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the chilliwack progress • www.theprogress.com

The Chilliwack

Progress


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CHILLIWACK IN PROGRESS

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Chilliwack’s newest retail centre

NOW OPEN O P E N A P R I L 16, 2011

O P E N A P R I L 7, 2011

OPENING Spring/Fall 2011

Conveniently located on Eagle Landing Parkway north of Yale Road For information call 604-699-3598 Developed by: 3-11T_PDG29

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Welcome

What’s in Progress?...

to Chilliwack in Progress

EDITOR GREG KNILL Chilliwack is

At a time when parts of the world are still struggling to get their economies back on track, we thought it would be an opportune time to take stock of what we’ve got in Chilliwack and perhaps where we are going. Chilliwack has changed much in the past few years. Residential expansion has pushed its population

about to turn the page on a chapter that will set the tone for the community’s future for the next 50 years.

to nearly 80,000. That growth has attracted new services, and brought new challenges. But more change is coming. Chilliwack is about to turn the page on a chapter that will set the tone for the community’s future for the next 50 years. It’s happening in a number of quarters: retail, residential, agriculture, industry and, of course, education. One of the biggest changes to occur in Chilliwack over the past two decades has been the loss of the military base, and the emergence of the Canada Education Park. The park, which is a major component of the Garrison Crossing development, will alter Chilliwack’s complexion like nothing else has in its past. Long range plans call for a vibrant university town, anchored by the University of the Fraser Valley and complemented by the RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre, the Justice Institute of B.C., Canada Border Services, and others. The park is starting to take shape, turning years of hard work and dreams into reality. But that’s not the only area that will see change. The completion of Eagle Landing will change shopping patterns that have existed here for decades. It’s already providing

employment, and the hope is that the 600,000 square feet of retail space will keep consumers in Chilliwack, while drawing more from cities as far away as Merrit. Chilliwack’s downtown is also facing change. Following years of consultation and planning, the City of Chilliwack recently launched a task force aimed at spurring development. The goal is to create a new and vibrant mix of residential and retail opportunities. On the industrial front, Chilliwack remains well positioned for the future. Its available land and attractive tax rates will mean more businesses will be choosing to locate here, bringing with them jobs and opportunity. Agriculture is in Chilliwack’s blood. But that sector, too, is changing. It is becoming a multi-disciplined industry, where science and research offer exciting challenges. With Chilliwack’s strong agricultural base, and its growing university presence, this region could become a national leader in ag-based innovation and education. Chilliwack has had a remarkable history. The community has shown resilience in the face of uncertainty, and industry during times of opportunity. But that history isn’t written yet. Instead, Chilliwack remains a city in progress.

Welcome PUBLISHER LIZ LYNCH

Welcome to Chilliwack! Thanks for becoming part of our stellar community, from the Chilliwack Progress, the area’s newspaper of record

We are happily entrenched in this growing community, with many of our staff serving as volunteers on boards and in service organizations in a range of capacities.

since 1891. Most of us at the Chilliwack Progress are long-time residents who produce your community newspaper with a blend of passion, dedication and loyalty. We are happily entrenched in this growing community, with many of our staff serving as volunteers on boards and in service organizations in a range of capacities. The philosophy

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of The Progress team includes ongoing support for numerous community and non-profit organizations throughout the year, and is proud to call itself one of the longest-standing members of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce. While I have personally called Chilliwack home for a little more than two years, my career in the newspaper business brought me to The Progress almost 20 years ago in a regional sales capacity. I am pleased to say I have come to know many of you in both a professional and social capacity. We are beyond excited to be celebrating our 120th year as Chilliwack’s newspaper of record, and that makes us one of the longest standing B.C. community newspapers

publishing under the same name. Creating this ‘Chilliwack in Progress’ supplement has helped us to reflect on what a wonderful and richly diverse community we are both privileged to work and live in. Our community partners have been invaluable in their assistance in developing this overview of Chilliwack’s economic development. Special thanks go to the entire staff at The Progress, to editor Greg Knill and the editorial staff for exploring indepth what makes the local economy tick, and to graphic designer Bonnie Krulicki for creating the clean and distinct design that will set this project apart.

Sto:lo Agriculture

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Manufacturing 10/11 Education

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Education

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Health Care

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Retail

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Food Processing 20 Aviation

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Arts

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Sports

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Tourism

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Chilliwack in Progress Contributors: Katie Bartel Jenna Hauck Jennifer Fienberg Robert Freeman Eric Welsh

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the chilliwack progress • www.theprogress.com

Publisher: Liz Lynch Editor: Greg Knill Designer: Bonnie Krulicki Published by: The Chilliwack Progress March 2011 ©Copyright

CELEBRATING 120 YEARS OF CHILLIWACK IN PROGRESS

INLINE WITH CHILLIWACK ONLINE FOR CHILLIWACK 1

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FACTS T’xwelatse is a 600-pound piece of granite that the Sto:lo believe embodies the spirit of their ancestor. It was recently returned from Washington state.

The Sto:lo Resource Centre opened its doors with dancing, and a message from Lieut.-Gov. Steven Point (below). JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Sto:lo first ‘People of the River’ New Resource Centre helps stories be told Before there was Chilliwack, there were the Sto:lo. With historical and archaeological evidence that traces the people back thousands of years, the Sto:lo called this area home long before European settlers ever knew it existed. Today, they balance that rich heritage with an eye to the future and a desire to better the lives of their people. The Sto:lo, like many native peoples in British Columbia, suffered badly with the introduction of settlers. Not only was their traditional way of life and livelihood altered, they suffered the ravages of disease cultural assimilation. Today, those scars are still felt. But the Sto:lo are nonetheless looking forward. Recently anew $12 million Sto:lo Resource Centre was opened. Sto:lo Nation president Joe Hall said he sees the resource centre as a way to open up opportunities to communicate who they are as Sto:lo people. “It was important to all of us that this building was rooted solidly in cultural pride — that it made a statement of welcome, influence and

FACTS The new $12 million Sto:lo Resource Centre is a way to open up opportunities to communicate who the Sto:lo are as people.

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unity, while delivering on our promise of excellence and opportunity to our elders, to our young people and to our federal partners,” he said during the centre’s grand opening. Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, who is also president of Sto:lo Tribal Council said he’s waited for 30 years for the new centre to open. “As an original member of the Board of Directors of Coqualeetza Education Training Centre, I remember our goal to build a cultural centre that would contain our history, our arts and crafts of the past and present, our artifacts and our present activities.” Art by renowned Sto:lo and Coast Salish artists is at the site, including two monumental welcome figures. The resource centre is also the new home of the repatriated Stone T’xwelatse, the 600-pound slab of granite that the Sto:lo believe embodies the spirit of their ancestor. Resource centre director David Schaepe noted that the new centre allowed them to effectively consolidate one of the most complete Sto:lo collections found anywhere in the world. “This is a quantum leap for-

ward in our capacity and it’s extremely exciting.” But the centre offers more than culture. It also houses offices that will help the Sto:lo further economic and educational opportunities in the region. The Stó:lo Resource Centre provides office space for business, cultural, educational and community services delivered by local aboriginal organizations to community members

and partners throughout the region. Features include a library, elder’s room, videoconferencing boardrooms, language lab, historical archives, artifact storage/display gallery and multi-media classroom amenities. The lives of the Sto:lo are being changed in other ways. Changes in federal legislation are allowing them to generate revenue through local taxation – revenue that can be re-in-

vested into their communities. Land development is also having an impact. The recent development of Eagle Landing, for example, is a project that promises to enhance the Squiala reserve through partnerships with the developer. Other bands are also looking at opportunities – opportunities that will ultimately provide employment, education and enhanced quality of life for their people.


