Fraser Valley – The crew at FVN , while reviewing 2016, came to the consensus that the two top stories of the year where the obvious. Homelessness and the Opioid OD crisis.
The homeless count in the Valley is now into the hundreds, and adding insult to injury, the NIMBY-ism of where to place the homeless. That included court injunctions in Abby and Chilliwack to dismantle camps on Gladys Avenue and Empress Lane in the two respective communities.
The fentanyl crisis has reared its ugly head to the fact that the body count is literally piling up. Fraser Health can only comment on in house (hospital) deaths when it comes to the numbers of the dead, but it seems that everywhere you look on social media, someone is mourning the loss of a friend or loved one.
There were a number of public forums on the two top stories. Plenty of admission that the problem exists, but no concrete solutions let alone real financial help.
Supportive housing takes shape on Riverside in Abby and two projects in Chilliwack but both will not satisfy the problem.
The other stories that made news in 2016, and in no particular order:
The stabbing at Abbotsford Secondary School where a 14 year old girl died and her 13 year old friend remains in hospital.
Sex offender James Calloway is moved from a controversial half way house in Abbotsford to Mission. There, problems with a conflict of interest in the operation of that facility.
Chilliwack Cattle Sales fined over $300,000 for animal abuse. Mercy For Animals follows this trial closely.
NAFDMA (North America Farmers Direct Marketing Association) holds their North American convention in the Fraser Valley.
A positive end to the controversy over special events on farms ie weddings and festivals to augment farming income. Bottom line, farmers win and the Province listens to concerns and backs down from restrictions.
A Hope man is charged with racist rants in Abbotsford towards a lawyer. His trial comes up in September 2017.
Kinder Morgan receives the green light from the Feds to proceed with the expansion and twinning of the pipeline through the Valley. Court challenges are expected.
Creep Catchers set up shop in the Valley and “assist” in the ID of a man charged with child luring.
The Townline Gang conflict continues. Bullets continue to fly.
An arrest in the Rachel Pernosky murder case from 2013. Her half brother is charged with the homicide.
The continuing delays in the dangerous offender status for Merritt child killer Allan Schoenborn.
Molson picks Chilliwack as the new home, to replace the Burrard plant in Vancouver. Jobs expected to follow.
Real Estate prices continue to surge in the Valley. Ironically as buyers flee the rising prices in Metro Vancouver.
Highway One expansion to 216th is announced with the eventual six lanes going to Mt. Lehman exchange.
The new Vedder Bridge construction in Chilliwack starts up.
The lease conflict between businesses and the Chilliwack Airport escalates.
“Abbotsforward”and the Plan Cultus -Cultus Lake future community plans are announced.
The old Downtown Chilliwack Safeway site redevelopment gets underway.
The old UFV Chilliwack campus “Midtown” project starts to take shape.
The film industry booms in Abbotsford and Mission, stagnant in Chilliwack. Abby sees over $400K in permits alone.
Abbotsford hosts the successful BC Summer Games July 21-24.
Chilliwack is awarded the 2018 RBC Junior Hockey Championship tournament.
Cabela’s opens in Abbotsford.
The Chilliwack YMCA announces major expansion plans.
Chilliwack Alano Club raises eyebrows in construction of a seven foot barbed wire topped fence. While trying to be family friendly and inviting as a safe and sober environment, it is described by some as looking like a “Stalag”.
December snow and cold causes mayhem and hits the Christmas earnings for many stores.
Chilliwack Councilor Jason Lum replaces Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz as Chair of the FVRD.
The changing media landscape. The Chilliwack Times newspaper ceases operations. Radio newsrooms for all the Valley radio stations are now shut down. FVN Fraser Valley News nominated for three Small Business BC Awards.
We know there are other stories that should make this list. What did we miss? Feel free to comment.