway 1 to Abbotsford, but only one received a public letter from the Premier directing her to help expand the transportation artery. That letter went to Bowinn Ma, the province's minister of state for infrastructure. Ma is also a professional engineer who has spoken passionately about how expanding highways doesn't solve traffic congestion.

We asked her how she resolves her new task with previous personal statements about the concept of induced demandβ€”the idea that more lanes just encourages more traffic. She pointed to the expansion of SkyTrain to Langley and the government's focus on increasing public transit in the region. She also talked about how the housing crisis has been forcing more people to live further from their jobs.

FVC: You've said... adding more car lanes and expanding highways doesn't fix congestion. How would doing that with Highway 1 reduce congestion?

β€œAdding additional lanes to a highway will increase capacity. And an increase of capacity does enable more people to travel. The challenge with that increased capacity is that you're also likely to promote more people to travel. So it's not a long-term solution, which is why when we're looking at highway widening projects, we need to also look at it as an opportunity to enable other forms of transportation as well, so we're building out capacity for the system as a whole into the future.

β€œSo, as an example, how can we incorporate active transportation routes along the highway? Are there opportunities for new public transit services like bus rapid transit? Are there opportunities to prepare this corridor for light LRT into the future? All of these ideas are on the table right now. And because we're a government that values a more-holistic look at transportation, we're looking at all those opportunities at the same time that we're wanting to increase capacity along the highway.”

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.

Have someone we should interview? E-mail us!

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COVID latest
BC continues to see worrying case numbers, with more and more people ending up in hospital. Variants of concern are making up a higher proportion of cases, with 144 new VOC cases announced Tuesday.

Fraser Health

  • New cases: 333 Tuesday; 340 average (up from 306 one week ago)
  • 4 active outbreaks in hospitals / 1 active outbreak in long-term care
BC

  • New cases: 682 Tuesday; 630 average (up from 544 one week ago)
  • 1 new death / 1,438 total deaths
  • 314 in hospital (up from 280 one week ago)

News

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Around Town
🎨Β  The Chilliwack Cultural Centre's O'Connor Group Art Gallery hosts a exhibit by local abstract artist Vincent Mikuska. It opens Monday, March 29 and is free.

🎭Β  UFV's School of Creative Arts and UFV Theatre presents free virtual performances of Pariah (The Outcast) March 24-26 at 7pm and March 27 at 2pm

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Have something we should know about?
Tell us to be featured in 'Around Town'.
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Circle Back
Missed a previous newsletter? Catch up on what you may have missed.
  • The province's ambitious 2026 goal to widen Highway 1;Β [March 22]
  • Exclusive figures on COVID's death toll in the Fraser Valley; [March 23]
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