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Agriculture a ‘growing’ concern Chilliwack’s roots are in agriculture; so is its future

FACTS Number of farms: 828 Land used for agriculture: 64% (17,051 hectares) Revenue generated: $252 million Ag investments: $900 million (land and buildings) Annual cash wages: $33.7 million (excluding agri-related manufacturing, supply and service)

The international space station might seem a long way from the quiet confines of Hal Muxlow’s dairy barn near Rosedale. However, some of the same technology that allows astronauts to manipulate objects in space is being employed to milk and monitor cows 400 kilometres below. Down the road at Ross’s Greenhouses, the technology used there is a little more ancient. Between rows of pepper and tomato vines, spiders stand guard against aphids and other airborne insects. The arachnids are part of a defence network that uses carnivorous bugs to control their vegetable-eating cousins, thereby eliminating the need for chemical pesticides. Innovation has marked the agricultural industry since its beginning. The speed of that change, however, has become increasingly rapid, with technological advancements turning farming into a true, multidiscipline science. In Chilliwack that innovation is evident at almost every turn. It has helped maintain an economic sector that continues to fuel jobs, promote growth and promise opportunity for years to come. Today, the more than 800 farms in the area generate more than $250 million in annual revenue, according to 2006 census statistics. In addition, they provide nearly $34 million in cash wages, not including jobs in related sectors like manufacturing and supply. Agriculture has been a key part of Chilliwack’s economy ever since Europeans began settling here. The new comers quickly discovered that the rich soil of the Fraser Valley and its temperate climate provided a perfect place to farm. But it wasn’t easy. Land had to be cleared, lakes and sloughs drained, and suitable crops found. There was a lot of trial and there was a lot of error. Crops that once dominated the landscape – like hops and tobacco – have receded into history. In their place the big three C’s dominate: (corn, cows and chicken). But that landscape, too is changing. Berry production is increasing, with the region’s first cranberry farm expected to start production soon. Landscape nurseries, greenhouses, specialty crops

Number of Farms FACTS Dairy, Cattle & Calves: 473 Poultry: 255 Horses: 146 Fruits & Nuts: 138 Nursery Crops: 121 Beef: 97 Greenhouse: 71 Sheep: 61 Bees: 18 Llamas & Alpacas: 15 Pigs: 18 Rabbits 17 Source: 2006 Census

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Ross Yaxley (left) of Ross’ Greenhouses explains his operation during one of the agricultural tours organized by the Chilliwack Agricultural Commission and CEPCO. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

and niche livestock farms are also adding to the complexion of Chillliwack’s agricultural scene. Dairy farms still account for more than half the farms in the region. They range in size from small hobby-type operations, to farms like the Kooymans, which boasts the largest dairy heard in a Canada. In fact, nearly a quarter of British Columbia’s dairy production is located in Chilliwack. Muxlow’s dairy farm isn’t a big one, but it was one of the first to use a robotic milking system. The machines, built by Netherlands company Lely and distributed by West Coast Robotics of Agassiz, bring high-tech solutions to downon-the-farm problems. The robotic system is called “voluntary” for a reason. The cows voluntarily enter the milking station. Once in place, the animal is scanned by a robotic arm that uses low frequency lasers like those used in a grocery store to read bar codes. The lasers help guide the milking apparatus as it is attached to the cow. While the milking process is underway, a computer analyzes the cow and records and documents key features. This ensures the farmer has an accurate log of the animal’s health and milk

production – information that can be accessed remotely. When the process is complete, the gate swings open and the cow is rewarded with a little feed. Innovation is taking a different form at Starlane Dairy. Ed and Tom Maljaars recently invested in a piece of equipment designed to help offset the high cost of animal bedding. Dairy barns traditionally use wood shavings or sawdust to provide comfortable and absorbent bedding for their animals. However, with a sagging forestry industry, the availability of that wood waste has become more scarce. The answer

is a machine called a “Bedding Master”. Using technology not uncommon in Europe, the machine separates fiber from cow manure, leaving a product that looks, feels – and smells – more like sawdust. The liquid extract, meanwhile, is used as fertilizer. Eventually, the “Bedding Master” will pay for itself. Indeed, the machine already provides enough bedding for an additional farm. Poultry farming is the second biggest player in Chilliwack’s agricultural scene. But it’s come a long way since the backyard chicken coop. Every year in B.C., poultry farmers help generate more than 64

million dozen eggs, and pump over $95 million into the provincial economy. Chilliwack plays a significant role in that production. Walter Dyck, chair of the Chilliwack Agriculture Commission, knows the Continued: AGRICULTURE/ 8


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Education, innovation take root It’s not the agriculture of your grandparents anymore

FACTS Approximately 25 per cent of the greenhouses in Canada are found in British Columbia. There are just over 70 greenhouses in Chilliwack, with nearly 400,000 square metres undercover

AGRICULTURE from p6 importance of the poultry industry. He started Sprucewood Farms back in 1973 with just 13,000 layer chickens. Today, Sprucewood produces roughly 380,000 dozen eggs and one million kilograms of chicken each year. New construction and expansion on the farm has also contributed to the annual number of farm building permits in Chilliwack – construction that was worth $7.5 million overall in 2009 and $7.2 million in 2008. There are other spin-offs. Manure from the chicken barns helps fertilize nearby farmland, enabling Sprucewood to diversify its farming operation by cultivating ornamental shrubs for the landscape industry. And then there’s the science. Computers regulate temperature and airflow, providing farmers with telemetry that can be accessed through something as convenient as a smart phone. Extensive research also goes into the food the birds eat. Sprucewood, for example, works with the Chilliwack branch of the international agricultural firm Viterra to ensure poultry feed maximizes the health of the animals and the nutritional content of the product. Those partnerships are typical throughout Chilliwack agricultural industry, and they’re expanding. The University of British Columbia Dairy Education and Research Centre has been growing ever since it moved to its Agassiz home nearly two decades ago. The Centre is internationally recognized as a world-class facility “supporting the development and adoption of new technologies for the dairy industry in BC and beyond. Students from around the world contribute to the Centre’s rich international environment.” UBC isn’t the only post-secondary institution with a stake in Chilliwack. The University of the Fraser Valley continues to expand its agricultural offerings and partnerships, promising to be an even larger player as the campus expands into the Canada Education Park. Not only is the institution helping to educate the next generation of agriculturalists,

Berry delicious

FACTS Today, the public’s appetite for fresh berries has expanded production dramatically. Indeed, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries account for a $130 million industry in B.C.

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its helping existing farmers to hone their skills and benefit from international research. For example, in March of this year UFV hosted a oneday symposium aimed at strengthening educational ties between Canada and The Netherlands. Modern technology has changed the way we farm in B.C., explained UFV Dean of Trades and Technology Harv McCullough, noting that the agriculture industry in the Netherlands often leads the way when it comes to new technology and farming expertise. “With this partnership between HAS Den Bosch University and UFV, we’re hoping to share information and perhaps learn more about how today’s technology can help our farmers become more productive,” he said. “But it’s not a case of reinventing the wheel; we want to see what technology they are using, how it works, and how it will work for Fraser Valley farmers.” UFV is also participating in research, particularly in the berry industry. Horticulturalist Tom Baumann is at the fore of that research. Working with partners like the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Baumann is hoping to improve berry quality in the province by developing new varieties that taste better, perform better, and even deliver better health benefits. Berry production is not new in Chilliwack. Early Mennonite settlers discovered raspberries were an effective crop on the drained lake beds near Yarrow. However, until recently, most of the berries grown in the region were processed. Today, the public’s appetite for fresh berries has expanded production dramatically. Indeed, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries account for a $130 million industry in B.C. Baumann works with the provincial agriculture ministry and Agriculture Canada to improve all seasonal berries native to the Fraser Valley. Trying to create a stronger, hardier, sweeter berry takes years of testing; generally the berry breeder Chaim Kempler starts with one or two varieties, then breeds or cross breeds the berry under ideal conditions, propagates it, and then allows it to grow for two to three years so it can be taste tested.

Workers at Rainbow Greenhouses prepare Christmas poinsettias for market. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Baumann then takes the most promising selections to fields where they can grow. A team of experts from the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture Canada, the Pacific Northwest Berry Associations, and private consultants, monitors the berries during this growth period, which again, can last a few years. Research is essential, Baumann said. Berry crops continue to be threatened by blights and diseases and new pests, such as the vinegar fly, which is particularly harmful to fruit crops. Climate change also affects the health of a plant and Baumann said crops can actually get sunburned. He has documented physical damage on soft fruits believed to be from increased ozone. Because berries are big businesses, the federal government recently kicked in $1.2 million to fund berry research that will be affiliated with UFV’s Agriculture Technology department. With the Fraser Valley already producing the highest yields of raspberries, cranberries and blueberries in the world, as well as the highest quality strawberries, Baumann argued that a BC Berry Resource Centre would centralize the work done by local growers and berry fanatics like himself. “To tackle the problems associated with these fruits, such as variety development, plant husbandry, post harvest management, and marketing, UFV is to lead the efforts through the Berry Resource Centre,”

Baumann said. “This centre of excellence will act as a hub for research, extension services, and other industry efforts.” Although the Fraser Valley is blessed with a temperate climate, not all plant production is suitable for open field farming. Greenhouse production has become a major economic contributor to the region. In fact, roughly a quarter of the greenhouses in Canada are found in British Columbia. And in Chilliwack, there are just over 70 greenhouses, with nearly 400,000 square metres undercover. Rainbow Greenhouses in Chilliwack is a significant player in this industry. It has two locations in Chilliwack. Combined with its Alberta operation, it employs 150 people and posts sales of over $26 million. Technology and innovation is a major component of the greenhouse industry. Research is underway on ways to not only improve production, but also efficiency. At Rosedale Greenhouse, one of Rainbow’s Chilliwack locations, automation and robotics helps in planting and spacing, as well as rose production and harvesting. Its system of “ebb and flow” irrigation, meanwhile, not only provides water and nutrients to the plants, but also conserves water through a recycling system. The City of Chilliwack is well aware of the importance of agriculture to the local economy.

