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LETTER: Where history used to live
Mayor Sharon Gaetz and city council have got it right.
The more shovel ready areas we can create in downtown Chilliwack the better off this city will be. Who doesn’t love the look and feel of empty space?
I hope council doesn’t mind that I am taking my out-of-town guests, friends and family on city tours this year.
It’s wonderful. I call it the “This is where history used to live tour.”
The highlight of course is those gorgeous planter boxes where the Paramount Theatre lived.
We stop and stare through the steel fence at all the nearly rare plants almost growing there. And I always deflect the obvious questions and downplay the fact that it took four months and nearly one million dollars to demolish the “condemned” and “decrepit” building. I remind them that all old buildings are a danger and have to come down for all our good and the safety of our children.
But I don’t downplay the other favourite attractions. The other day we had a box lunch in the old Safeway parking lot before getting pictures of the many, many empty lots throughout the area. It was invigorating and interesting to imagine what was once there and what will be built there 20 or 30 years from now.
I always encourage my visitors to get out of the van and walk amongst the tall grass and weeds and gravel. Some take off their shoes and socks, although I don’t recommend it.
I applaud city council for saving us a lot of money on those highway billboards encouraging tourism and those lovers of historic buildings. We don’t want those folks travelling all the way off the highway into downtown taking up valuable parking spaces and buying things. Keep them out there on the Vedder Road of Dreams where they can quickly fill up, get fast food and get on their road to anywhere else.
Lucky us, council’s shovel-ready downtown plan guarantees that we will attract more beige developers with buildings that are unique to nowhere. They will look and feel exactly like commercial buildings in all those other Fraser Valley communities that no one visits.
The only question remaining is when will the city begin buying up and mowing down all those tired old buildings on Wellington west of Yale Road so we can have complete peace and quiet down there to grow some more flowers and wonder wistfully about what could be built there in Chilliwack’s bright and unforeseeable future?