Still from a video as a jet boat stopped after speeding on the Vedder River on July 24, 2022. Three men then got out and seriously assaulted an angler on shore. This story was the third most read Chilliwack story on www.theprogress.com in 2022. (Anonymous submitted)

Still from a video as a jet boat stopped after speeding on the Vedder River on July 24, 2022. Three men then got out and seriously assaulted an angler on shore. This story was the third most read Chilliwack story on www.theprogress.com in 2022. (Anonymous submitted)

TOP STORIES 2022: Top 10 most viewed Chilliwack stories from The Progress website in 2022

Murder and malls, elections and courts

Of all the stories published by The Chilliwack Progress in 2022, the following are the top 10 stories for pageviews on our website, www.theprogress.com. From just over 15,000 views for number 10 up to 32,786 for number one, these are the stories that garnered the most online attention over this past year.

1. Police investigate ‘disturbing’ incidents at Cultus Lake, pledge extra patrols

Two children were playing at Cultus Lake Elementary School at about 9 p.m. on Aug. 30 when they told police they were approached by a male who asked them for directions and then touched his groin through his pants.

The children ran for help. Police conducted extensive patrols of the area at the time but were unable to locate the suspect, described as a Caucasian man in his 20s, with a thin build, and shoulder length brown hair.

No arrest was ever made.

2. Largest Canadian Tire store in B.C. attracts crowd of curious in Chilliwack

The largest Canadian Tire store in B.C. threw open its doors for a soft opening at the Cottonwood Centre in Chilliwack early Oct. 20.

Owner Marcel Nadeau was excited to show off the new store which measures a whopping 170,000-square feet.

“The first thing people were saying as they were coming in this morning was ‘Wow!’”

The cavernous floor space makes it the largest single-floor Canadian Tire in the country, showcasing more than 70,000 products. There are larger stores out there, but not on a single floor.

The new Canadian Tire store in Chilliwack held its soft opening in the Cottonwood Centre, Oct. 20, 2022. (Cottonwood Centre)

The new Canadian Tire store in Chilliwack held its soft opening in the Cottonwood Centre, Oct. 20, 2022. (Cottonwood Centre)

3. Violent assault of angler caught on video on Vedder River in Chilliwack

Anglers on the Vedder River witnessed a violent assault of a person on shore by several men in a jet boat.

One angler captured the incident on video at around 3:30 p.m. on July 24.

A witness said the boat sped past and someone yelled at them to slow down. A few minutes later the boat came back, three men got out and were seen kicking and punching a man on the shore. No charges have been laid in connection with the incident even though the names of the alleged offenders are known.

4. Two women dead following shooting in Chilliwack; suspect still at large

The former romantic partner of two women, Mimi Kates and Amber Culley, murdered both women on July 21.

After Eric Shestalo killed Kates and Culley, a manhunt ensued but he was eventually found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The story was the most extreme local example of the epidemic of domestic abuse in North America. The two women were actually living together in Chilliwack hiding from Shestalo, who was due in court the day of the murders facing a charge of assaulting one of the women.

“He should have been held in custody until his trial,” according to Hilla Kerner, an advocate with the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter.

5. ‘Thanks for the memories, Chilliwack Mall. It was fun while it lasted’

Sections of the Chilliwack Mall were being demolished Aug. 25 to make way for redevelopment, so ending an era for the four-decade-old mall.

Ontario-based SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) purchased the Chilliwack Mall in 2017, announcing plans to “demall” the shopping centre.

The demalling retail trend has seen a shift in the style of shopping malls from enclosed indoor malls with large anchor tenants popular in the 1960s, tomodern clusters of standalone or multiple tenant buildings, surrounded by ample parking.

6. Owner of Chilliwack business destroyed by drug lab fire suing his landlord

The owner of a business destroyed by a fire at a neighbouring drug lab in Chilliwack is suing the landlord and the tenant of the adjacent business.

