The Experience the Fraser trail system has been expanded and enhanced throughout the Chilliwack and Mission areas, giving five people valuable work experience that will benefit residents and visitors for years to come.
Over the last six months, workers have made a number of improvements to trails and amenities in the Fraser Valley region as a result of $320,000 in provincial funding through the Community and Employer Partnership program.
In Chilliwack, the dog off-leash area was redesigned and rebuilt at Island 22 Regional Park. New features include new fencing, as well as a new area for small dogs. Beside the dog park, a new day-use area along the river was also built, including picnic tables and garbage cans.
Eight kilometres of the dyke from Jesperson Road to the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge were resurfaced for ease of accessibility and three gates were installed to give walkers, cyclists and horseback riders peaceful use of the Experience the Fraser trail.
Workers in Hillkeep Regional Park built a new trail to the newly-built viewing platform giving hikers a spectacular view of the Fraser Valley.
In Popkum, 79 new cedar stairs were built on a steep section of the Popkum Community Trail to improve walkers’ experiences over the mountain to the viewing platform overlooking Cheam Lake Wetlands.
In Mission, the workers have built a new bridge and boardwalk over Draper Creek in Neilson Regional Park to provide better access to the rest of the park. In the Mission Tree Farm Licence, the Canyon to Coast Trail portion of the Experience the Fraser system was started. A nine-metre (30-foot) bridge was built to span a creek, a small footbridge constructed, and new trail built to begin to link the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) woodlot to Rolley Lake Provincial Park and then onward to the BC Hydro Stave Falls Visitor Centre.
Project participants have gained skills in landscaping, carpentry, painting and chainsaw use. They also have received First Aid certification.
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 900 job seekers have benefited from work experience and 195 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation ─
“Building a project like the Experience the Fraser trail system takes many hands and a lot of cooperation. I’m so happy that this Job Creation Partnership not only gave five people terrific work experience so they could upgrade their skills in order to get good jobs in carpentry and landscaping, it contributed greatly to this beautiful trail system.”
Simon Gibson, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission ─
“Experience the Fraser is a beautiful trail network that has so many benefits from a health, recreation and economic point of view. The work that’s been done at Neilson Regional Park and the North Route section of the trail system will provide trail users with a better experience with the new bridges and boardwalk built.”
John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack ─
“I’m proud of the work done on the Experience the Fraser trail system. The new amenities and improvements at Island 22 and Hillkeep Regional Parks will give outdoor enthusiasts benefits for years to come. It’s a testament to what happens when people, governments and organizations come together and work for the common good.”
Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope ─
“I want to congratulate the workers, and the project partners, on the fine job they did by improving the Experience the Fraser experience. Visitors, locals and all outdoor enthusiasts will benefit from this wonderful outdoor experience that people of all ages can enjoy.”
Doug Bing, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows ─
“This project benefits the workers and the region, so it’s a double win with a long-lasting impact. B.C. has reached a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older workers leaving it. That’s why, through the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government is re-engineering education and training programs, so we can ensure that investment decisions align with the needs of our rapidly changing labour market. We want to make sure that more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand jobs.”
David Urban, Fraser Valley Regional District planner, Experience the Fraser project lead ─
“The Job Creation Partnership program was a great success, providing the participants with new skills and the community with new recreational amenities related to regional parks and Experience the Fraser.”
James Siebert, general manager, Ecoworks Landscape Services Inc. ─
“As the project holder, I am thankful to have been a part of this Job Creation Partnership program. It provided work experience and new opportunities to our participants as they took part in building these breath-taking projects throughout the Fraser Valley Regional District.”
- 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.
- 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: http://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/