While many communities in Canada and around the world suffered badly from the recent global economic downturn, Chilliwack had the advantage of a thriving agriculture sector. Indeed, it’s estimated that 30 per cent of Chilliwack economic activity can be attributed to agriculture. Ensuring that industry remains strong and positioned for organized growth in the future, is behind the work now underway on the City of Chilliwack Agriculture Area Plan. That plan will help guide the city and the community as it develops a shared vision of agriculture in the community, manage issues where rural and urban interests meet, and identify priorities in the industry. The plan will also “support an updated economic strategy for agriculture that enhances agricultural opportunities in the community.” A draft version of the plan is scheduled for presentation at a series of open houses this summer. It should bring into focus an industry that is not only ingrained in Chilliwack’s history, but is also integral to its future.


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Look what’s coming to the Canada Education Park! The University of the Fraser Valley is planning a big move in Chilliwack. We’ll be leaving our Yale Road campus, which we’ve called home for 36 years, and going to an exciting new building at the Canada Education Park (CEP). Our Chilliwack-based programs will join our Trades and Technology Centre, which has been operating at the CEP site since 2007.

More than 200 UFV employees are based in Chilliwack. Several employees have already chosen to live in the Garrison Crossing neighbourhood, excited about being able to walk to work when the new building opens. Approximately 3,000 of 15,000 UFV students take courses in Chilliwack.

Making the move across town will be our Health Sciences, Agriculture, and Teacher Education programs, as well as the many academic and applied courses we offer in Chilliwack each year. Our performance theatre will remain at the Yale Road campus for the near future, until funding becomes available for a new theatre.

 ǦȖȟț’Ž‘‘Ž”“•—”Šˆ™Ž˜ŒŠ“Š—†™Ž“ŒȟȠț”‡˜‰š—Ž“Œ™Šˆ”“˜™—šˆ™Ž”“•†˜ŠǢ many from the Chilliwack area

The Canada Education Park is a unique redevelopment of the former Canadian Forces Base in Chilliwack. The Canadian Forces engineering building is being repurposed into a 150,000 square foot university facility. When it’s done, it will house university programs, classes, labs, and offices. UFV is the largest landowner at CEP, and is working with CEPCO to develop the roads and infrastructure that will benefit the entire site and set the stage for future development. The site also houses the RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre, and educational facilities for the Canadian Border Services Agency, Department of Defence, and the Justice Institute.

 Ǧ †˜ȖȜțțǂȝțț’Ž‘‘Ž”“Šˆ”“”’ŽˆŽ’•†ˆ™†““š†‘‘žŽ“Ž‘‘Žœ†ˆ

Set on the beautiful CEP campus with easy access to the Rotary Vedder River trail and the Cheam Recreation Centre, the new location will provide UFV students with plenty of recreational options. It’s also adjacent to the very popular Garrison Crossing neighbourhood. With restaurants, coffee bars, and yoga studios popping up nearby, it won’t be long until the neighbourhood is a true university district, with businesses that benefit from being close to a university choosing to locate in the area. And while the new building is essentially a replacement of the Yale Road campus, the 84 acres UFV owns at the Canada Education Park means that the university has room to grow for decades to come.

For more information, please visit

www.ufv.ca/cep

New campus fast facts:

 Ǧ —ŠˆŠŽ›Š‰ȖȜț’Ž‘‘”“‹—”’™Š•—”›Ž“ˆŽ†‘Œ”›Š—“’Š“™†“‰ȖȢǀȝȝ’Ž‘‘Ž”“ from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program to help fund the project  ǦŠǏ—Š†‰‰Ž“ŒȞȠț“Šœ˜™š‰Š“™˜•†ˆŠ˜

Come and see us when our doors open in 2012.

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Diversity is part of its strength Manufacturing local prosperity Manufacturing is second only to agriculture in Chilliwack in terms of its sheer muscle and diversity as a vibrant economic engine. But is the local manufacturing sector growing, stable or shrinking? “It’s growing,” said John

About 13 per cent of the Chilliwack labour force is employed in the manufacturing sector

Jansen, president of Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, without hesitation. Specialty firms, employing 20 to 40 workers, like Bar None Metal Works, Wellington Plastics, and Sonic Drill Corp, have chosen to set up shop in Chilliwack in recent years. “It’s a trend that’s reflective of the economy,” Jansen said. “They’ll occupy a smaller footprint but tend to be more specialized in their manufacturing focus.” And while value-added wood processors are a still growing presence in Chilliwack, they are shrinking elsewhere in B.C., he said. Agriculture is such a big component of the local economy that “anything that works in partnership with it” will likely be a success, Jansen said, with about 65 per cent of the land base dedicated to farming and agriculture. The local manufacturing

Brad Miller of the award-winning IMW industries. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

scene is characterized by a rich diversity, producing everything from machinery, gas equipment, log homes, to

metal fabrication, food processing and more. About 13 per cent of the Chilliwack labour force in

Chilliwack is employed in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than 2,500 skilled jobs, according to CEP-

CO statistics. On a provincial scale, manufacturing accounts for the Continued: BUILDING/ p11

Heritage Park is a dynamic and versatile facility! With a 150,000 sq. ft. building, including 4 exhibit floors, sitting on 65 acres, a track, indoor and outdoor arenas, multi purpose field, over 90 major events, it attracts over 250,000 visitors annually. For info on our events or for rental opportunities, call us or check us out online

“PROUD TO REPRESENT OUR GREAT COMMUNITY”

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John Les Les, MLA Chilliwack 3-11T HP8

Phone: 604.702.5214 Email: john.les.mla@leg.bc.ca Website: www.johnlesmla.bc.ca

Barry Penner, MLA Chilliwack~Hope Phone: 604.858.6202 Email:localmla@uniserve.com Website: www.barrypenner.com

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Building a stronger tomorrow BUILDING from p10 biggest slice of the pie at 11.2 per cent of the GDP, with about 12,000 companies providing 400,000 jobs, so Chilliwack is closely following the provincial average. If you add food processing under the manufacturing category, then Chilliwack is a “hotbed” of manufacturing activity in some senses, said Paul Boileau, plant manager of Soprema. He’s also chair of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, who notes that since the financial meltdown of 2008, things slowed down considerably on the local front. “At one point we had a huge boom with large plants like the Kaltire retread facility moving into the community. “But the last two and a half years it’s been pretty quiet,” said Boileau. Nonetheless it’s still “a very good environment” to operate or start a business. “If it weren’t for land cost issues, which are an achilles heel to new development, it

would be hard to beat. It’s not the fault of the municipality, but there is something that could be done about it.” The biggest asset is really the people, Boileau said. “Chilliwack has a labour force second to none, in part because of the strong work ethic many get from growing up in an agricultural community.” Some of the top manufacturers in terms of sheer employee numbers include Ty-Crop Manufacturing with a staff of 243, Masonite International with 178, or the globally focused IMW Industries with 115. Chilliwack also has the edge in terms of business costs like land values and taxation, as well as fast turnaround times for permitting and a pro-business approach at the municipal level, Jansen pointed out. Add to that a solid transportation infrastructure and an appealing lifestyle for a full picture of what is on offer in Chilliwack. “That makes it an attractive environment for those looking

Soprema plant manager Paul Boileau takes MP Chuck Strahl on a tour of Soprema in September. Here, polyester sheets run through the machines before being layered with bitumen and sand. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

at relocating to our community,” he said. A limited industrial land base does make it tough for some companies to move here

or expand, but nothing compares to having a skilled and educated work force at the ready. “But one of the most diffi-

cult challenges in many communities is getting a strong employee base,” said Jansen. “We have a good university established here, and with

UFV’s new Trades and Tech Centre they’re teaching the skill sets necessary for the future. It puts us in a very strong position.”

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FACTS The University of the Fraser Valley’s new Chilliwack campus will consist of one-million square feet of new buildings – double the size of the university’s campus in Abbotsford – and will have room for up to 20,000 students.

Sgt. Rob Tan at the Pacific Regional Training Centre firing range at the Canada Education Park. Current plans call for the gun range to be moved indoors. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Taking aim at education Training and education at Canada Education Park Chilliwack is fast becoming a university city. And not just because it has a physical university in place, but because the entire city has seemingly embraced advanced education. Just look at the Canada Education Park. The former military base is now home to 200 acres of educational learning space, including the Pacific Region Training Centre, the Justice Institute of BC, Canada Border Services Agency, and the University of the Fraser Valley’s Trades and Technology Centre. It has top-notch training facilities for police, paramedics and border agents, as well as for students in the trades. And later this year, a much larger UFV campus will also be on site. With a workforce of nearly 500 currently at the Education Park, and a student body in the thousands, it’s no surprise Chilliwack is prospering from the economic spinoffs.

UFV moves its downtown campus this year FACTS With an $18 million operating budget, PRTC provides training to RCMP from across the province, as well as police officers from municipal forces. It also works with Canada Border Services and other law enforcement agencies.

ployees and more than 15,000 students enrolled in classes. Craig Toews, chair of the new campus planning committee, estimated the university’s economic impact on Chilliwack to exceed $100 million by way of employment, the rental and housing market, recreation, entertainment, retail, etc. “And that’s going to grow,”

said Toews. The new Chilliwack campus will consist of one-million square feet of new buildings – double the size of the university’s campus in Abbotsford – and will have room for up to 20,000 students. Current enrollment in Chilliwack sits at 1,000 full-time students, a number that’s expected to increase with the

new campus to 1,350 fulltime students, double that when you factor in part-time and continuing-ed students – many of whom are staying home instead of leaving town for university, and others who are drawn to the community for their education. In addition, the Trades and Technology Centre has approximately 400 full-time stu-

dents enrolled. The Chilliwack campus also employs 215 staff, which again is expected to grow. UFV’s long-term vision includes a University Heights style campus split into four quads with a town square at the core, similar to that of Simon Fraser University’s UniverCity. Continued: CEP/ p13

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The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is a $100 million operation; 20 per cent of which comes from the Chilliwack campus. It has a workforce of more than 1,000 emLong range plan of how the University of the Fraser Valley could look at the Canada Education Park.

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Advancing education

Open February 2013

Drawing of UFV’s new Chilliwack campus, expected to open this year.

CEP from p12 The university itself takes up 45 of the 80 acres UFV controls at the Canada Education Park. That leaves 35 acres to develop student residences, housing, commercial and retail opportunities, and research parks which will not only generate revenues for the university for decades to come, but also for the community. “This is about building a university town,” said Toews. “The community is going to be the economic driver.” ❖❖❖

Not only does the Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC) provide employment and educational opportunities, it also brings thousands of people into the community every year. With an $18 million operating budget, PRTC provides training to RCMP from across the province, as well as police officers from municipal forces. It also works with Canada Border Services and other law enforcement agencies.

When PRTC first moved to the former military base, it had planned for 16,000 training days a year, a number which has grown exponentially to 60,000 training days. At any time there’s between 300 and 400 people attending courses, ranging from human resource management, to firearms and tactical training. Delivering those programs is a core of 105 staff, plus more than 100 support staff, security and medical team. The centre also offers hotel facilities for visiting students, including a full-service restaurant. A 25-year plan for the site includes an investment of between $100 million and $300 million, which will inevitably create even more jobs, bring in more people, and spread more money through the community. ❖❖❖

Add to that the Justice Institute’s 20-year plan to expand its Chilliwack campus to upwards of 750 paramedic students, from the 400 it cur-

rently has enrolled, with a new 25,000 plus square foot campus, and the Canada Education Park will be even more of a major contributor to the economic and social fabric of Chilliwack. ❖❖❖

Not bad, considering that when the military – a mainstay of the city’s economy – left town, local officials were scrambling for another economic pick-me-up. They got what they were looking for with the Canada Education Park.

9 99 9 99 9 99 9 99 9 99 9 99

FACTS The Justice Institute of B.C.’s 20-year plan is to expand its Chilliwack campus to upwards of 750 paramedic students, from the current 400.

Open Fall 2011

Open January 2012

Touring construction progress at UFV’s new campus. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE 3-11T_CSD29

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Thinking outside the classroom Chilliwack schools find success offering options

FACTS Chilliwack has several magnet schools, including traditional, international baccalaureate, fine arts and sports academies.

Advanced Education isn’t the only educational economic driver of the city. Chilliwack school district is bringing dollars into the community as well. The district generates dollars through parents purchasing school supplies – paper, textbooks, writing utensils, calculators, etc. – and back to school clothes for their children every year. It further boosts the economy with its magnet schools and international students. Chilliwack has several magnet schools, including traditional, international baccalaureate, and fine arts. But it’s the schools with sports academies that have sparked interest in students from other school districts and even abroad. Both in their first year, the hockey academy and baseball academy at Sardis secondary have brought in two students from Northern B.C. and are actively trying to bring in more. The baseball academy’s coach Shawn Corness, a former Montreal Expos prospect and current pitching coach at the University of British Columbia, is using his connections with the North American baseball community to further shine light onto the baseball academy, which currently has 28 students enrolled. The hockey academy, which currently has 18 students enrolled, is using its partnership with the Chilliwack Bruins, and the school’s acting vice principal Maryanne Mussell’s involvement as an education advisor for the Western Hockey League to promote the academy. The school is also purchasing advertisements through a variety of media and is linked to the Chilliwack Bruins and Chilliwack Minor hockey websites. Across town at Chilliwack middle school, the hockey academy has also had students from other districts move with their families into the Chilliwack school district, specifically for the hockey academy. And this year, it had a family from Austria seriously inquire about the academy for their son. The hockey academy at Chilliwack middle costs $1,200 per student, per year, which pays for ice time at Prospera Centre, transportation, three coaches plus a goalie coach

Three new schools are currently under construction. FACTS Twenty years ago, Chilliwack had no international students; today, there are 40 international students from all over the world living, studying, socializing in the community, some whose families come to visit, and some who even stay on in Chilliwack for their postsecondary education.

Both in their first year, the hockey academy and baseball academy at Sardis secondary have brought in two students from Northern B.C. and are actively trying to bring in more. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

and lead instructor. The academies at Sardis secondary both cost $2,000 per student, per year, which pays for coaches, guest coaches, facility rentals, facility updates, equipment, transportation costs and uniforms – all of which have a trickle down effect for other employment and spending opportunities in the Chilliwack community. The academies are also bringing scouts into town, who up until recently rarely ventured beyond Abbotsford in search of talent. They’re helping put Chilliwack on the map. In addition to the sports academies, the district has also increased its focus with international students. Twenty years ago, Chilliwack had no international students; today, there are 40 international students from all over the world living, studying, socializing in the community, some whose families come to visit, and some who even stay on in Chilliwack for their postsecondary education. “Besides the tuition these students bring into the district, most of them also live in home stay and pay a monthly home-stay fee, eat in our restaurants, and go shopping,” said Glen Tiechko, administra-

tor for the district’s international student program. “Some also do carry on to UFV and or have their families immigrate here and work and invest in our community.” The tuition for an international student is $11,500 plus another $800 a month for home stay, food and lodging. Part of the revenue derived from the tuition goes to providing services such as ESL support when needed. It also helps offset recruitmentrelated costs. The remain-

ing revenue goes directly to school district needs, such as purchasing extra teacher time, and educational assistant time, in-the-classroom resources, new computers and software, etc. “In my experience, many of these students arrive in Canada typically with whatever belongings they can get into two suitcases,” said Sardis secondary principal Bob Long, who currently has 30 of the 40 international students at his school. “They then spend a lot

of money in the acquisition of clothing, school supplies, electronics,” further driving the Chilliwack economy.

Nicola Bramble teaches her Grade 2/3 class how to write the letter ‘k’ during a lesson last year at Strathcona elementary. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE 1

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To Chilliwack’s good health Health care sector remains strong As Chilliwack General Hospital celebrated its 100th birthday earlier this year, it wasn’t looking backward. It was looking to the future. Certainly there is much to be proud of in that intervening century. From a 12-bed hospital that cost $10,000 to build in 1911, Chilliwack hospital has grown to a 138-bed facility that employs 1,400 people and benefits from the expertise of 55 general practitioners and 25 specialists. It offers a range of services – a list that got a little broader with the completion of a $35 million expansion and renovation. Designed using industry best practises, the work included a new modern laboratory and emergency department and several renovated facilities, including: ambulatory care, cardiopulmonary clinic, medical daycare, pediatric offices and a new education room. The expansion is aimed at accommodating the projected growth in the region and ensuring adequate health care

options are available in the community. Said Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District chair, Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz: “It is fitting that the new and improved facilities at Chilliwack General Hospital are fully complete in the same year that the hospital celebrates its centennial year. “The hospital is now well equipped to continue into its second century of caring for our community.” The new facility includes state-of-the-art equipment, while providing improved privacy, patient comfort and security. But it, too, was completed with an eye to the future. As part of the undertaking, a second floor above the expanded emergency department was roughed in for future expansion. The work drew strong public support. Of the $35 million spent, $5 million came through public and corporate donations. The project wasn’t the only

one taking place at CGH. In December the Fraser Health Authority announced plans for Ceder Ridge – a new $2.3-million, 20-bed mental health rehabilitation program. The new residential program for adults with serious, complex and persistent mental illness who require more intensive and highly specialized rehabilitation and treatment is targeted to open by August 2011. Cedar Ridge is a key component of Fraser Health’s commitment to the Riverview Redevelopment Project, which is bringing mental health care into communities and closer to families and local health care resources. The Province is investing $1.5 million in the renovation project with the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District (FVRHD) contributing $800,000. About 30 staff members will work with the residents to provide specialized rehabilitation treatment and care with a focus on recovery to each client’s level of capability. Pro-

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Chilliwack General Hospital recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the opening of its $35 million expansion. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

gramming and support will be related to developing basic life skills such as meal preparation, housekeeping, budgeting and leisure planning. The length of stay will range from six to 24 months or longer depending on individual needs. Expanded mental health services represent another component in Chilliwack’s health care sector. The sector plays an impor-

tant role in the health and well being of the community, but also its economic vitality. Indeed, healthcare is responsible for employing more than 10 per cent of the local workforce, while generating eight per cent of all community income. And there are other potentials. The City of Chilliwack is encouraging educational partnerships that will capital-

ize on the Canada Education Park’s ability to bring together partners like the University of the Fraser Valley to provide additional opportunities and jobs in the region. Chilliwack General Hospital may well have celebrated its first centennial, but the best days of Chilliwack health care may still be ahead.

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Retail sector gathers steam Chilliwack seen as future ‘economic powerhouse’

FACTS Billed as the largest unenclosed

Chilliwack realtor Kelly Johnston is opening his new Sutton Group “business centre” later this month in the old Envision credit union building on Young Street, just blocks away from vacant downtown stores and the gaping hole left by the demolition of the Empress Hotel. But Johnston says he’s confident “something big” is going to happen in the city’s downtown, and he wants to be there when it does. There have been false starts before, he agrees, but this time the city’s economic development arm, the Chilliwack Economic Development Corporation, is involved in the redevelopment of the Empress Hotel site. CEPCO is also the driver behind a long list of successful business projects, Johnston points out, including the Canada Education Park, where the new UFV campus will be located, and the associated Garrison Village residential/ retail area. CEPCO has also brought a number of key players into the Chilliwack economy, he adds: Ritchie Bros Auction, Kal-Tire, the Stream call centre, and the Soprema roofing materials facility. “CEPCO has done all that,” Johnston reasons, “I think they’re going to cause something to happen in the downtown - that alone tells me it must happen.” “Something big will happen, and we believe we’re positioned well for that,” he says. Other encouraging signs for retailers in Chilliwack were reported by business officials contacted by The Progress for this article. Their positive outlook was based mainly on the city’s stable economy - buoyed as it was through the worst of the recession by its agriculture sector - and on plans to keep it that way by developing another inherently stable economic sector: education. The Canada Education Park, designed to replace the old CFB Chilliwack military base in Chilliwack’s economy, has already spawned a mix of new retailers at the Garrison Village development within walking distance of students and trainees, and the Garrison Crossing residential develop-

shopping centre in the Lower Mainland, Eagle Landing has 600,000 squarefeet of retail space.

Retail spending in Chilliwack is estimated at $1 billion. FACTS This retail and wholesale sector in Chilliwack employs more than 7,300 people. The proportion of the local labour force employed in retail and wholesale trade is approximately 24 percent.

People shop at the new Walmart Supercentre in Eagle Landing. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

ment where some of them will also live. But the brightest new star on Chilliwack’s retail horizon is the Eagle Landing shopping centre.

Eagle Landing Billed as the largest unenclosed shopping centre in the Lower mainland, Eagle Landing has 600,000 square-feet of retail space, compared to the 234,000 square-feet at Cottonwood Mall. The development is anchored by a 150,000 squarefoot “super centre” Walmart store, one of the largest in B.C., and by an eight-screen Cineplex digital movie theatre and by an 80,000 square-foot Home Depot store. It’s expected that these “Big Box” stores at Eagle Landing, and the other retailers and movie theatre located there, will draw shoppers not only from the 100,000-plus population in the Chilliwack area, but from as far away as Hope and Merritt. “No one can look at Chilliwack any longer as being a secondary country market,” says David Coon, executive vice-president of the Property Development Group, joint partner with the Squiala First Nation in the Eagle Landing

project. He says the project “does a couple of things, it keeps (shoppers) in Chilliwack and creates jobs” which will increase the amount of money spent in the local economy. And no longer will residents who commute to jobs west of Chilliwack face a long drive home, he says, only to have to turn around for another long commute back to Abbotsford to shop or go to the movies. Eagle Landing is expected to have a ripple effect across the entire city, changing traffic patterns and drawing shoppers back to the downtown

area where “specialty” retailers can provide products and services not carried by the Big Box stores. Ken Popove, president of the Downtown Business Improvement Association, agreed in an earlier interview with the “specialty” store marketing strategy for downtown businesses. He saw Eagle Landing as an opportunity to get shoppers back on the north side of the city, where smaller stores could offer a “boutique” style of service, “a whole different shopping experience than it is in a retail mall.”

“You take care of people, and they’ll come back and take care of you,” Popove said. “That’s what works in a small store.” He also called the newlyrenovated Coast Hotel a “jewel” already improving the downtown business scene, and re-development of the Empress Hotel and the old Safeway store “game-changers” in the long history of downtown revitalization. Jason Lum, president of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, attributes the current number of vacant stores in the Continued: RETAIL/ p18

Garrison Village is within walking distance of the Canada Education Park. 1

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Stable economy aids retail RETAIL from p16 downtown to “uncertainty” over economic conditions in the U.S., where the recession is still taking its toll. There’s also the uncertainty over the fate of the harmonized sales tax here in B.C. he says, and possible changes to the corporate tax rate by the federal government.

“Small businesses are sitting on their capital right now, because of the uncertainty,” he says. “We seem to be in a holding pattern.” Still, 35 per cent of the chamber’s new members are retailers, he points out, and many of them are “specialty”

retailers. However, they’re setting up their businesses “all over town,” he says, “it’s not concentrated in one location.” Lum agrees that Chilliwack’s economy is relatively stable, compared to other B.C. municipalities hit by the recession. “Agriculture insulated us from the more dramatic changes,” he says. “We’re not seeing the same cluster of effects that other places are.” With the stability that comes from agriculture - and from the Canada Education Park - Lum sees no reason why Chilliwack can’t become the “powerhouse of the Fraser Valley.” “I think Chilliwack is wellpositioned to be the economic powerhouse in the Fraser Valley,” he says.

Thirty-five per cent of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce’s new members are retailers. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Canada Education Park CEPCO president John Jansen says the students expected at the University of the Fraser Valley’s new campus at the Canada Education Park, their well-paid professors, plus the

trainees constantly attending the RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre, the B.C. Justice Institute and the Canada Border Services Agency “all of those things drive the retail

market.” The education park “provides a constant stream of market opportunities because it’s a stable stream,” he explains. “It doesn’t change with

the economy going up and down.” During a period of economic downturn, workers looking to re-train, will find opportunities for training at all the partners

in the education park, including UFV’s Trades and Technology Centre. The $21-million state-ofthe-art centre opened in 2007, Continued: URBAN/ p19

The historic downtown offers a captivating combination of past, present, and future as generational family businesses are intermixed with new developments and fresh marketing ideas. Be entertained by great family events, take in the many unique shops and services, or simply come for the people. Business is growing in Downtown Chilliwack. Become a part of the ever-changing landscape.

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Innovative urban mix ect’s partners, which includes the Canada Land Corporation. While the CLC re-developed military housing on the base to create the Garrison Crossing residential area, it was also planning an innovative retail area nearby for residents and students called Garrison Village. Anchored by a 27,000 square-foot Coopers grocery store, the 80,000 square-foot village has 185 residential units above retail shops like a wine and liquor store, a sushi bar, tanning salon, sandwich shop and several dental health offices. The new UFV campus is expected to open later this year, adding another piece to the education park that city officials began planning back in 1996 when the military base closed and that mainstay of the local economy disappeared. “All these things are great for retail opportunities in Chilliwack,” Jansen says.

