The expansion of the Experience the Fraser Canyon to Coast Trail will continue thanks to more than $335,000 of government funding and five people gaining work experience in the construction and trail-building sector.
The new gatehouse at Dewdney Nature Regional Park is one of many different aspects of the project, which will see participants at work for 24 weeks constructing a portion of the trail running through Mission and Chilliwack making improvements at:
- Dewdney Nature Regional Park
- Island 22 Regional Park in Chilliwack
- Mission Tree Farm Licence 26 in Mission
- Cheam Lake Wetland Regional Park in Chilliwack
- Fraser River East Dyke in Chilliwack
- Popkum Community Trail in Popkum
- and Fraser Pacific Enterprises in Mission
The five participants in the program were selected with the help of WorkBC Employment Services Centres and will work under the leadership of Ecoworks Landscape Services Inc., building trails and recreational shelters, installing signage, and planting vegetation along the trail. They will also receive their Level 1 First Aid, Chainsaw Use and Safety, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and Express Skid Steer Loader Trainer certifications, as well as Bear Aware and Danger Dog training prior to beginning work on the trail.
Ecoworks is working in partnership with the Fraser Valley Regional District on the project, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.
Funding for the project comes from the Job Creation Partnership stream of the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Community and Employer Partnerships program.
In July 2015, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation provided more than $320,000 for a similar project for a different part of the Experience the Fraser Trail, which when completed, will stretch from Hope to the Salish Sea along the Fraser River.
Experience the Fraser is a recreational, cultural and heritage project that extends along the Lower Fraser River corridor connecting Hope to the Salish Sea. More than 550 kilometres of Experience the Fraser trails and blueways (water entry points for canoers and kayakers) will connect communities along the Fraser River.
It will give residents of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland a new asset for outdoor recreation as well as a place that tourists can enjoy for years to come.
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 1,000 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 200 projects have been funded throughout the province.
The blueprint was launched two years ago to help British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for the almost one million job openings that are projected by 2024 and to re-engineer our education programs towards a data-driven system focusing investments toward training for in-demand jobs.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“I’m happy to see this partnership between the B.C. government, the Fraser Valley Regional District and Ecoworks continue to thrive and to see the Experience the Fraser regional trail move closer to completion as it will be a major asset to Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Interior outdoor enthusiasts all while providing five people invaluable, hands-on training.”
Simon Gibson, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission –
“When people see the work that these participants have done, they will be telling everyone to come check out the Experience the Fraser trail. This is a great government initiative that I am proud to support, and one that will do wonders for outdoor recreational tourism in our part of the province while benefitting residents looking for more access to the Fraser River.”
Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack-Hope –
“This expansion of the Experience the Fraser trail is going to benefit the entire region, not to mention the employment skills of the participants that will be paving the way toward its completion.”
John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack –
“Community and Employer Partnerships are great ways to help people gain meaningful work experience and I’m happy to see the Fraser Valley Regional District and the B.C. government continue to work together to expand this trail as it becomes one of our region’s top recreational assets.”
Marc Dalton, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission –
“Job Creation Partnerships provide double benefits in helping unemployed British Columbians gain new skills while working on community projects that will benefit residents and tourists, and this is a fantastic example of that.”
Darryl Plecas, MLA for Abbotsford South –
“As our region expands, it is important to continue adding assets to our inventory to give residents numerous opportunities to enjoy our beautiful outdoor recreation spots. The Experience the Fraser trail is going to be a great asset not only for Abbotsford, but for the entire Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland.”
Doug Bing, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows –
“As chair of the Experience the Fraser caucus, I am enjoying seeing this project come to life through years of planning and support from multiple levels of government. Seeing these people putting in the hard work to make this project a reality makes me excited for their future employment opportunities.”
Michael de Jong, MLA for Abbotsford West and Minister of Finance –
“Abbotsford and all the communities along the river are fortunate to have the mighty Fraser in their backyard. The creation of a trail, made possible through this project, will eventually connect communities along this waterway and enhance the lives of those living in, and visiting these areas.”
Sharon Gaetz, chair of Fraser Valley Regional District Board, and mayor of City of Chilliwack –
“The Fraser Valley Regional District is once again very grateful to the provincial government for this funding through the Job Creation Partnerships Program. Last year's program proved to be a win-win and benefitted our communities in so many ways. We are energized and excited to work with Metro Vancouver and see the impact this program is having on Experience the Fraser, and how it will once again enable members of our communities to develop new work skills as they seek employment.”
James Siebert, director, Ecoworks Landscape Services Inc. –
“We are excited to partner once again with the Fraser Valley Regional District and to continue to offer a program that empowers our participants to develop new work skills while adding value to our environment through the Experience the Fraser. The experience and training that our program participants receive while working on these projects propel them forward to finding sustainable employment in related industries upon completion. Thank you to the Provincial Government for providing this Job Creation Partnership funding allowing Ecoworks to carry out our social and environmental mandate.”
- 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 for the Fraser Valley Regional District and Metro Vancouver to 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 Fraser River Discovery Centre, Britannia Shipyards, Fort Langley and Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Sites, Riverfest and the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, 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 2016-17, 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
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: http://www.workbc.ca/CEP
Experience the Fraser: http://www.fvrd.ca/EN/main/parks-recreation/experience-the-fraser.html
Ecoworks Landscape Services Inc.: http://ecoworksbc.ca
Fraser Valley Regional District: http://www.fvrd.ca
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: http://www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: http://www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: http://www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: http://www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/