A local canoe/kayak slalom course has been hit hard by vandals in recent months, and paddling enthusiasts have seen enough. Nigel Floyd with the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence has written a letter expressing the frustration that he and others are feeling.
You arrive for your football practice at Townsend Park one sunny afternoon only to find the field had been plowed up.
Maybe your hockey game at Prospera Centre is cancelled because someone has punctured the pipes and the ice has melted.
Imagine how you would feel.
Now imagine how it felt for the Canadian women’s white-water champion to stand above the Tamihi slalom course; looking down, with a tear rolling across her cheek, at the vandalized gates she was supposed to be training in.
This was going to be one of the last training sessions for Jazmyne Denhollander before she flies off to Mexico, with the national team, to compete in the Pan-American Championships.
But instead of training, she spent the time maneuvering her kayak through the rapids, trying to recover fallen gates.
The Tamihi slalom course is under the stewardship of the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence, a not-for-profit group of normal people who love paddling.
Tamihi is truly one of the finest natural white-water courses in the world, with paddlers coming from across the country and the United States to train here.
It is comprised of the beautiful natural rapids themselves, with a series of wires strung across the river, just above the Tamihi bridge.
From these wires, the ‘gates’ I refer to, are suspended.
They are attached to cords running to either bank, which control their position and height. If you cut the cord, the gates fall into the river where they become hazards to kayaks, rafters and people who are fishing.
Someone cut 12 cords on the upper end of the course, only days after a CCE work crew had repaired the last round of damage.
This is the third time in six months that this kind of vandalism has been inflicted, but this is by far the worst.
We have no idea who is doing this.
Is it local fishermen?
No, because the majority of people we proudly know as fisherman respect the environment, are active in river cleanup and have enjoyment and patience when watching kayaks and canoeists travel down the river.
This is our playing field, our ice sheet, our ball diamond; we are stunned as to how someone could have such callous disregard for another’s sport and peace of mind.
It defies reason that we should have to, but we would like ask, no, plead with whomever it is to please stop.
Consider the consequences of your actions.
This is a Canadian Regional training centre, and you are inhibiting the progress of current and future Champions and Olympians.
Gates, cords or wires in the water pose a risk to local wildlife as well as river users.
This has to, and will, stop.
Lets not make it the hard way.