URBAN from p18 six years after the RCMP opened its Pacific Region Training Centre on the 84-acre site, once the home of the CFB Chilliwack military base. The B.C. Justice Institute also located a training facility at the education park, providing students with realistic simulations in areas like policing, firefighting, paramedic training and conflict resolution. In 2009, the Canada Border Services Agency also opened a training facility. The $40-million campus project, which got underway last year, includes renovation of a military engineering school, construction of new buildings for classrooms, an office tower, a student “town hall” and an indoor courtyard. “The best way to think about it is a community of teachers and learners all around a dynamic town square,” UFV president Mark Evered said in an earlier interview. The retail spin-offs of the education park were always a part of the vision of the proj-

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Lum says he’s “very optimis-

Planning for the Garrison Crossing neighbourhood included plans for the pedestrian-friendly shopping district, Garrison Village.

tic” about the retail outlook for Chilliwack - in no small part because of the calibre of Chilliwack businesspeople. “These small business people are smart people, they work tremendously hard on their

businesses,” he says. “We have to stay optimistic,” he adds, and avoid the “sky is falling” fears, but without turning a blind eye to economic realities. Chilliwack residents have to

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step up to the plate as well, he says, and resist the temptation to shop outside the community “and build on the economic advantages within the city.” “You have to make a concerted effort to increase the

economic activity here in Chilliwack by shopping locally when you can,” he says. “We have so many pieces of the puzzle,” he says. “Now we just have to start putting them together.”


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To market, to market Food processing takes agriculture a step further

FACTS More than 73 per cent of the food we consumed in British Columbia – roughly $3.4 billion worth – is imported from elsewhere.

Food processing was a waning industry in Chilliwack just a few years ago. Where once names like Pacific Coast Packers Ltd. and the Borden Milk Company provided jobs for people and markets for produce, modernization and regional concentration ate away at those opportunities. But Chilliwack is winning back that business. Through smart marketing and land use planning, Chilliwack is seeing an increase in major food processing, as well as specialty production that makes the most of Chilliwack’s vibrant agriculture sector. Food processing has long been seen as a key area for economic growth in Chilliwack – not only by the City of Chilliwack, but also by Chilliwack Economic Partners which was formed by the city to attract business development to the area. The potential is obvious: Chilliwack provides 11 per cent of the raw materials for food processing in British Columbia, says CEPCO. And yet, more than 73 per cent of the food we consume in this province – roughly $3.4 billion worth – is imported from elsewhere. Processing that food here presents several advantages. For the farmer, closer proximity to production facilities provides a more accessible market for their goods. For the business, that proximity saves time and helps reduce transportation costs. And for the community, the food production industry provides employment, while fortifying the local tax base. Chilliwack is perfectly positioned to increase its presence in BC’s growing food production industry, says CEPCO. While still close to major markets like Vancouver and the U.S., it still offers lower land and operating costs. Businesses are starting to agree. A few years ago Rogers Foods invested $25 million into a new mill that now employs 28 people. Said Vic Bell, president of Rogers Foods, at the time: “Chilliwack has excellent road and rail transportation corridors that will enable us to receive raw materials and efficiently ship finished products to our target markets. “We also selected Chilliwack as the site of our new mill,”

Major Employers: Company Employees Vantage Foods: 110 Johnston Packers: 110 Fraser Valley Meats: 70 Agropur Div. Natrel: 45 Sandel Foods: 40 Coast Mount. Dairy: 33 Rogers Foods: 28

Source: CEPCO, 2010

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The Smits family with their Smits and Co.w Farm Cheese business on Lickman Road. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

he added, “because of the community’s commitment to agriculture and agriculture infrastructure.” According to CEPCO, British Columbia has an opportunity to expand its food production by a third as we shift away from imports and rely more on food produced closer to home. That potential helped prompt the creation of the Kerr Avenue Food Processing Park – a park within the city of Chilliwack specifically designed to accommodate growth in the agri-food sector. In 2007 Advantage Foods became the first tenant at the park. It opened a 65,000 square foot facility that currently employs 110 people. More recently, Sandel foods opened a 70,000-square-foot facility at the park which employs 40 people. The state-ofthe-art plant provides fruit fillings and sauces to bakeries, dairies and food service facilities across Canada. Of course, not all food processing facilities in Chilliwack are on this scale. Indeed, many farms are finding opportunity in providing production facilities on site. They’re tapping into a burgeoning market as

consumers seek food options that are closer to home and locally produced. In fact, there are currently more than 20 food and beverage production facilities in Chilliwack, ranging in size from places like Johnston Packers, which employs 110 people, to places like Anita’s Organic Grain and Flour Mill. They cover a range of products that includes cheeses, honey and dairy products. Many of the locations are part of the

Chilliwack Circle Farm Tour – a self-guided tour that lets you explore the agricultural bounty that Chilliwack has to offer. (For more information go to www.circlefarmtour.ca) Some are traditional to the region, like Smits Farm Cheese company, which produces a variety of traditional gouda cheeses from milk produced right on the farm. Others are more unique, like Pacific Coffee Roasters. The company brings in Fair Trade

organic coffee beans from around the world, blends and roasts them locally and distributes the finished product (in locally designed bags) to locations throughout the region. CEPCO, and the Chilliwack Agricultural Commission, sees more potential. As consumers seek safe, secure, and locally produced product choices, Chilliwack has the opportunity to expand and enhance its food processing sector.

Advantage Foods became the first tenant at the Kerr Avenue Food Processing Park when it opened its 65,000 square foot facility. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS


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Aviation set to soar to new heights Chilliwack airport Chilliwack’s airport has a long and storied history in the community. However, efforts underway today promise to elevate the facility to new heights and make it an important component in the future economic development of Chilliwack. The airport, situated on

130 acres of land, offers a 3,990-foot runway that’s both lighted and paved. It also offers an adjacent taxiway, and 24-hour fueling facilities that can accommodate everything from small aircraft to turbine and jet aircraft, as well as helicopters.

Home to roughly 75 private and commercial aircraft, it currently houses 20 businesses, offering flight training, charter services and aircraft maintenance. The airport terminal – perhaps best known for the famous pie in its Airport Café – can accommodate aircraft with up to 19 passengers. Each year there are roughly 60,000 air traffic movements at the airport. But the community may best know the facility from its annual air festival – Chilliwack Flight Fest. Each August thousands of people line the runway to watch spectacular aerial shows, or get a closer look at vintage aircraft and learn more about the aviation industry. And thanks to strong volunteer and business support, the air show is absolutely free to the public. But while residents may be proud of their airport, the City of Chilliwack and its economic

Aerobatic pilot Dave Mathieson soars through the air during a practice flight in Chilliwack gearing up to Flight Fest 2010. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

development arm, Chilliwack Economic Partners, sees further potential.

The city recently formed the Chilliwack Aviation and Aerospace Planning Committee to

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Looking ahead to aviation growth AVIATION from p22 Chilliwack’s aviation and aerospace industry.” With congestion and escalating land costs in other parts of the Lower Mainland, city hall sees an advantage for Chilliwack. Says committee chair Ken Smith: “As the community continues to grow, and people want to head out of the more congested areas of the Lower Mainland, Chilliwack Airport is going to play a more significant role in the local aviation and aerospace industry.” One of those initiatives is the development of the Chilliwack Aviation Park, located at the west end of the runway. The park will provide opportunities for business, as well as recreational users. Attracting business to the airport is a key aspect to the city’s strategy. “New technology and changing demographics are creating opportunities and market niches for a new variety of goods and services,” it says. As the local aviation industry grows, so do the job and training opportunities. In addition, growth in the sector would also provide spinoff benefits to the community giving Chilliwack another economic lift as it moves forward.

Chilliwack’s Flight Fest is a popular free event at the airport every summer. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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FACTS More than 19,000 show tickets at Chilliwack’s new cultural center had been snapped up by the time 2010 came to a close, which translates into $326,000 in revenues.

Michael Cade is the executive director at the new Chilliwack Cultural Centre. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Chilliwack on the cultural map Chilliwack Cultural Centre earning applause The $22-million Chilliwack Cultural Centre has become the focal point for the highcalibre arts and culture performance in this part of the Fraser Valley. Early results from the inaugural season put them right on target for budget and use projections, said Dave Stephen, president of the Chilliwack Arts and Cultural Centre Society. More than 19,000 show tickets had been snapped up by the time 2010 came to a close, which translates into $326,000 in revenues. Even more recent figures, just on the shows presented by the Society, they’ve had the sales volume equivalent to 20 sold-out shows in the old Chilliwack Arts Centre. That makes the 68,000 square-foot Cultural Centre the undisputed economic driver on the arts front. As families from other parts of the Lower Mainland continue to move into Chilliwack due to regional growth, they bring with them certain expectations about getting access to cultural offerings, like symphony music, theatre

Cultural Centre cost: $22 million.