Chilliwack RCMP confirmed the dramatic fire in an industrial building on May 2, 2019 on Fourth Avenue was connected to a drug lab.

Target Steel & Sea Containers owner Steve Heaps was focusing his lawsuit not on the alleged illegal activity, but on the landlord. His lawsuit is using an independent fire expert’s report to point out that the building was not designed for two tenants and, illegal or legal, the volume of chemicals being stored next door should have prompted regulatory action.

Heaps is still fighting his landlord and says he can’t afford his own legal fees and he is close to bankruptcy

7. Progressive school board candidates take 5-2 majority in Chilliwack municipal election

In a strong rebuke of anti-SOGI politics, Chilliwack voters elected a slate of progressive school trustee candidates on Oct. 15.

The top five vote getters on election night were Carin Bondar, Willow Reichelt, David Swankey, Margaret Reid, and Teri Westerby as Chilliwack continued a shift to the political left. Voters elected two NDP MLAs in the last provincial election and now a progressive majority on the school board has increased from 4-3 to 5-2.

Chilliwack school trustee candidates Willow Reichelt (right) and Teri Westerby (middle) talking with a supporter on municipal election night on Oct. 15, 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack school trustee candidates Willow Reichelt (right) and Teri Westerby (middle) talking with a supporter on municipal election night on Oct. 15, 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack school trustee candidates Willow Reichelt (right) and Teri Westerby (middle) talking with a supporter on municipal election night on Oct. 15, 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack school trustee candidates Willow Reichelt (right) and Teri Westerby (middle) talking with a supporter on municipal election night on Oct. 15, 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

8. Chilliwack parent banned from elementary school property for repeated ‘intimidating’ protests

A parent of children at Sardis Elementary was banned from school property for allegedly intimidating other parents, protesting against pandemic restrictions and displaying a flag with a vulgar message to the prime minister that students could see.

Several parents expressed serious concern about Nicholas Epp’s behaviour, which also included offering to fight another parent who disagreed with his politics, according to the school’s principal.

A letter to Epp from principal Janine McCurdy, dated Feb. 7, addresses Epp’s several transgressions of section 177 of the School Act regarding disturbing or interrupting school proceedings.

“Your actions were intimidating and intended to be intimidating. This conduct was disruptive to the operation of the school.”

9. Heavy early morning police presence in Chilliwack neighbourhood has residents concerned

Dozens of residents who live in or near a Garrison Crossing townhouse complex awoke to a massive police presence on Oct. 20 and uncertainty as to what was happening.

Residents witnessed as many as a dozen police vehicles in the area, including an officer with the RCMP’s police dog service, and a number of officers with carbines.

“It’s pretty crazy to open your blinds in the morning and be greeted with a complex full of cops!” one resident said.

Richard Navy Golding is charged with one count of break and enter with intent to commit an offence on a K file, which refers to a domestic incident. He remains in custody and is scheduled for a bail hearing on Jan. 3.

10. ‘I yelled and screamed’: Chilliwack woman, 94, abandoned at airport following Sunwing flight

A 94-year-old Chilliwack woman who was left abandoned at an airport in a wheelchair is sharing what she’s calling a “horror” story.

Rachele Jamieson came home from what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in Cuba. But when she flew home on March 1, she was left alone in a darkened YVR at 3 a.m. After The Progress went public about her experience, Sunwing refunded Jamieson for her trip.

Rachele Jamieson of Chilliwack said Sunwing had left her all alone in YVR after returning home on a flight from Cuba at 3 a.m. on March 1, 2022. Her story was the 10th most viewed Chilliwack story on www.theprogress.com in 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Rachele Jamieson of Chilliwack said Sunwing had left her all alone in YVR after returning home on a flight from Cuba at 3 a.m. on March 1, 2022. Her story was the 10th most viewed Chilliwack story on www.theprogress.com in 2022. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)


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