A bear crosses the Fraser River east of the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge

Arms wide open at Cheam

Popkum area band welcomes fishermen to their territory

On the north side of the Fraser River, a small crowd gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new venture. The Cheam First Nation band is opening their arms wide to visitors in their territory — pushing aside past conflicts and animosity with other fishing groups — by opening the Cheam Fishing Village.

Everyone will be welcome. Everyone can stay and feel at home, said Ernie Victor.

On the south side of the river, almost across from the new campsite area, a bear gently glides into the Fraser for a swim. Everyone moves to catch a sight of the animal, barely visible as he crosses the water.

“It’s a good sign,” someone says.

“A strong spirit,” says another.

Everyone watches as he lumbers out of the water and across the sandbar, before disappearing behind trees and into the water once again.

They say if you want to find a fishing spot, just watch for bears, Victor says.

But all fisherman who call these reaches of the Fraser River home know that the area is a salmon smorgasbord. Now, they’ll enjoy unfettered access to a boat launch area and a reliable place to set up an RV, picnic tables included.

“People come to our community and they get taken care of,” Victor said. “This is taking it another step forward, we are opening our doors, our land, our sacred space.”

Following a traditional welcome song, council member Lincoln Douglas joined Ed George, vice-president of the BC Wildlife Federation, and Theresa Fresco from the Fraser Basin Council on the river’s edge. Together, the trio cast out a ceremonial line.

It was a symbol of their new partnership and willingness to work together, a concept that’s also the impetus behind a FBC initiative called Harmony on the Fraser.

For George, the campsite has been a long time coming.

“I’ve been going down here for years (on a boat) and saying I want a campsite right there,” he said. “And here it is.”

He is hoping to come back to fish for real, once the fisheries announces this summer’s opening.

The new campsite includes 45 sites, a fire pit, boat launch, day parking, riverside trails and picnic tables. It’s the newest venture among the 200 aboriginally-owned businesses in Sto:lo territory.

Staying at the campsite ranges from $25 to $40 a night, and will directly benefit the Cheam First Nation band.

Access to the site is via the eastern Whelpton Road, keeping east on Dyke Road. A short road has been upgraded to access the newly built campsite.

Cheam has also upgraded its Cheam Trading Post, a wholesale and retail outlet for salmon. It’s also a new place to pick up soft fruits grown in Okanagan Indian Band orchards.

For more information, visit www.cheamfishingvillage.com.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Harrison to replace final incandescent street lights with LEDs

The $186,000 project is the second-phase of a replacement plan for the village

Harrison Hot Springs to consider single-use plastics ban

Village staff will come back to council with a report on what a possible ban could look like

Wonder Pup book series by Chilliwack author teaches kids self-regulation skills

Author Angela Murphy and illustrator Davis Graham release first book Speak Up, Wonder Pup

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge construction could start in 2021, MLA says

The project is expected to cost substantially more than budgeted in 2017

Fraser Valley developer offering to build barn owl nesting boxes for free

Gore Brothers says anyone with a suitable building can help the threatened raptor

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Update: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

CP rail has closed tracks while firefighters work

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

Most Read