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Zoom Call on Coquihalla Highway and Provincial Park Update Includes MP Strahl, Hope’s Robb and McKinney and Global TV’s Madryga

Chilliwack-Hope (with files from MP Mark Strahl and Brian McKinney) – On Wednesday, Mark Strahl, MP was involved in a Zoom call with Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart, District of Hope Mayor Peter Robb, Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Information Counsellor Brian McKinney and Operations Manager Sarah Brown, Hope Volunteer Search and Rescue Member Renee Coghill, Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning Program Director Kelly Pearce, Valley Helicopters Ltd. General Manager Brad Fandrich and Global BC’s Mark Madryga to discuss #BCStorm flood cleanup and the future of Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park.

FVN staff reached out to local promoter Brian McKinney for a comment regarding an on-line Zoom meeting the topic being the status of the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park which is home to the famous Othello Tunnels. 

“Our local politicians at every level have so much on their plate right now with constituents in their ridings having lost their livelihoods and their homes – the purpose of the meeting was to simply let them know that B.C. parks are essential to the social, mental and economic wellbeing of our Province and the CCPP being no exception especially being one of the busiest with over 80,000 visits a year” 

“The easiest thing to do is do nothing and our community is not built that way” McKinney says. 

McKinney and Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning program director Kelly Pearce were inspired in December once the magnitude of the damage in the Park became apparent from the devastating November flooding. 

“Without stealing Jamie Davis’s thunder closure is not an option” says McKinney.  “I called Kelly right away and asked what can we do first” 

“There is so much geo technical, ecological and structural assessment to do in the Park before any decisions can be made” said Renee Coghill member of Hope Search and Rescue and the Fraser Valley Anglers Association during the Zoom meeting. 

McKinney went on to say “we are a group of concerned citizens and Industry stakeholders who are ready, willing and able with the skill, energy and expertise to make life easier for our B.C. Parks Supervisor should and if he calls on our community for help” 

Mark Madryga popular Global Meteorologist who also took part in the Zoom meeting had emphasized that the November weather pattern that hit the Fraser Valley and did the catastrophic damage from Abbotsford to Hope was like nothing he’s ever seen in his lifetime.  “The Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park has a special place in my heart as it was a place my son and I loved to go to” Madryga went on to add “As the weather systems continued to hammer the area, I was simply running out of ways to describe it during my broadcasts – “it all started in the summer with the heat and for me growing up in Kamloops I can remember weather reaching 41 degrees but when those poor folks in Lytton sustained 49.5 temperatures – my heart goes out to them with everything they have gone through” 

B.C. Parks officials in the meantime are asking public to stay clear of the Park until a proper assessment can be done.

“We are cautiously optimistic for a late ’22 opening but most likely spring of 2023” McKinney says. 

Facebook screen shot via Mark Strahl, MP, Jan 2022

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