How an Abbotsford rugby player left the sport and found her way back.
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Abbotsford Tech District
Wednesday, Aug.3, 2022 | Today’s weather: 🌧 19 C

Good Morning Reader!

I grabbed takeout recently in downtown Chilliwack and went to look for a nice picnic table to eat it. Quickly, I realized my mistake, because the north side of Chilliwack is a pretty lousy place to have a quiet picnic. Yes, in retrospect, I overlooked a few spots. But my challenge was one that more and more people will face as the area densifies: it lacks a central, passive park with shade, trails, a playground, and picnic tables. Townsend is basically a bunch of fields. And others, like Salish Park, are small and have no picnic tables for some reason. Other communities and parts of Chilliwack have such amenities. The north side needs its own.

β€”Tyler Olsen, managing editor
Nakisa Levale grew up playing rugby. But in 2018 she quit the sport competitively. Four years later, she is leaving her stamp on the game in a variety of ways. 📸 Ian Muir/Rugby Canada

The art of rugby

For as long as she can remember, Nakisa Levale has played rugby.

Her siblings would pass the ball around in their backyard. At the beach or park, she run with the ball tucked under her arm with her father and mother as spectators. And inside, she would watch professionals sling the ball on television.

Playing rugby was Levale’s way of connecting with her Samoan heritage.

Her father was born in Samoa, where rugby is the country’s most popular sport. Levale was born in Kelowna and spent her childhood in Abbotsford.

Although her father had a passion for rugby, he never forced Levale to play the sport competitively. It wasn’t until Grade 9 when she started to play rugby on a formal team.

"I wanted to do it because it was such a huge part of my culture and where I came from," Levale said.

She quickly achieved success, leading Abbotsford Senior Secondary School to two provincial titles, and joining Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2015. One year later, right out of high school, she became a regular on the senior women’s national team.

Five years after her first high school rugby game, Levale was representing her country in international competitions. Rugby consumed her life.

And in 2018, at the ripe age of 21, Levale was cut from the national team.

Having lost the childhood joy the sport had given her, she didn’t plan on playing rugby competitively ever againβ€”until she went back to school, and discovered a passion for something completely different.

Need to know

🔎 A Langley man’s death on a Vernon beach is being investigated by the coroner [Castanet]

👟 Marshall Road needs more crosswalks, sidewalks, and protections for cyclists, Abbotsford residents have told city staff [Abbotsford News]

🏀 The Fraser Valley Bandits host their first playoff game tomorrow [Vancouver Sun]

🗳 Former Abbotsford City Hall employee Alex Mitchell has announced she is running for a seat on council [Alex Mitchell]

👉 The new head of Ruth and Naomi’s in Chilliwack has resigned six days before he was set to begin the job [Chilliwack Progress]

❌ Mission has enacted a city-wide burning and campfire ban because of dry conditions [City of Mission] / Friends remembered her as a β€˜kind and generous’ spirit [Global]

💗 A GoFundMe has been started for the family of Kamaljit Sandhu, the Abbotsford woman killed last week [GoFundMe]

🕯 A vigil will be held tonight for those killed in Langley last week; it takes place at 6pm at the corner of 204 Street and Fraser Highway [City of Langley]

District 1881 in Chilliwack features some pedestrian-only areas, but staff was recently asked if cars could be barred from more of the downtown core. 📸 District 1881


Will Chilliwack get pedestrian-only streets in its downtown core? The short answer: maybe, but not anytime soon. During a transportation advisory committee meeting, a community member asked if Chilliwack would consider removing vehicles from streets in the downtown area, like what Vancouver had done for Granville Street.

Although city staff said they would take the recommendation under advisement, they suggested starting small with shorter periods like weekends or other key periods. That way, local businesses would have a chance to see how the changes impacted their bottom line. Discussions with the Downtown Business Improvement Association would be required before moving ahead with anything like that.

Coun. Jason Lum did note that the new District 1881 development does include some pedestrian-only lanes, like Woolly Dog Alley, and that more are planned in the development.

With dozens of monkeypox cases identified in BC, some residents will be able to get vaccinations. On July 23, the World Health Organization labelled the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concernβ€”a rare step for the organization. Since the start of the outbreak, BC has seen 61 cases of the virus, most of which were located in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Fraser Health has only seen three cases so far. However, BC has said there has been some community transmission. As a result, the province will be making some vaccines available. (The vaccine is the same one that is used for smallpox.) Vaccine clinics will be available in Fraser Health for people in high risk populations. More information on monkeypox and vaccinations are available online.

Abbotsford Tech District
Abbotsford Tech District: planting seeds for our future

The proposed Abbotsford Tech District (ATD) on Sumas Mountain will deliver affordable housing, support high-quality education and well-paying jobs, and secure Abbotsford’s place as a hub for agricultural innovation and food security. It will be a complete community in a natural setting with abundant outdoor recreation and trailsβ€”both existing and new.

In recent third party opinion research, 68% of Abbotsford residents say they support Abbotsford Tech District and only 8% are opposed. That’s an 89% ratio of support.

It will be up to Abbotsford’s next mayor and council to step up, define the path forward for this game-changing private sector investment, and strike a balance that works for all of Abbotsford.

Let’s get Abbotsford moving!

Learn more at Abbotsford.Tech.
Current Cam

Each week we showcase a different photo from across the valley and invite readers to share their best guess.

Last week’s photo of the fairy forest off Chilliwack’s Rotary Trail was first guessed correctly by Marlene Roseboom.

Any guesses as to where this week's Current Cam was taken? Reply to this newsletter with your best guessβ€”or with a picture we can use in a future edition.

Around town


🎭 Bard in the Valley's Measure for Measure runs Aug. 4-7 at Eco Dairy in Abbotsford. Tickets online.

✈ Abbotsford Air Show takes off on Aug. 5. The three-day event will include performances from the Snowbirds, Thunderbirds and features fireworks and hot air balloon attractions.


👉 The stΙ‘lΜ“Ι™wΜ“ Summer Social is coming to the Fort Langley National Historic Site on Aug. 13 from 10am to 5pm. Details online.

Have an event to tell us about? Fill out this form to have it highlighted in Around Town.
One day at the fair

The Chilliwack Fair is coming up this weekend.

Check out Grace’s whimsical visit to last year’s event.

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