Plus: a warning that a heat dome could trigger a β€˜major flood’
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Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Good Morning Reader!
We all know, probably, that BC used to have some harrowing highways. (It still has some scary ones, but they are incomparably safer.) A certain acceptance of danger was necessary to get around the province, so it takes a lot to shock me with a historic picture of a white-knuckle road. But this oneβ€”of a 1860 engineering marvel around China Bluff, where a tunnel now existsβ€”did the trick. (The photo was unearthed by Donald Dale on the marvelous History of Hope and the Fraser Canyon Facebook page.) Just imagining them constructing the road gives me the heebie jeebies. β€”Tyler Olsen, managing editor

Today’s weather: 🌦 15 C
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For the first time on record, annual deaths have exceeded births in BC. β€’ 📊 Grace Kennedy
A grim first for BC: more deaths than births

Two public health crises led to a British Columbia first last year: for the first time in the province’s recorded history, more people died than were born.

In 2021, there were 603 more deaths than births. BC’s annual death rates have been on the rise since at least 2016, when the toxic drug crisis was declared a public health emergency. The pandemic has only sped up that increase. But the two emergencies aren’t the only reason BC’s deaths have eclipsed the number of new babies, though. An aging population has also increased the number of people dying, and decreased the number giving birth.

The number of deaths topped 40,000 for the first time in 2020 (a milestone that births hit four decades ago). The number skyrocketed again last year, with more than 44,000 people dying in 2021.

Today, Grace takes a look at why BC’s deaths have outpaced births for the first time ever, and reveals where the Fraser Valley is (and isn’t) bucking the trend.

Yesterday: The big price tag to build and improve French schools in BC
Need to Know
🚔 The deaths of two people found dead in an Abbotsford home are not believed to be linked to the gang conflict, police say [CBC]

👍 Chilliwack’s Party in the Park and Village Classic Car Show will return this year [Chilliwack Progress]

✈ A Chilliwack flight instructor said he previously reported an ad posted by the pilot of a plane that crashed in Ontario with a BC hitman on board [Canadian Press]

🔎 A Fort Langley man is trying to find out who is in century-old photographs discovered at a Vancouver antique dealer [Vancouver Is Awesome]

Chilliwack council says they don’t want the RCMP replaced by a provincial police force in the city. β€’ 📸 Eric Buermeyer/Shutterstock
The Agenda
A new all-party committee recently suggested that BC replace its RCMP detachments with a provincial police force, and the City of Chilliwack is not a fan of the idea. Without specifically undermining the idea of a provincial police force, a city press release noted that Chilliwack council strongly supported keeping the RCMP in the community. However, the city did give a thumbs up to some parts of the committee proposals, which include bringing in more agencies to help with mental health-related issues and social services that are currently under the police umbrella. "We cannot expect the RCMP to try to police away urgent social and health care issues," Mayor Ken Popove said in the release. "We need the provincial government to step up and support the mental and physical health needs of British Columbians." The Current reported on the committee police proposals in early May.

An Abbotsford seniors facility is planning a large expansion that could see hundreds of new long-term care units built on its campus near the intersection of Peardonville and Clearbrook roads. Tabor Home Society wants to build five new six-storey buildings at its current location. This week, Abbotsford council gave the thumbs up to the first of the five projectsβ€”a six-storey, 59-unit building. The new facility would be built immediately adjacent to a current multi-storey Tabor building along Peardonville Road. Staff have recommended the proposal proceed. The project is just the first of Tabor’s plan to scale-up its current long-term care facilities on the property, which is currently dominated by one-storey buildings. A conceptual master plan for the site shows the religious non-profit society hopes to build four more six-storey buildings over the coming years.

Together With Lepp's Daily Market
Come by Lepp's Daily Market to eat good, every day
After decades of farming, and almost 15 years at the Farm Market on the Matsqui Flats, Lepp’s welcomes you to check out their newest food-fanatical experience in the heart of downtown Abbotsford: Lepp's Daily Market.Β Β 

Located on West Railway St. just steps from Essendene Ave., Lepp's Daily Market is where you’ll find Abbotsford's freshest bread. Alongside their baked-daily sourdough, you'll find a selection of staple pan loaves and other delicious baked goods all made with Anita’s organic grains.

Their fully stocked deli counter serves what they promise to be Abbotsford's best sandwiches alongside specialty coffees brewed exclusively using Smoking Gun Coffee. The unique grocery offering stocks the freshest produce, local favourites, and quality meats from their in-house smokeshop, helping you answer "what's for dinner" in style.

Show your most recent Fraser Valley Current to get $5 off your first visit to Lepp’s Daily Market!

Prolonged cool May weather is setting the stage for a potential flood risk if heat wave occurs. β€’ 📷 karamysh/Shutterstock
Prolonged heat wave could trigger flood disaster, officials warn

A 2022 heat dome could trigger major flooding across BC, the BC River Forecast Centre has warned. The centre, which had previously cautioned that its May bulletin would strike a serious tone, declared this week that a cool spring had left the province facing a growing flood risk. (You can see the full bulletin here.)

"Continued cool weather in May is increasing the risk for major flooding if a prolonged heat wave occurs later in the month or June," the centre said.

The snow basin index for the Fraser at Hope is 23% above normal (compared to 8% above normal a month ago), according to the bulletin. Snowpacks are particularly high in the central part of the province, near Prince George and east of Quesnel.

You can see a snowpack map here. We wrote last week about how a compressed melt boosts the flood risk.
Around Town
🎶 Local jazz and classical music comes to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on May 14. The eighth Boomerang features solos, duets and small ensembles with Emily Wright and accompanying musicians.

UFV professors Iris Lesser and Cynthia Thomson are looking for participants to help them with a new study looking at physical fitness and Chilliwack hikes. People of all fitness levels are welcome to join. To sign up, or for more information, email

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