Restoration work recently completed on Atchelitz Creek in Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

LETTER: High praise for restoration work done on Atchelitz Creek

‘Have a look at the beautiful rehabilitation work that has been started on this little urban creek’

Open letter to the City of Chilliwack Re: the Atchelitz Creek Restoration & Rehabilitation Project.

It is my absolute pleasure to write to you today to let you know my thoughts on this ongoing project.

I want to give you a little background first so please bear with me. My husband and I live on a beautiful little piece of property that has the Atchelitz Creek running right through the middle of it. We feel we are very blessed to have such a treasure right at our back door and we take great enjoyment from it and do try to take great care with it.

Among all of the aquatic life that bring so much joy to us “just to see,” one of our greatest joys is having the coho and the chum salmon spawn right in our back yard and subsequently hatch out the following spring. It is amazing.

Well, you can imagine the complete horror we felt in early 2019 when we realized that something had gone seriously wrong somewhere upstream from us that not only seemingly killed every living thing in the creek but was just so foul and gross it could not be tolerated. It seemed to be a total collapse of the ecosystem and it was heartbreaking to watch.

Two and a half years ago when I started my journey to find an answer of what had happened and how, I was set on a path of frustration and disappointment by the lack of empathy from the many different government and volunteer entities I tried to solicit assistance from. From Vancouver to Ottawa and back home again, it was always someone else’s department and someone else’s problem. But I didn’t give up because every time I went outside and looked at that gross and stinky water that was once our beautiful little creek I became angry.

And I am so very glad I did not give up. Another note to the City of Chilliwack in October of 2019, this time to Tara Friesen and Tyler Koch, both of whom I am so very grateful to for hearing me and putting me in touch with Steve Clegg.

The hard work and genuine care that Steve and crew have put into the creek is nothing short of amazing. What they, together with the city’s assistance, have achieved so far is so much more than we ever expected or imagined. I am ever so grateful to the City of Chilliwack for supporting Steve and Kyle in all that has been undertaken thus far to get the creek back to its former glory. It seems we are well on the correct path and we look forward to that day.

I really want to also send out a hearty thank you to Ballina Construction for the equipment and manpower, Old Yale Brewing and their employees, and the volunteers, other companies and individuals who have given their time and effort. You are appreciated.

So next time you are out and about and find yourself near Legacy Industrial on South Sumas take a turn onto Unsworth and have a look at the beautiful rehabilitation work that has been started on this little urban creek. And if you are there at the right time of year and have some luck on your side maybe you too will see the salmon spawning!

Janet Kouwenhoven

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Restoration work recently completed on Atchelitz Creek in Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

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