To my neighbours in Hope,
As we start to welcome visitors back to our region, we want to take a moment to reflect on your amazing efforts that helped make it possible. Though weather disasters caused a significant impact here in our home and through the Fraser Valley, we came to realize that the effects stretched far further than that. In this video that we are sharing today, we highlight just a few of the many businesses and organizations that were a part of the massive effort to make our region and province feel like home again. On behalf of Tourism Hope, Cascades & Canyons, I’d like to personally extend our greatest thanks to not only the businesses and organizations who helped in these efforts but you the people as well. Your selfless efforts on the front lines and behind the scenes made this possible for not only our home but the rest of the province too.
– Shannon Jones, Executive Director of Tourism Hope, Cascades & Canyons
The People of Hope, Cascades & Canyons
The people and businesses of Hope were instrumental in making Hope as hospitable as possible in a disastrous time. Thousands of unexpected visitors were stranded in our small town, but the big hearts of our citizens made room for so many of them, whether it was in churches, businesses, or homes; the people of Hope stepped up in every way that they could.
Despite nearly the entire town having no power, many businesses opened their doors, offering food, drinks, shelter and more, free of charge, to our many stranded visitors who were unexpectedly and desperately in need of essentials; making them feel safe despite the unprecedented circumstances.
Other service businesses went out of their way to aid in any way they could. Hope Towing moved countless cars that had to be deserted until the owners could come back to retrieve them. Canyon Cable streamlined and modified their operations for the sole purpose of aiding our community. Kiewit selflessly offered their resources, equipment, connections, and staff to help wherever needed. The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society offered their boats to move people and animals to safety. We are more proud than ever of these and several other businesses for stepping up in such a big way to help whoever they could!
What Road Closures Meant for BC
Hope is a hub of highways. We take pride in being both a destination and a provider of access to the rest of our beautiful province. With all four of our major highways being shut down simultaneously, that was no longer our reality.
Although we personally felt the effects of a much emptier town while missing all our wonderful visitors, that wasn’t the only harmful effect felt, and definitely not the most severe! Supply chain and economic growth were affected majorly throughout our province as Highways 1, 3, 5 & 7 were all closed temporarily by these weather events. Visiting family and friends, as well as accessing much-needed facilities and resources was made much more difficult, and at times, impossible for many of our province’s residents.
The Effects on Indigenous Communities
All the more affected by the weather events were Indigenous communities. Many of these communities, especially in the Fraser Canyon, are much more remote, meaning it’s already more of a challenge for these communities to access resources and facilities.
Stó:lō means “People of the River”. Many of the Indigenous residents of the Hope, Cascades & Canyons area still live near the Fraser River to this day. With the water surging much further than anyone would expect in the early winter, these communities also suffered the losses of their homes and potentially suffered damages to sacred sites as well.
Salmon fishing is a vital part of Indigenous culture and serves many purposes in day-to-day life. With salmon populations already suffering greatly in recent years, the damages and pollution added to the Fraser River can only make the prospect of fishing for the beloved salmon bleaker.
A cornerstone of our region, the wildlife suffered greatly during these catastrophic events. Creeks and the Fraser River surged and were filled with massive amounts of debris that not only polluted the waters but also shifted the ecosystem by harming so many of our wildlife population inside the waters, and out.
Luckily, we have organizations like the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society and countless people that have worked hard on their own time to clean the river of debris. The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society continues to work, studying the sturgeon of the Fraser River, moving them to safety, and ensuring that their population thrives as much as possible. Many of our residents were quick to do everything they could daily to clear massive amounts of non-organic debris and continue to do so to this day. Once again, we find ourselves so grateful for the people that we have the privilege of calling our residents!
By air, by water and eventually, by road, our thousands of stranded visitors were able to find their way back to their homes with a bolstered or new appreciation for Hope thanks to our residents and businesses. Some even decided to make our town their new home after their unexpected stay! We and our residents are incredibly grateful to have made so many new friends, despite the disastrous circumstances, and we’re thrilled and continually will be to have them visit us again (hopefully with better weather)!
Once again, we would like to extend as great of a thank you as we can to the people of Hope, the businesses of Hope and everyone else who helped in a time of disaster and continue to help today. You are the reason that we feel that Hope is safe to call home and the reason our visitors feel that Hope, Cascades & Canyons is a safe place to visit!
We would also like to thank the BC tourism industry as a whole for helping travel to and enjoyment of BC’s incredible destinations move forward.
Ready as ever to welcome you back to Hope, Cascades & Canyons, we can’t wait to see the adventures you pursue as you explore our beautiful home!
Click the button above to start your trip off right at the Tourism Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Centre!