Looking back, Part II

Faces of 2012: Teachers picket outside George Greenaway Elementary (clockwise from top left); two friends join the attempt to form the world’s largest human peace sign; Brian Busby and Denis Corrin are two of the volunteers readying the B.C. Transport Heritage Centre for its first visitors, and horse owner, breeder and trainer Donna Cunningham gives All The Statesman a good wash at Fraser Downs Racetrack.  - PHOTOS BY EVAN SEAL, JENNIFER LANG AND BOAZ JOSEPH
Faces of 2012: Teachers picket outside George Greenaway Elementary (clockwise from top left); two friends join the attempt to form the world’s largest human peace sign; Brian Busby and Denis Corrin are two of the volunteers readying the B.C. Transport Heritage Centre for its first visitors, and horse owner, breeder and trainer Donna Cunningham gives All The Statesman a good wash at Fraser Downs Racetrack.


Casino plan opposed

Cloverdale business groups break ranks with the Surrey Board of Trade, coming out against a new casino proposed for South Surrey, arguing it will hurt the Cloverdale economy and the harness racing industry.

The Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce and the Cloverdale BIA announce their unanimous support for Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino as Surrey’s primary casino – and are requesting a meeting with BC Lottery Corp. officials.

The business associations were reacting to news that a $100-million casino has been green lighted for Gateway Gaming and Entertainment Ltd., pending Surrey City Council approval. Then Cloverdale Chamber president Brian Young says it’s paramount Fraser Downs be given any first option to expand before another casino license is granted in Surrey because of the important role Fraser Downs plays in the local economy.


Top trucker

Cloverdale’s Daryl Giesbrecht is named B.C.’s grand champion professional truck driver.

He also comes in first place in the tandem-tandem event at the B.C. Professional Truck Driving Championships, hosted by the B.C. Trucking Association June 23.


Quite the swim

Cloverdale paramedic Will Rogers sets off bright and early from Tsawwassen’s shoreline June 24, starting the first leg of his 2012 Million Dollar Journey. The 53-year-old swam 22 kms to Galiano in support of Servants Anonymous Society and was looking ahead to a 440-km bike ride, plus a 500-km run. Sadly, an injury forces him to call off the run.


Too harsh?

Did pranksters push a local grad tradition too far? Streaking Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary students are banned from commencement ceremonies after racing through the school naked during lunch hour. The eight boys are also suspended for three days. Their parents complain the punishment exceeds their crime, arguing that grad pranks are tradition.



New Legion back on the agenda

A plan to build a new Cloverdale Legion that was shelved six months ago due to market conditions is unexpectedly brought back to life.

Phase one of Cloverdale West Village, the City of Surrey’s long-standing promise to redevelop the derelict old Cloverdale Mall site into a thriving neighbourhood hub will be going ahead after all.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 members have approved a slightly revised plan that means phase one can go ahead. The legion will get a 10,000 square foot hall, plus 1,800-square foot of retail space it will rent out as an ongoing source of revenue. There will also be four floors of residential space.


New federal riding

Surrey will get a fifth MP and a new federal riding in the next federal election as part of changes to the electoral boundary map.

A new Langley-Cloverdale riding will split Cloverdale and Clayton off from the current South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale federal riding.

The new Langley-Cloverdale riding, one of six new electoral districts for B.C., will also take in much of the current Fleetwood-Port Kells riding.

Canada’s electoral districts are reviewed every 10 years to account for population shifts and growths.


Trees under threat

Surrey council gives preliminary approval to a development on a heritage site that will raze more than 300 mature trees. Platinum Enterprises plans to build 65 single family homes and 158 townhomes on the heritage Bose Farm property at 16420 64 Avenue.


Track merger likely on hold

The B.C. minister in charge of gaming dismisses renewed talk of the Lower Mainland’s two horse tracks merging at a single site any time soon.

Rich Coleman tells Black Press he now believes the City of Vancouver will sign a long-term lease to renew thoroughbred horse racing at Hastings Park, putting to rest talk of the operation moving to Cloverdale’s Fraser Downs, home to a standardbred track. Coleman said a new, five-year strategic plan for the horse racing industry is set for release as early as August and will likely call for significant changes but continued operation of both tracks.

“I think the recommendation at the end of the day may be to see if they can sustain themselves at their individual tracks,” he says.

Two weeks later, the deal is announced, providing certainty to November 2014. By the end of 2012, the strategic plan had not yet been released, but industry stakeholders were confident that it is imminent.


Calmed over casino

A meeting with B.C. Lottery Corporation officials calms fears of Cloverdale business leaders that a proposed South Surrey casino would “cannibalize” existing gaming business – for now, at least.

Brian Young, president of the Cloverdale and District Chamber of Commerce, told Black Press  the July meeting – in which representatives met with BCLC’s vice-president of casino and community gaming Jim Lightbody and manager of public affairs Greg Walker – had provided assurances the planned casino would not offer competition to Cloverdale’s Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino.

