Brian Coombes

Chilliwack ‘reaches out’ to U.S. anglers

Chilliwack tourism officials are meeting Friday with police and local fishing groups to see what can be done to counter negative publicity after a story about U.S. anglers’ car tires being slashed went viral.

Chilliwack city and tourism officials are meeting Friday with police and local fishing groups to see what can be done to counter negative publicity after a story about U.S. anglers’ car tires being slashed went viral.

Chilliwack RCMP are not buying the theory that U.S. fishermen were targeted in the Thanksgiving weekend tire slashings, saying it could simply be the fact that most of the nine vehicles involved in the incidents reported near the Keith Wilson Bridge belonged to Americans. One of the cars had B.C. plates – and its tires were also slashed.

“These (tire slashings) are not necessarily targeted, and may be a crime of opportunity,” RCMP Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth said.

There were online reports that up to 30 cars parked along the Vedder River had their tires slashed, but Hollingsworth said only nine were officially reported to police.

“Regardless of who was targeted,” said Brian Coombes, Tourism Chilliwack’s executive director, the tire slashing incidents are “not being taken lightly” and the Friday meeting was organized to come up with a plan to catch the culprits and to repair “any potential damage done to our sport tourism industry.”

The meeting will focus on how to reach out to anglers who have said they won’t come back to Chilliwack because of the tire slashings, he said.

“We want to see what we can do to reach out and invite them back to our community,” he said.

“The last thing we want is a black eye with regard to our hospitality,” Mayor Sharon Gaetz agreed.

Sport fishermen, especially those from the U.S. who pay much higher fees for fishing licences, are a major source of tourism revenue in Chilliwack, and the spin-off benefits to the local economy in terms of accommodation and fishing supplies are also huge.

Fraser Valley Salmon Society president Frank Kwak said the society is looking at offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is behind the tire slashing.

But he said the legal details of such a reward is another item that needs to be ironed out at the Friday meeting, which will include RCMP officials and other fishing-related businesses.

Kwak said vandalism and theft from fishermen’s vehicles parked along area rivers happens on a regular basis, and a long-term solution is needed.

Coombes said posting police officers all along the river is unrealistic, so encouraging fishermen themselves to be more vigilant and to report suspicious activity may be the key.

There is a toll-free “observe, record, report” line for information about suspected illegal activities at 1-800-465-4336.

“When I observe something illegal on the river, wherever I am, I phone the ORR line,” Kwak said.

While police investigators say U.S. anglers may not have been targeted, one Seattle-based fishermen told The Progress that his car was the only one with U.S. plates damaged in a parking area on the upper Vedder River near the fish hatchery.

Brad Hole said it appeared the slashing of both tires on the driver’s side was designed to cripple his vehicle and maximize repair costs because a tow truck would need to be called.

A Canadian Tire employee in Chilliwack said 12 U.S. visitors with slashed tires came in for repairs “on Saturday alone” during the Thanksgiving weekend.

A California angler said it cost him $1,000 for repairs after his tires were slashed near the Keith Wilson Bridge.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Chilliwack youth coach acquitted of sexual touching of a minor

BC Supreme Court justice finds reasonable doubt despite not believing the accused

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

World champion SFU Pipe Band comes to Chilliwack

SFU Pipe Band will put on a celebration of culture, music and heritage at Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Feb. 24 to March 1

Chilliwack biologist to speak on climate change at Green Party AGM

Dr. Carin Bondar is an author, adjunct professor and an explorer who has discovered new species

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

UPDATE: Protesters dismantle blockade on Maple Ridge tracks

West Coast Express train service is expected to run again Tuesday morning

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read