It was another busy meeting for the District of Hope council.
The mayor and councillors listened to a number of agenda items during last Monday evening’s (Feb. 27) council meeting which included the Homelessness Count and Survey, AdvantageHOPE, Tour de Cure, and a new deputy fire chief.
Homelessness count and survey
Council was updated, by Ron Van Wyk of Anron Consulting, on the homelessness count. This included explaining the process of the homelessness count and survey which is currently taking place.
“Early in March we will do the bi-annual count. It is an initiative and project of the Fraser Valley Regional District. And it happens over a 24-hour period.” Van Wyk said. “The purpose of this count is to determine the number of [people] who are homeless. To create awareness of the health issues present within this population. To analyze and compare data with previous counts to see what trends are emerging.
”We also try to understand the length and contribution to the body of knowledge to the understanding of homelessness and housing and services in B.C. And then the [count] is supporting advocacy work to get better services, increased services, and also housing into the communities.”
The count was first conducted in 2004 and has continued every few years, with the last count being in 2020. In 2004, from Abbotsford to Boston Bar, the count found that 407 people were homeless. That number doubled in 2020 to 895 people.
For more information about the survey and count, people can contact Ron Van Wyk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2023 Tour de Cure
Lindsay Carswell, the senior director of development for the BC Cancer Foundation, updated council about Tour de Cure — a B.C. cycling fundraiser that supports the BC Cancer Foundation, with a goal to raise funds for cancer research through cycling.
“Plans are still in the works at this stage,” Carswell said. “Similar to what we achieved in 2019, we will come into town through Highway 7 with 1,500 riders and then circumnavigate town and come down Wallace to a celebratory finish at Memorial Park.
“I think if we can bring all of our pageantry to the centre of town, to Memorial Park, and close Wallace Street temporarily to traffic we can really create a festive event for Hope residents and visitors.”
Tour de Cure, under a different name at the time, was also set to end in Hope in 2018 but had to re-route to Chilliwack due to a wildfire on Highway 7. The event returned, successfully, the following year with over 2000 participants reaching the finishing line, which was located at the Hope Recreation Centre.
This’s year ride will take place over two days (Aug. 26 to Aug. 27), starting in Cloverdale and ending in Hope. BC Cancer Foundation expects over 1,500 riders, 400 volunteers, and hundreds of supporters to participate in the event.
It is the hope of BC Cancer Foundation that this year’s Tour de Cure will engage and bring in great support from the Hope community.
“My dream is to see local residents out on their front lawns with lawn chairs and noise makers as we ride around in groups and make our way to the finish line,” Carswell said. “And I’d love to see businesses embrace it, along Wallace Street, with posters and temporary painted windows. And coming out and really putting their hands together for these people who are getting out of their comfort zone, and riding a great distance, for this cause that affects many British Columbians.”
During the meeting, Council gave their full support to the 2023 Tour de Cure.
New nominees to AdvantageHOPE board
Council unanimously voted yes to endorsing Gerry Wiebe, Laura Reid, and Chawathil Councillor Aaron Pete for appointment to the AdvantageHOPE board.
AdvantageHOPE is Hope’s economic development and tourism agency and operates the Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Centre.
New deputy fire chief named
Council declassified their Feb. 13 in-camera resolution to reveal that Joshua Westcott has been appointed the new District of Hope Deputy Fire Chief.
Westcott officially started his first day as deputy fire chief on Monday (March 6). A member of Hope since 2015, he joined the Hope Fire Department in 2018 and was a training officer for the department in 2022.