“It was a very good sales pitch,” Young said of BCLC’s position on the new casino, proposed as part of a 200-suite hotel and convention centre planned for 10 Avenue and 168 Street.



Barista training perks up

The award-winning job training program that’s helped brew success for hundreds of at-risk Surrey youth has been saved.

New funding sources have been found to re-launch the Baristas program, held up as a model by the business community for giving youth a foot in the door for employment. The program resumes operation in July.


Bowing out

Kevin Falcon, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, and B.C. finance minister, announces he’s not going to run for re-election.

First elected in 2001, Falcon, a prominent member of the B.C. Liberal Party, expresses a desire to spend more time with his growing family – he and his wife are expecting their second child early in 2013.


Western champs

Congratulations are in order to the Cloverdale Spurs, who take the Baseball Canada Western Championships in August, defeating hosts Saskatoon Blue Jays to win the title.



Record attempt

Cloverdale’s Millennium Amphitheatre is the site of a Guinness World Record attempt to create the world’s largest human peace sign. Organizers fell short of the estimated 6,000 participants needed, but photos of the crowd of 625 people will be featured in a charity calendar and promise to try again next year.


Historic church receives a unique donation

Cloverdale’s Christ Church – Surrey’s oldest church – marks its 130th anniversary with a commemorative service, followed by a procession across the street to the modern home of the Anglican parish, Christ the Redeemer Church, site of a community celebration and barbecue. The silver trowel used by stonemasons of the Union Solomon Masonic Lodge to lay the Christ Church cornerstone in 1884 is donated from the New Westminster lodge as a gift.


New Rodeo GM hired

Mike MacSorely is hired as the new general manager of the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association. A former vice president of operations with the Pacific National Exhibition, MacSorely brings 20 years experience in the event industry to his role in Cloverdale, where he’ll oversee day-to-day operations of the fairgrounds and the annual rodeo and country fair, Surrey’s signature event.’s the man

Surrey’s longest-serving businessman puts his iconic 1920 Cloverdale building up for sale.

Allan Dann, 88, of Dann’s Electronics, has been threatening for years that he wants to retire.

He grew up in the apartment upstairs and eventually took over his father Ernest’s business in 1973. The two-storey, wood-frame building was originally

a Royal Bank. It was a liquor store when Ernest bought it in 1930.

The building is a popular backdrop (and interior location) for film and TV productions, including Sci-fi drama, Fringe, which featured the repair shop and showroom’s proprietor in one of the scenes.

At year’s end, Dann’s Electronics was holding a clearance sale in anticipation of wrapping things up in January, 2013.



TransLink ‘dropped the ball’

TransLink admits it failed to follow up on a priority one service complaint lodged by a Clayton Heights Secondary student with cerebral palsy.

Brenden Parker, a Grade 12 student, says wheelchair accessible buses have passed him by twice in recent weeks, stranding him curbside outside his school and preventing him from getting to his work placement in Langley.

After Parker shares his story with The Reporter and other media outlets, TransLink launches an investigation, sending a transit centre supervisor to the school for further details, something that should have happened immediately, spokesman Derek Zabel confirms. “We did drop the ball on that.”


Popular policing

A Cloverdale Constable is named one of Surrey’s top Mounties for 2012. Const. Mark Levesque, a popular member of his neighbourhood unit, is named Police Officer of the Year Nominated by Peers. Businesswoman Jen Temple, who manages HIllcrest Village Shopping Centre, is also recognized for her anti-crime efforts at the awards, presented by the Surrey Board of Trade.


Melted meter Cloverdale business owner says his restaurant’s Smart Meter melted because it was wrongly installed and might have caused a fire had it not been discovered in time.

Aaron Hotell of The Vault says one of the meter sockets was damaged during installation, evenually causing the power to arc out, resulting in a partial blackout months later.

BC Hydro agrees to cover the cost of repairs, and points to the study it commissioned showing residential fires have declined since the Smart Meter program was launched.

But Hotell remains concerned that other businesses in the historic town centre may also be harbouring Smart Meters that were damaged at installation.



Making the switch

The Clova Cinema announces it’s hoping to make the switch to a digital projection system and has embarked on The Road to Digital, a fundraising campaign to help cover the conversion cost.

First up is an all ages concert and silent auction on Nov. 16.



Rail revival on track

Cloverdale’s heritage rail revival is moving along rapidly, with plans to launch weekend passenger service next spring well underway and construction on the replica electric railway station set to begin.

Since moving operations from Sullivan to Cloverdale in August, the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society’s project has sparked the public’s imagination, with new members signing up and volunteers coming forward to work on the passenger runs, along with donors pledging materials, work-in-kind or at cost, and cash donations.


Full support

Cloverdale’s business leaders are lending their support to Gateway Entertainment’s proposed $100 million casino complex in South Surrey. The move comes after the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce and BIA receive assurances from the provincial government and B.C. Lottery Corp. officials that the hotel/entertainment casino complex would not be a detriment to Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino. Surrey City Council has delayed its public hearing on the gaming license to the new year.

– Compiled by Jennifer Lang, Cloverdale Reporter

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