This military reviewing stand

Sappers preserve piece of Chilliwack’s military history

Saturday retired military engineers will unveil the refurbished reviewing stand at the former CFB Chilliwack.

The bark of the drill sergeant and sound of marching boots has long since faded from the parade square at CFB Chilliwack.

But the memories will linger a while longer.

This Saturday retired military engineers will mark nearly six decades of history in Chilliwack with the official unveiling of a refurbished reviewing stand at the former CFB Chilliwack.

The elevated stand, once part of the expansive parade ground, had fallen into neglect when the engineers were moved and the base closed in the mid 1990s.

As part of the construction of the Canada Education Park, Caen Avenue was extended to skirt the north end of the parade square, which now serves as a parking lot for the University of the Fraser Valley. The stark-white concrete viewing stand remained – but an orphan of the large asphalt parade square it once commanded.

Now, through the efforts of local volunteers and the support of veterans and military personnel from around the world, the stand has been brought back to its former glory and put into historical context.

This Saturday those efforts will be celebrated.

Members of the Retired Sappers Association have painstakingly preserved the viewing stand, from which officers would watch their troops assemble. It’s been repainted and interpretive markers posted.

Their work continues an effort by Canada Lands Corporation and a cadre of volunteers to preserve the military history of Chilliwack, and particularly the former Canada Forces Base Chilliwack.

It’s a history that stretches back at least 57 years to when the A6-Canadian Engineers Training Centre was producing combat engineers for the field.

Today, that history competes with the residential and institutional development that is transforming the old army base.

But it can be found in more than the memories of those who once served there. It can be seen in the legacy makers and monuments that punctuate Garrison Crossing  and Canada Education Park, which sprang from recommendations made by a focus group gathered by Canada Lands to find ways to preserve CFB Chilliwack’s rich history.

That group, composed of civilian workers, ex-military and their dependents and presided over by Ron Denman, former director of Chilliwack Museum, recommended the reviewing stand be kept intact and used as a memorial.

“Through the generosity of retired sappers from around the world, veterans, serving military personnel, and the community of Chilliwack that wish has been fulfilled through donations and hard work,” says the sappers association.

On Saturday at 1 p.m. that effort will be honoured with a ceremony featuring Colonel Commandant, Canada Military Engineers,  Brigadier General R.W. Deslauriers (Ret.), himself a former trainee at CFB Chilliwack.

A reception at the former Officers Mess at 24 Normandy Drive, now the Canada Lands presentation centre, will follow.

Although the viewing stand has been fully restored, work to fund the project continues. Engraved bricks, which have been laid on either side of the steps to the stand are still available for a donation of $100.

For more information, contact the Jim Harris of the CFB Chilliwack Historical Society at 604.769.3833.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Details of Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with police taken at special meeting on Wednesday

Seventh day of searching for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts are concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

First Nations block roads to stop the moose hunt in B.C.’s Interior

Chief Joe Alphonse confirmed Thursday they’ve deactivated the Raven Lake Road and the Mackin Creek Road just before the Island Lake turnoff

‘Like an Alfred Hitchcock movie’: Birds fall dead from the sky in B.C. city

Raptor expert says he’s never seen it happen anywhere in the Lower Mainland

Canada signs global pact to help rid world’s oceans of abandoned fishing gear

The federal Fisheries Minister says it’s a ‘critical issue’

GOP pushing forward for Kavanaugh, accuser wants ‘fairness’

Kavanaugh has denied al allegations of sexual misconduct

Lower Mainland woman sets Grouse Grind record

Madison Sands sets a new best time on Vancouver’s fitness landmark

Tent city campers now allowed to stay in B.C. provincial park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no deadline for campers to leave Greater Victoria camp site

Bus company vies to replace Greyhound in Kamloops to Vancouver, Kelowna

Alberta-based Ebus applies to the Passenger Transportation Board to replace Greyhound

Former VP of lululemon joins B.C. cannabis cultivation facility

Kerry Biggs will be the Chief Financial Officer of True Leaf, in Lumby

Most Read