The Chilliwack Rhythm Reelers will have to find a new camping location for their 2019 event which has put them in a crunch. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)

The Chilliwack Rhythm Reelers will have to find a new camping location for their 2019 event which has put them in a crunch. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)

Squaredancers asked to stop using Chilliwack sports field for camping

Although group had rented same venue for almost 20 years, city reps had to draw the line to be fair

Chilliwack Rhythm Reelers are going to have to find a new camping spot for their annual event for 2019.

The squaredancing group was notified by City of Chilliwack staff that parking on the field near Atchelitz Hall contravenes the city parks bylaw, despite their members having camped there every year for almost two decades with no issues.

Steve Armstrong, president of the Chilliwack Rhythm Reelers, says they found out they’d have to move when they went to reserve the hall as usual this fall.

“They put us in a real crunch,” he said.

Planning for the three-day event takes more than a year to book a location, so they will have to start looking.

City officials are drawing a line in the sand this fall, in an effort to be fair to all groups, and to prevent vehicles, trailers and campers from damaging civic property and sports fields.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz said council must remain “good stewards of the infrastructure.”

Staff has been working closely with the group to switch locations, possibly to Heritage Park, which is only one kilometre away.

“I would like them not to be stuck,” Gaetz said at the council meeting.

The longstanding group was not left in the lurch, and will be allowed an exception for the upcoming event June 1, 2, and 3, 2018.

The one proviso was that if there was any damage caused, that it be remediated.

The Rhythm Reelers will be exploring their options for 2019, having already looked at Tzeachten sports field, and one in Agassiz. They are also considering Heritage Park, but cost is a significant factor for the non-profit squaredance group.

The whole parking became an issue when it came to light that the Rhythm Reelers had been using the Atchelitz sports field adjacent the Atchelitz Hall on Lickman Road to camp at the site for 19 years.

The vehicles have to cross overtop a septic field, and that means creating the risk of oil leaks, as well as damaged infrastructure.

Although the city report stressed that “no damage” had been caused to the septic lid or the sports field by the squaredancing group to date, “the City of Chilliwack has recently had to address other user groups accessing civic property for the same reason, and have asked them to cease.”

Parking on sports fields is prohibited under the Parks, Recreation and Culture Regulatory Bylaw and the group was told to cease.

Part of the issue is a septic lid located at the access point to the Atchelitz sports field., “repeated loads to this infrastructure could compromise its integrity,” according to the report.

In the end, council voted unanimously last week to uphold its bylaw, but added an amendment allow the group to have a year of grace.

Staff is trying to make new venue arrangements with the group to accommodate them in ways so they don’t suffer “undue hardships,” if all other venues were booked for that first weekend in June, said Gaetz.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Spartans Swim Club coach Justin Daly.
Chilliwack Spartans swim coach Justin Daly wins Rubber Boot Award

Daly was recognized in a vote by fellow coaches in the BC Swim Coaches Association

Linnea Labbee outside the Chilliwack Law Courts on April 1, 2021 on day 16 of her trial in BC Supreme Court. Labbee was convicted April 12 for the fatal hit-and-run of 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian on Dec. 1, 2016. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Sentencing hearing scheduled for 72-year-old Chilliwack woman found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Crown will seek jail time for Linnea Labbee who struck and killed 78-year-old woman in 2016

Dr. Keith Carlson, director of Peace and Reconciliation Centre, will be the MC and moderator for the June 23 webinar Islamophobia: Seeking Solutions for Hate. (Submitted photo)
Seminar presented on Islamophobia: Seeking Solutions for Hate

UFV webinar on June 23 features speakers who will draw on lived experience

The latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control. (BCCDC graphic)
Chilliwack COVID case count moving towards zero

From a high of 156 around Christmas, Chilliwack’s local health authority reported just 17 last week

Adam Hobbs went missing from a Langley work site on Monday, June 14 and may have gone to Vancouver. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Family, RCMP seek Abbotsford man missing from Langley job site

Adam Hobbs lives in Abbotsford and is a minor hockey referee

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ridge Meadows RCMP seized drugs, cash and guns from a house on Lougheed Highway and 221 Street. (Special to The News)
RCMP seize drugs, cash and guns from Maple Ridge house

Items were recovered after search warrant executed on Lougheed Highway home June 11

Fire near Highway 97 C close to Merritt. (Facebook)
Wildfire burning near Highway 97C

The fire is an estimated nine hectares in size

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

Most Read