Election 2014: Heritage questions coming for Chilliwack candidates

City of Chilliwack: A new group called Heritage Chilliwack Society is brainstorming heritage-related issues and questions for candidates

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Chilliwack’s rich heritage should be front and centre during the 2014 municipal elections.

To make that happen a new group called Heritage Chilliwack Society is brainstorming some key heritage-related issues and questions for all-candidates’ meetings.

Chilliwack resident Laura Reid, along with Krista Butt, and Anita Unger, launched the volunteer-based Heritage Chilliwack Society over the summer.

“We’re moving ahead now and preparing the questions for Chilliwack candidates,” said Reid.

They’ve been working closely with Heritage BC, both in setting up the new non-profit, and preparing for the 2014 municipal election on Nov. 15.

“Heritage considerations can factor into tourism, downtown revitalization, the environment and climate change,” Reid told The Progress. “So it needs to be part of the conversations we’re having about the election.”

Candidates may want to ask questions like how Chilliwack’s heritage and historic assets could be seamlessly integrated into the municipal planning process. Would the candidates be willing to see funds devoted to heritage preservation? Should some historic buildings be re-purposed?

“Heritage issues are part of Chilliwack’s future growth and economic development potential,” Reid noted.

The society members recently incorporated the new not-for-profit society. Their aim is to “engage, advocate for, and promote Chilliwack’s heritage” as well as to research and identify heritage assets through collaboration.

“My experience working at a historic downtown hotel is that people who come downtown are often looking for that authentic heritage experience.”

Heritage Chilliwack Society volunteers are out to inspire and raise awareness about the rich treasure trove of history that Chilliwack has as the third oldest municipality in B.C., said Reid.

In setting up the society, they did their homework, making a point of consulting with heritage professionals like Elaine Horricks, Heritage Planner for the Township of Langley, Ron Denman, past director of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives, Deborah Hudson, former director of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives and Heritage B.C., Heritage Chilliwack Society was created.

Heritage B.C.’s executive directory, Kathryn Malloy and Karen Dearlove, capacity planner, came to Chilliwack in June to take a special downtown tour, after meeting with Reid, Butt, and Unger.

They went from the Royal Hotel, to Five Corners and down Gore Avenue to the St. Thomas Anglican Church, and more.

“They were in awe of what we have here in Chilliwack, and encouraged us to move forward,” added Reid.

Email for more info heritagechilliwack@gmail.com or on Facebook as Heritage Chilliwack.

jfeinberg@theprogress.comtwitter.com/chwkjourno