Six theories why the valley is experiencing a decline in ballots cast
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Nov. 29, 2022 | Today: 🌨 High -1C, Low -1C | 7-day forecast | Special weather statement

Good Morning, Reader!

The forecast is calling for flurries and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I love the dreamy scene of the perfectly dusted view outside my window. On the other hand, I strongly dislike having to drive in winter conditions.

Thanks to the constant reminders I got from my parents growing up about safety, I feel I'm well equipped to drive in the elements. But I also know when not to challenge Mother Nature. There have been times where I didn't bother driving home in the snow and just stayed put. But there is never any harm in being reminded about driving in winter conditions. No matter how old I get, I know my parents will always be running down the checklist with me and I don't mind it one bit.Β Β 

β€”Joti Grewal, reporter
Six theories why voting turnout collapsed
Votes are counted during the 1957 municipal election in Sumas. One theory to explain changes in turnout recently is that voting behaviour in previous generations may have been abnormally high. 📸 The Reach Gallery Archives P30903

This fall’s election had historically low turnout, with some 20,000 fewer ballots cast across the Fraser Valley. (You can read our full breakdown on the collapse of voting here.)

The lack of voter enthusiasm wasn’t confined to the valley, though. Across BC, turnout plunged to levels not seen in more than a decade.

The reason for the decline, though, is unclear. There is no one obvious culprit for the democracy malaise affecting local races. That, in part, is what makes the issue interesting and worthy of further exploration.

Need to know

🚗 How not to end up in a snowbank this week [Shift into Winter]

😔 The mother of an Indigenous teenager told how she learned her son's body was found at his Abbotsford group home bedroom closet four days after a missing person report was filed; Monday was the first of a nine-day inquest into the 17-year-old's death [CBC]

βš–οΈ A man who headbutted a Langley dog walker last year was sentence to probation [Langley Advance Times]

💥Β  A loud bang heard across Abbotsford last week was from the Bellingham bomb squad disposing devices [Abbotsford News]

❀️‍🩹 Three First Nations recently reclaimed territory next to the site of St. Mary’s Indian Residential School and plan to develop the lands that hold a traumatic past [CBC]

🚨 An Alberta man was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a Chilliwack man in 2018 [CBC]

🚓 An Abbotsford police officer is under investigation after being caught on camera punching a man during an arrest [CTV]

☺ TODAY’S SMILE: A feline acrobatic goalkeeper leaps and twists in the air to block a shot [buitengebieden/Twitter]

🐐 Give meaningful gifts on behalf of your loved ones and practical help to families in need. Peck through Food for the Hungry’s plucky online Gift Guide!*
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The games feature athletes 55-plus in a variety of competitions. 📸 55PlusBCGames/Facebook

Abbotsford expects that hosting the 55-plus BC Games next year will cost it about $400,000. The city, though, says the economic benefit from the games will be much larger.

The games, previously called the BC Seniors Games, are slated to be hosted in Abbotsford next August. The city will provide venues and logistical support amounting to around $310,000. It’s also kicking in a $60,000 donation to bring the games to the city.

A city staff report says the economic impact of the games to Abbotsford will be about $3.1 million. (It’s unclear precisely how that number is determined; economists elsewhere have cast doubt over economic impact analyses related to events.)

Langley Township will shut off the well water supply to residents in North Langley and instead pay more for Metro Vancouver water.

Residents have repeatedly expressed concern about the low pH levels of the groundwater. The previous council gave staff the green light for a pH-adjusting facility. Supply chain issues have delayed the project. While the township has paid for most costs, the facility is far from built.

Staff informed council during a recent meeting it would cost six times more to purchase Metro Vancouver water than it would for the township to extract and treat the Fort Langley well water. But council unanimously voted in favour of the switch, with one councillor absent. The approval means the staff will "cease the extraction of ground water at this location as soon as possible."

The Greater Vancouver Water District provides roughly 70% of the township's water supply. The remainder comes from municipal groundwater wells.Β Β 

Staff will also prepare a report for council about the cost and feasibility of demolishing and removing the Fort Langley well. Council will vote on that project when staff return with the completed report at a future meeting.

Around town


🐶 Practice reading aloud to therapy dogs at the Abbotsford Community Library on Thursday beginning at 3pm. Register online.

👉 Kwantlen Nation storyteller Fern Gabriel (Sesmelot) will be at Abbotsford's Trading Post on Saturday at 10am to share her stories and discuss Canada's Indigenous history. Details online.


🎭 Suburban Swing is hosting its annual Masquerade Christmas Ball on Dec. 18 at Abbotsford's Matsqui Community Hall. Tickets online.
Counting a murder (of crows)

Who cares about crows? A decline in the population, environmentalists say, could mean something has gone terribly wrong.

Catch up here.

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