FACTS The Cultural Centre society oversees operation of the centre on behalf of the City of Chilliwack, with a $400,000 management agreement, and responsibility for generating $600,000 to $700,000 of the $1-million operating

or visual art, said Michael Cade, executive director of the Cultural Centre. “For some it can even be a factor in a decision to move here,” he said. “Having it all here, housed under one roof, makes an enormous difference.” Bringing in a higher calibre of entertainment to showcase in the new building, along with the other artistic and educational activities going on, has put them on a whole new playing field. There’s ample potential for a “multifaceted” artistic experience. “It’s not just one particular show. There’s also the chance to take a tour through the Art Gallery, or watch a Bhangra dance class or a choral rehearsal. “Where else could you go and have that experience?” said Cade. “Chilliwack is incredibly lucky.” The original catalyst for the creation and construction of the Cultural Centre actually emerged from a cultural strategy commissioned by the city and CEPCO several years ago, explained

Stephen. It zeroed in on the need for Chilliwack to move forward with a new, purposebuilt arts and culture facility, and with the support of city officials and project steering

committee the planning began in earnest. The upshot was that a beautiful new facility would capture two different streams of traffic that weren’t coming to Chilliwack before, one

was the performance and event traffic which might have gone elsewhere in the past, and the other is the broader impact of having a cultural “showpiece” located Continued: CULTURAL/ p26

budget.

All types of entertainment can be found at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. 1

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Cultural Centre adds attraction Making connections CULTURAL from p24 not too far from the downtown core. “It suddenly makes that community very attractive, and definitely something that wasn’t here before,” Stephen said. As officials go forward trying to attract businesses to Chilliwack, a significant part of being able to do it effectively relies on the strength of the city’s attractions like the Leisure Centre, the Landing Sports Centre, Prospera Centre, and now, the last major addition, the Cultural Centre. The Cultural Centre society oversees operation of the centre on behalf of the City of Chilliwack, with a $400,000 management agreement, and responsibility for generating $600,000 to $700,000 of the $1-million operating budget. Ultimately there’s a fairly lofty goal embedded in the management philosophy. While running the arts facility efficiently is paramount, profit is not the only motive. “It’s really about making connections with the community,” Cade said. “Of course we’re always going to strive to put bums in seats, but as a not-for-profit charity, bringing people into the building to make artistic connections is the absolute priority. “Everything else comes second.”

The Chilliwack Festival Chorus rehearses at the Cultural Centre. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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Dancers with Images Dance Studio perform their number ‘Jungle’ at the Chilliwack Lions Club 64th annual Music and Dance Festival. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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Nothing minor about sports FACTS

Recreation plays important role in Chilliwack’s vitality

Chilliwack FC keeps local fields alive with soccer year round, and supports the Chilliwack Youth Soccer Tournament, held annually on the last weekend of August for the last 28 years.

Chilliwack has a number of local sports organizations contributing to the local economy. Chilliwack Minor Hockey and Chilliwack FC spring immediately to mind as massive associations making an impact. During their respective seasons, a normal weekend will see visiting teams coming to town for games, dining in local restaurants and fueling up at local gas stations. When either organization stages a major event, the economic impact rises accordingly. CHMHA hosts several tournaments during the year, the biggest being the Peewee Jamboree that takes place shortly after Christmas. These tournaments run over several days and draw teams from far and wide, often requiring them to book into local hotels. Chilliwack FC keeps local fields alive with soccer year round, and supports the Chilliwack Youth Soccer Tournament, held annually on the last weekend of August for the last 28 years. The tournament is organized and run by a pair of local men, Roland Mickler and Peter Short, and attracts over 100 teams from around the province. Local hotels, camp grounds and restaurants are packed that weekend. The B.C. Football Conference Chilliwack Huskers host five regular season games every year at Exhibition Stadium, drawing a few hundred fans to the field on beautiful summer nights. But the team’s biggest economic driver is the spring camp. “We had over 80 players in attendance last year, as well as half a dozen guest coaches, and will have at least that many again this year,” said Huskers assistant coach Geoff Sache. “We also draw attendees from across the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Prince George, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. We rent out most of Evergreen Hall and the Landing Sports Centre for meals and meetings. We always work out a deal with a local hotel for the out-oftown players to stay Friday and Saturday night. Some of them will stay over on the Sunday as well, depending on when they are flying home. Our food budget is probably

FACTS Chilliwack Minor Football hosts the Valley Community Football League finals every year, drawing between 5001000 day visitors.

Chilliwack Minor Football hosts the Valley Community Football League finals every year. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

our next biggest cost when you factor in all of the meals that we provide for both players and coaches, and our field

and facility rentals will round out the majority of our spending for the weekend.” Sache said the benefits of

Chilliwack Football Club keeps local fields alive with soccer year round. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE 1

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junior football go well beyond dollars and cents, and even beyond the community appearances expected of a junior sports organization. “If you want to delve a bit deeper, I would say that the biggest contribution that our club makes is that getting to know all of the players who come here seems to have enriched the lives of everyone who is involved with our team,” he said. “Our equipment manager, Jim Willix, said working with the players keeps him young. We spend a large part of our year seeing them night in and night out for three or four seasons, getting to know them and watching them grow, and when they’re gone we miss them. A lot of our board members have had players stay at their houses during the season and most would also tell you that it was a positive experience that enriched their lives.” Sticking with the gridiron, Chilliwack Minor Football hosts the Valley Community Football League finals every year, drawing between 5001000 day visitors. Fielding teams at several levels, from atom to midget, CMFA provides a way for kids to get ex-

ercise and hone their competitive spirit. But Laurie Smith, head coach of the provincial champion peewee Giants, believes an effective sports association provides much more than physical fitness. “In my experience coaching, football seems to attract some

families where there isn’t a male role model around, and I see it as a positive influence in these kids lives, especially when coaches focus on character issues and teaching boys how to be better men when they grow up,” he observed. “Football is a great game for teaching life lessons about commitment, sportsmanship, teamwork, mutual respect and support, how to handle success and failure and what it takes to succeed in many areas of life.” Continued: SPORTS/ p30


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Chilliwack’s Ben Holwerda of the Spartan Swim Club competes at a swim meet earlier this year. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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Competing to the best of their ability SPORTS from p28 Duncan Harrison, a coach at the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club, adds to that, citing sports as a positive outlet for the exuberance of youth. “Giving our youth a place to work hard, learn how to get along with others, stay fit and learn valuable life skills is not specific to just sports, but they are one of the largest

and best known outlets,” he said. “Helping young people to respect and get along with others, even if they do not see eye to eye, goes a long way to making our community a better place to live in.” And while some shy away from the notion that sports should be competitive and

winning should be a priority, Harrison embraces the notion. “It is critical that we teach these young people to compete to the best of their ability, and to make every effort to win,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they will win, but we need to teach them that the need to win, or at the very least make every effort within the rules to win, is a mirror of how real life works. If we want to give our youth the best chance to succeed at life, they must learn to win while respecting their opponents, teammates, parents, coaches and officials. It is just as imperative that they lose with dignity and respect, and that they are willing to get back up, practice and improve in order to give themselves a better chance to succeed the next time they compete.” Sharing that youth-first philosophy, the Chilliwack Golf and Country Club offers its course no charge to a couple of local high school teams, and the University of the Fraser Valley golf team also makes it their home course. Manager Kerry Grittner delivered this

Chilliwack Huskers host five regular season games every year at Exhibition Stadium. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

slightly tongue-in-cheek take on the benefits of golf. “Swedish scientists discovered recently that playing golf can add five years to your life,

through the exercise, having something to look forward to with your friends, having a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” he said. “We are

not the only golf course, but one of the better walkable full length courses for sure. We have kept our annual junior memberships at under $300

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Major junior hockey – major impact Scoring with sports It’s accepted as fact that towns with major junior hockey teams reap significant economic benefits, but few markets have actually done the legwork to back that up. In recent Western Hockey League history, only two franchises have been subject to studies. Tourism Saskatoon

produced an economic and social assessment on the Saskatoon Blades for the 200708 season. The University of British Columbia-Okanagan did the same for the Kelowna Rockets, using data collected during the 2008-09 and 200910 seasons.

Celebrating 12 years in Chilliwack.

