As mobile home parks face the wrecking ball, residents ponder their future in a perilous housing market
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Monday, Nov. 7, 2022 | Today’s weather: [rain/snow/sun/clouds]Β Β 4 C | 7-day forecast

Good Morning Reader!

I know Halloween was a while ago, but in the Olsen household, we still have a ton of candy because my kids only get to eat a little each day. That, I learned on Halloween, is not necessarily the right way to go about things. Some public health officials endorse letting kids eat as much as possible. The idea is they’ll get sick of it and it will also teach them food consumption skills.

Maybe I’m doing things wrong and my kids are more likely to turn into sugar-obsessed maniacs when they get control of their stashes. The weird thing, though, is that usually by mid-November my kids forget about their candy mountain. Or they seem to. I’ve learned though that a hungry dad dips into that stash at his own peril, because when the kids do remember their candy cache, it is hard to explain why the chocolate has all vanished.

β€”Tyler Olsen, managing editor
Barbara Boehmer expects to be forced out of her home in the years to come to make way for new construction.. 📸 Tyler Olsen

Seniors face fear of demo-victions

A group of Chilliwack seniors could be forced to leave their homes.

Barbara Boehmer pays $650 in rent at the Fraser Village Mobile Home Park in Chilliwack. That is manageable on her $20,000 pension. But the 74-year-old has been living in fear of being left homeless. And she is warning that many others may soon find themselves in a similar position.

Last summer, the owner of the park sold the property to Westbow, a Chilliwack-based development company.
Many residents in the 57-unit property on Wolfe Road are seniors living on "a tight pension," Boehmer said.

"So there isn’t additional income to be sourced from anywhere except our savings, and they won’t last forever," she said. "Not for the rest of our lives anyway."

Need to know

⚑ Thousands lost power for more than a day but power has been restored for most; you can see the current BC Hydro outage map here [BC Hydro]

🔬 Last year’s flooding may have helped spread knotweed around the valley, researchers say

🗳Β  A Lake Errock foster parent pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges linked to the horrific abuse of two children in her care [Agassiz-Harrison Observer]

🚠 Proponents of the gondola tourism project newr of Chilliwack say their proposal is making progress [Fraser Valley Today]

😲 A prop for Remembrance Day triggered a lockdown Friday at a Langley school [Castanet]

❄️ Harrison’s Lights By The Lake event is kicking off in just a couple of weeks [604 Now]

🚗 No one was injured in a Highway 1 rollover Friday [Chilliwack Progress]

👉 The Tashme Historical Society is taking ownership of Hope’s station house [Hope Standard]

Although politicians are allotted votes around the FVRD board table by the population they represent, smaller communities still wield slightly more power than their number of constituents would suggest. 📊 Tyler Olsen


With more people, comes greater power. Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Mission will each have more power at the Fraser Valley Regional District over the next four years, thanks to population growth in each of the municipalities.

The regional district is overseen by 23 directors appointed by member municipalities and rural electoral areas. But not all directors have an equal say. Instead, representatives have varied levels of "voting strength," depending on how many people they represent.

Abbotsford has had, for instance, six directors who represent more than 150,000 peopleβ€”or more than 20,000 people each. Electoral area directors, meanwhile, frequently represent only a couple thousand people, if that.

The voting strength calculations are meant to give constituents across the valley a roughly equal say in regional decisions. As populations shift, the votes must be weighted differently.

Between 2017 and 2022, the FVRD’s population increased by nearly 30,000 people, to about 324,000. Most of that growth took place in Abbotsford, Mission, and Chilliwack.

Because of that, each of those cities will see their weighted votes tick upwards. Abbotsford and Chilliwack will each get two additional votes, while Mission will get one. There are 73 total weighted votesβ€”up five from 2017.

Still, rural areas tend to have a greater proportionate share. Cities roughly get one vote for every 5,000 people. Directors of each electoral area, even those with less than 2,000 people, get a full vote. So while Harrison and the eight electoral areas have five per cent of the region’s population, they control about 12 per cent of the votes at the FVRD table.Β  (Not that it matters too much: split votes are exceptionally rare at the regional district table.) The voting strength-population disparity will continue to decrease as larger communities grow.

Housing prices are still plunging, but the state of home values depends a lot on one’s perspective.

Abbotsford single-family home prices are down 26% in just the last six months. (Prices have changed at roughly the same pace across the Fraser Valley.) For your typical Abbotsford home, that’s knocked about $400,000 off its value. The value of townhomes and apartments has also declined, though not quite so quickly.

Tonwhome prices are down about 15%, while apartment values have declined by about 18%. Prices are also down (by between 3% and 9%) across home classes compared to a year ago.

But pulling back a little further underscores how pricey homes still are compared to just a few years ago.

With a typical house still selling for more than $1.1 million in Abbotsford, prices are still 28% higher than in October 2020 and 43% higher than fall of 2019.

In 2019, you could get an average townhome in Abbotsford for under $500,000. Even today, after prices have sagged the last six months, townhouses still cost around $650,000, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

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Around town


🐁 Axis Theatre Company will present Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Nov. 12 at 2pm. The story is a Kwantlen legend of an old hungry spirit and a young mouse and will be told using traditional Coast Salish and StΓ³:lō music, dance, and masks. Tickets online.

🗳Β  The C.S. Lewis classic The Magician's Nephew starts a week-long run at the Abbotsford Arts Centre on Nov. 11. Tickets online.


Legendary punk band The Offspring play Abbotsford Centre with Simple Plan Nov. 26. Tickets are still available.

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The Life and Times of the Nooksack River

The Nooksack River once flowed north into Canada and the Fraser River. Then one day it didn't.

Catch up here

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