Top Stories: Most read stories of 2016 on Chilliwack Progress website

Reflecting on the headlines: Here's our list of the Top Read Online Stories of 2016, plus a short synopsis of each.

Davin Padgham leaves a container of chewing tobacco at a parking lot memorial for his friend

Davin Padgham leaves a container of chewing tobacco at a parking lot memorial for his friend

Join us at The Chilliwack Progress as we take our readers on a thoughtful trip down memory lane. Our Top Stories will recap the most significant news events, milestones and emerging themes that have shaped Chilliwack in 2016. It was undeniably a notable year, from an unprecedented spike in homelessness, to major development news, to the community revealing its keen interest in crime and politics, and a most caring heart.


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When the Chilliwack Progress first started publishing news online 20 years ago, it was somewhat of a new frontier.

In 2016, the internet is now an integral piece of the puzzle in delivering information to readers. Online news can be shared easily, updated often, and includes video and other multimedia. Readers can find us at, as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The top read online stories are often the most hard-hitting, and this year was no different. The following is a list of the Top Read Online Stories of 2016, and short synopsis.


1. Gerald Dolman charged with murder in Chilliwack stabbing

A 63-year-old man was charged with second degree murder May 4, following a stabbing the day before that left one person dead and onlookers shaken and horrified.

Gerald Leslie Dolman was arrested at the scene following a series of events that finally lead to the death of a 49-year-old Chilliwack man in the crowded parking lot of a downtown plaza.


2. Fisherman drowns after falling into Chilliwack River Sunday

A fisherman slipped and fell into the churning Chilliwack River on Valentine’s Day.

He was identified as Graeme Gordon Carswell, 21, of Delta, by BC Coroners Service. He’d been fishing near the Alison Pools with a companion who was unable to save him once he hit the water.


3. One person dead in Highway 1 crash westbound outside Chilliwack

A 30-year-old woman died from injuries sustained when her vehicle “suddenly went off Highway 1,” RCMP said in August. Two other people were injured in the three-car crash. The crash brought traffic to a standstill heading westbound on Highway 1 out of Chilliwack, between Lickman Road and the Yale Road West overpass. Police were looking for any witnesses.


4. Friends gather to remember Chilliwack crash victims

Hundreds of mourners gathered in the Chilliwack secondary parking lot to grieve the loss of Connor Dash and Gerritt Niessen. The deaths of these best friends, both 18, sent shock waves of grief through Chilliwack, following an early January truck accident at the river’s edge.

Memorials to these boys still stand at both CSS and at the riverside.


5. Vehicle leaves overpass and crashes on to highway, injuring two

A bizarre crash on Feb. 5 closed the westbound lanes of Highway 1 and sent at least two people to hospital.

A truck travelling northbound near the Gibson Road overpass left the road and crashed onto an eastbound vehicle on Highway 1 below. The collision ripped out the cable barrier and littered the highway with debris.


6. Two people wanted in Chilliwack homicide

RCMP searched high and low for two individuals believed responsible for the death of a 40-year-old Chilliwack man, and the public helped by keeping eyes peeled.

John Robert Oliver Anderson died of his injuries shortly after someone burst into his Glenwood Street home. The two suspects, David “Yoda” McKay and Cydnie Markel-Rempel, were apprehended a few days later.


7. Molson announces Chilliwack as its choice for brewery location

Molson Coors Canada announced plans to build a new high-tech brewery in Chilliwack by late 2018 or early 2019. The official announcement in August capped months of ground work and preparation.

Their brewers were “delighted” with the high quality water in Chilliwack, which they consider “a key ingredient” to producing great beer and cider.

Molson Coors lauded the work by City of Chilliwack and Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.


8. Chilliwack train victim ‘great human being’ according to boss

A Chilliwack man killed by a train early October while wearing earbuds was “one of the good ones,” according to his employer.

The man was struck by a westbound train, near the Eagle Landing crossing at Deans Avenue.

“They just take the good ones,” said Mike Andries of Precise Roofing, about the loss of his trusted employee, Lee Austin, 28.

“I am truly heartbroken.”

Austin, a roofer and dedicated family man was remembered by Andries as being “witty, charismatic, respectful, and loyal.”


9. Chilliwack restaurant says it’s too dangerous to stay open

A popular downtown restaurant closed its doors in May  because its owners say they feared for the safety of themselves and their customers.

Society Gathering House opened three years earlier in a renovated heritage home at Princess and Nowell.

But the shooting death in the neighbourhood led managing partner Fabrizio Rossi to worry for the safety of his staff and customers.


10. Thief couldn’t have planned it any worse

The award for dumbest criminal emerged early in the year.

A man came entered the Chilliwack Curling Club, and headed into the change room, emerging moments later with a duffel bag.

As he passed through the lobby he grabbed another duffel bag and bolted out the side door.

The problem for this particular thief is that the Chilliwack Curling Club was hosting the 2016 Canadian Police Curling Championships.

“It’s got to rank up there in the halls of stupidity,” Renwick chuckled. “Trying to steal from a building full of off-duty cops!”

Local police were called to take him away.

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