The results of the Saskatoon study, prepared by Gary Houseman, were boiled down the executive summary, which separated the economic impact into two types of spending. “The first type of spending is from the spectators and companies that attend games and support the Blades,” Houseman wrote. “Ticket sales, spending at games, corporate sponsorships, playoff spending, visitors from outside Saskatoon as well as competitors coming to Saskatoon all contribute to the overall economic impact of the Blades.” Houseman pegged that amount at $9,628,804 per year. “The other type of spending that contributes to the economic impact of the Blades is the spending the Blades organization does itself within Saskatoon,” Houseman added. “This spending includes any salaries and wages the Blades pay, advertising within the Continued: HOCKEY/ p32

The Chilliwack Bruins have the same operational expenses as other WHL teams, with much of that money staying within the community. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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Assessing hockey’s economic impact HOCKEY from p31 City of Saskatoon, donations, player salaries, billet salaries, player spending as well as any spending on educational or scholarship programs that the Blades offer.” Houseman pegged that amount at $1,238,274 and added the two types of spending together to get a total economic impact of $10,867,078

Hockey draws fans and money to city. per year. He then moved on to social impact, tallying up the amount of programs run with the Blades involvement. Just as the Chilliwack Bruins contrib-

ute through their BMO Books with the Bruins program and the Otto Mammel Adopt a School program, the Blades were found to be heavily involved in their community. Players and coaches made 350 appearances totalling more than 710 community hours. The Kelowna study was prepared by Kenneth Carlaw, an associate professor of economics at UBC-O, using STEAM software (Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model) to crunch the numbers. Unlike the Saskatoon study, the full text of Carlaw’s work can still be found online and provides a much more detailed breakdown of the numbers. Carlaw calculated a total of $5,094,897 from regular season spectator spending, which brought together ticket revenue ($2,822,554), dollars spent at the game (concession, souvenirs) and dollars spent within Kelowna by visitors. Carlaw found that spectators spent an average of $23.56 at a Rockets game. The study noted that 9 per cent of the spectators in the arena on any given game night

(19,463 for the season) were from out of town, contributing $6,070,264 to the Kelowna economy through hotel stays, meals and other expenses. Carlaw added another $163,065 spent by visiting teams and another $136,073 spent by the Kelowna players themselves. The study showed the Rockets spending a staggering amount ($3,778,731) on advertising, salaries, travel and other operational expenses. Carlaw pulled in more numbers than the Saskatoon study, pegging the total economic impact of the Rockets at an astounding $31,502,482. As far as social impact? “The person-hours contributed by the players, coaches, management and staff to such programs as BLAST, the in-school reading program, family fun skates, the alumni charity fundraiser, etc., number in the hundreds,” he summarized. “The single biggest contribution made by the team in the community is as a role model and mentor.” The findings of these studies can easily be applied to

Home town spectators buy tickets for Bruins games, line up at the concession and spend money in the team store. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

Chilliwack. Home town spectators buy tickets for Bruins games, line up at the concession and spend money in the team store. On any given night you can also spot groups of fans supporting the visiting team,

Come Worship

and they are also spending money at the game and in the community. The Bruins have the same operational expenses as other WHL teams, with much of that money staying within the community.

As for social impact, Chilliwack players are out and about, donating their time to a number of worthy endeavours. The Bruins are an important cog in the local economic engine.

With Us St. Thomas Anglican Church First Ave @ Young, Chilliwack 604-792-8521 www.stthomaschilliwack.com

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St. Mary’s

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Kids’ Church Both Services

R.C. PARISH & SCHOOL

Pre-School & Kindergarten to Grade 7

604-792-7715 MASS TIMES: Saturday: 9:00am & 5:00pm Sunday: 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:30am & 6:30pm Weekday: 8:00am

Tel: 604-792-2764 Email: office@stmaryparish.ca 8909 Mary Street Chilliwack, BC 03/11F_COG29

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Join us for Sunday Services 9 & 11am

Our facilities are available for: Weddings, Workshops, Luncheons, Seminars & more.

SUNDAY SERVICES 8:00am and 10:15am

New Life

Christian Church Sunday Service 10:00am Sunday School 9:45am Where His Word brings new life and hymns soothe the soul. Watson Elem School 45305 Watson Rd. ALL ARE WELCOME 778-823-4041 03/11F_NL29

Christ Lutheran Church 9460 Charles St., 604-795-3864 christlutheran@telus.net

Sunday Worship Service, 10:00am

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Coming back for more Tourism grows Chilliwack bills itself as a gateway to “The Great Outside.” However, staffing that gateway – and ensuring guests have a comfortable and enjoyable time – is a local tourism industry that employs over nine per cent of Chilliwack’s labour force.

Tourism is a major industry in Chilliwack – an industry with the potential to get even stronger. According to Tourism Chilliwack, most of the visitors to Chilliwack stay for only one day. However, as visitors become more familiar with what the area has to offer, Tourism Chilliwack believes those stays

could be made longer. Says Brian Minter, president of Minter Gardens: “Chilliwack is a city rich in natural resources and outstanding travel generators… with crystal clear lakes, beaches, mountains, wilderness, golfing, worldclass fishing, water parks and gardens. We also have a multitude of family-oriented international events, activities, dining, shopping, accommodations and recreational facilities. And with our proximity to major Canadian and American urban areas, Chilliwack is well positioned for growth in the tourism industry.“ Already there are several hundred businesses in Chilliwack that are touched by the tourism industry. They range in size from large full-service hotels like the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn and the newly renovated Coast Hotel, to smaller farm-gate attractions. Roughly 70 per cent of the visitors are day trippers, according to stats complied by Chilliwack Economic Partners.

They come to enjoy Chilliwack’s spectacular scenery and relaxed country living. Chilliwack, after all, has much. From its world-class fishing, to outstanding mountain trails, nature is at Chilliwack’s doorstep. That reputation has people talking. In fact last year, Chilliwack earned a Top 10 placing in the World Fishing Network’s “Ultimate Fishing Town” contest. Fishing is a major draw in Chilliwack. Every year local rivers draw sport fishermen

who might spend a day, purchase supplies – and, if their luck doesn’t hold, a meal at a local restaurant. Tourism can come in a number of less-traditional forms. An auction of heavy machinery might not seem like a major tourist draw, but with the recent opening of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, local hotels and restaurants saw an increase in revenue. The auctions draw people from across North American who travel to Chilliwack to view the machinery and place their

bids. Often, they don’t come alone, meaning side trips to places like Minter Gardens, or local shopping centres. Chilliwack’s agricultural industry is also a tourist draw. Every year the Circle Farm Tour brings people to the country for a day to experience and learn more about Chilliwack’s rural lifestyle. That introduction often has them coming back to see more and do more. Chilliwack’s array of major attractions recently got a little larger with the construc-

Community: The building blocks of hope.

to our community and volunteers. Helping give hope for over 87 years in Chilliwack. • Emergency Shelter • Homeless Outreach • Food Bank • Thrift Store • Community Church • Summer Camps • Men’s & Women’s Adult Shelters • Youth Safe House • Soup Kitchen • Recycling Program • Day Care • Family Services • Christmas Hampers

If you would like to support the Salvation Army... by mail: The Salvation Army Chilliwack, 45746 Yale Road, Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 2N4 ®

Giving Hope Today

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online giving at:

www.salvationarmychilliwack.ca

tion of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Offering performances available only in larger communities, the facility is drawing people from throughout the region. The same can be said for the Prospera Centre and the WHL franchise the Chilliwack Bruins. Tourism is a key industry in B.C. and Chilliwack is seeing growth in its market share. Overnight stays are increasing, as visitors realize that Chilliwack is not just a gateway, but also a destination.


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Gone Fishing: Chilliwack was named one of the Top 10 Fishing Towns in Canada by the World Wide Fishing Network. JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS FILE

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PACIFIC REGION TRAINING CENTRE 2001 - 2011

Ten Years of Training in our Community

PRTC is recognized internationally as a worldclass training facility for our expertise in advanced and specialized police techniques for the RCMP. The core training keeps RI多FHUVDWWKHWRSRIWKHLU game for tactical intervention, and in doing so, enhances our ability to protect the lives, rights, and property of the people in the communities we serve. PRTC is one of the few law enforcement training centres WREULQJSROLFHRI多FHUVIDFH to-face from across Canada.

PACIFIC REGION TRAINING CENTRE

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Easy Life & Convenient Shopping

Nestled in the award winning residential community of Garrison Crossing, Garrison Village offers all the convenience of a retail shopping centre & more. Visit the Garrison Crossing Presentation Centre to learn about the most recent housing options to best ďŹ t your lifestyle.

For retail leasing opportunities contact Sean Ogilvie or Sheldon Scott at Colliers International

604-681-4111 Presentation Centre Open 1 - 5 pm Saturday to Thursday (closed Fridays) No. 24 Normandy Drive, Chilliwack 604-824-5062 www.garrisoncrossing.ca 3/11F G29

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