The Experience the Fraser trail system will continue to be expanded, thanks to five people gaining work experience in trail building and construction and more than $320,000 in provincial funding.
During the six-month project, the workers will clear trails, build footbridges and boardwalks along the trail in Mission, two viewing platforms in Chilliwack and install trail signs. The participants will gain skills in landscaping, carpentry and chainsaw use. They will also receive First Aid certification. The workers have already built a park gatehouse at Chilliwack’s Island 22 Regional Park.
This project is a Job Creation Partnership between the Province and Ecoworks Landscape Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mennonite Central Committee BC. Ecoworks is working in partnership with the Fraser Valley Regional District on the project, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.
Experience the Fraser is a recreational, cultural and heritage project that extends along the Lower Fraser River corridor connecting Hope to the Salish Sea. Over 550 kilometres of Experience the Fraser trails (43% of which are already in place) and blueways will connect communities along the Fraser River.
Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need - when and where they need them.
To date, more than 700 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 150 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation -
“It takes partnerships to make a difference and what better success is there than bringing together community, employers and government to help unemployed people upgrade their skills and get back into the workforce.”
John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack -
“What a great project for this area. Chilliwack’s residents and visitors are really going to benefit from the enhancement made at Island 22, as well as other parts of the trail in the area. This is about connecting people, cultures, history, geography and work experience all into one great experience.”
Simon Gibson, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission, and MLA representing the province for Experience the Fraser steering committee -
“This Experience the Fraser trails-building project is such a great benefit to this region. In Mission, Neilson Regional Park will get a new boardwalk, bridge and staircase, courtesy of these hard-working participants. It’s a win for the workers, a win for Experience the Fraser and a win for the people who will use it.”
Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope -
“Chilliwack-Hope is where Experience the Fraser begins and this Job Creation Partnership will really benefit the trails system and the people who use it. This is a project that touches on so many different aspects of life in British Columbia. It’s also a terrific outdoor experience.”
Dr. Doug Bing, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows -
“Experience the Fraser transcends borders and communities. Its reach runs from Hope all the way to the Salish Sea. I’m really excited by this project which will benefit communities along the Fraser, while providing work experience for these five individuals.”
Sharon Gaetz, chair of Fraser Valley Regional District board, and mayor of Chilliwack -
“We are very grateful to the provincial government for this funding through the Job Creation Partnerships Program as it provides benefits to our community in so many ways. This funding will not only build out Experience the Fraser in our region and provide valuable support to projects in our regional parks, but it will also enable members of our community to develop new work skills as they seek employment.”
James Siebert, general manager, Ecoworks Landscape Services Inc. -
“Ecoworks is excited and thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community by being a part of this Job Creation Partnership project funded by the B.C. government. We appreciate that our partnership with the Fraser Valley Regional District allows us to be part of building the Experience the Fraser legacy that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for years to come.
“This project enables Ecoworks to fulfil its mandate by providing work experience, and the necessary work skills, to our program participants by giving them the opportunity to move into meaningful employment when their time with us is complete.”
Maryse Papineau, project participant -
“For me, this Experience the Fraser project is a wonderful opportunity. We learn a lot, I am discovering this amazing area and we contribute to a sustainable development project.”
- In April 2009, the Province of B.C. provided the Fraser Valley Regional District and Metro Vancouver $2.5 million to undertake Experience the Fraser planning and to implement two demonstration projects.
- In 2012, the province invested another $1 million in funding so Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District could open new parkland, enhance riverfront access and park amenities along the river, and continue to build the Canyon to Coast Trail.
- Experience the Fraser will act as a catalyst to encourage and strengthen tourism and economic development initiatives.
- The project area is more than 100,000 hectares in size, and about 20% of the shoreline is in public ownership.
- The trail and blueway networks are the backbone of the project and will connect communities, parks, natural areas, historic and cultural sites and other experiences along the river.
- There are 15 sanctioned boat launches along this stretch of the river and many riverfront parks that provide water access and amenities.
- Heritage and culture can be explored at the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre, Fraser River Discovery Centre, Britannia Shipyards, Fort Langley and Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Sites, Hyack’s Fraserfest, the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival and the Artists on the River, all of which provide opportunities to celebrate the river’s heritage and cultural values.
- Experience the Fraser embraces environmental sustainability objectives critical to maintaining the ecological health of the Lower Fraser River corridor, and is committed to enhancing awareness and stewardship of these values through education and interaction with river ecology.
- In 2015-16, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible?
- Non-profit organizations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
- Crown corporations
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Experience the Fraser: www.metrovancouver.org/services/parks/projects/fraser/Pages/default.aspx
Ecoworks Landscape Services Inc.: ecoworksbc.ca
Fraser Valley Regional District: www.fvrd.ca
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation