Part II: Cloverdale's top stories of 2013
Cloverdale paramedic and multiple ironman competitor Will Rogers completes his fifth successful epic swim from Tsawwassen to Galiano Island. The 12-hour, 22-km swim took longer than expected due to strong tides. It's a first attempt for Vancouver fire fighter Jennifer Dawkins, but not for Rogers, who has completed the same swim five years in a row as part of a 1,000-km custom triathlon ultra distance campaign. His Million Dollar Journey raises money for Servants Anonymous Society of Surrey (SAS), an organization that supports women and victimized youth looking for a way out of the sex trade.
New museum wheels into gear
The B.C. Vintage Truck Museum, Cloverdale's newest heritage attraction, has quietly opened to the public, after nearly a year of preparations.
The volunteer-driven museum, home to a collection of beautifully preserved freight and work vehicles that plied B.C.'s highways and byways, is a chance for visitors to learn more about the province's colourful trucking history.
It's run by the Surrey Heritage Society, and is located inside the former Surrey Museum on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, and is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A celebratory crowd turns out for the grand opening of the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in October.
Part of the collection was amassed by Bob King, a colourful trucking magnate. King's niece, Norma McCormack is on hand to thank those involved for preserving a slice of B.C. transportation history.
Standing up for Cloverdale
Ken Krasnikoff and VP Mike Bola say a renewed Cloverdale Community Association is revitalized and ready to tackle the rapid pace of residential development.
The 35-year-old group liaises with city hall on a range of issues important to Cloverdale. With a projected population boom in Cloverdale over the next 10 to 15 years, the association fears the current and future needs of residents have been placed on the city's capital project back burner, behind projects in other parts of Surrey, from Clayton and Grandview Heights to Newton and City Centre.
"We're not against development," Krasnikoff says. "We just want it a little bit slower. Orderly."
Bose Farm development gets nod
More than 200 trees will be coming down as part of a plan to build a residential development on a section of the historic Bose Farm.
City council approves the developer, Platinum Enterprises' revised plans, which reduce the number of trees that will come down to make room for 44 single family lots, 249 town homes, and a park. An original plan to remove 339 trees in the Bose forest was sent back in March in response to swift opposition from the public.
Conservatives line up for new federal riding
Businessman Paul Brar formally declares his intent to seek the Conservative Party nomination in Cloverdale-Langley City, a new federal riding is to come into effect for the next election.
He makes the announcement at the Cloverdale Library, and joins former B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer in the race for the party's nomination.
Conservative hopeful Mike Garisto joins the race in September. He's a father of four, and long-time resident of Cloverdale. By year's end, Gurmant Grewal, former MP, officially announces his intent to seek the same party's nomination in the riding.
Getting 'er done
Twin brothers Jamie and Chris Ruscheinski host a live country music concert in Cloverdale featuring such headliners as Aaron Pritchett, Dallas Smith, Karen Lee Batten and others.
The aim is to raise money for the Shaun G. Foundation in support of Easter Seals House in Vancouver.
Farmland fight renewed
Residents of a west Cloverdale neighbourhood are marshaling opposition to a request to remove more than 14 hectares of farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The application concerns seven parcels along Highway 10 between 168 Street and the Serpentine River owned by a consortium of property owners.
City council has referred the application to the ALC, acting on a planning report that said problems with the site include poor draining and soil quality, among other things.
A group of residents called Keep West CLoverdale ALR hopes to galvanize opposition to the the application to submit to the ALC in time for a submission deadline, just six weeks away.
"The biggest thing is people have no idea that this is happening," Gary Friend says.
A twist ending
A man is arrested by Surrey RCMP following a bizarre car-jacking that begins and ends with a crash.
A 26-year-old man was driving a stolen vehicle when he came across a car accident near Fraser Highway and 182 Street in Cloverdale.
While trying to avoid the blocked traffic, he drove over a median and got hung up.
He then got out and tried to steal several other vehicles, before driving off erratically in a Mini Cooper – only to suffer a collision near 80 Avenue and 176 Street, where a passerby flagged down firefighters – on their way to the original accident scene – detained the driver until police arrived to arrest him.
Remarkably, no one was injured.
Close to 50 people protested the removal of more than 200 tress at the historic Bose Farm. The Aug. 1 protest is organized by Save the Bose Forest group and takes place in front of the 16420 64 Avenue property.
A farmer with a dream
Dreams come true in Cloverdale, according to local farmer Jas Singh.
He's been overwhelmed with the show of volunteer labour and support after issuing an urgent plea for help harvesting thousands of kilos of ripe produce bound for the region's food banks.
God's LIttle Acres Farm at 16582 40 Avenue grew from eight to 34 acres in three years, and he and his volunteer crew were having trouble keeping up with weeding and even minimal harvesting, forcing him to ask for more help.
The response has gone "beyond his dreams" with more than 500 people turning out to help, not to mention nearly 800 phone calls, 500 emails and over 100 text messages.
Scary wildlife encounter
Cloverdale's Theresa Weltzin survives a rare otter attack while swimming in a lake in the Cariboo.
She was rescued by her brother-in-law and nephew, who went out by kayak after hearing her cries for help, and she was taken to hospital for treatment of numerous bite wounds.
Massive pieces of machinery begin thundering along 57 Avenue as crews begin offsite roadworks for Cloverdale West Village.
Site servicing for sewer, roads and sidewalks is expected to take six months in preparation for development, but the Surrey City Development Corporation, and the project manager promise streets won't be closed down entirely.
The project's first phase calls for a new home for the Cloverdale Legion Branch 6, which is to get a new hall, plus retail space to rent out for revenue.
There will also be four floors of residential space in the building.
The former site of the Cloverdale Mall has been vacant since the buildings were torn down.
Clova supporters enter race
The Amazing Race, Cloverdale version, pits 150 participants in a scavenger hunt in the historic town centre as part of a fundraiser for the Clova Cinema.
The Sept. 1 event is the single screen's latest effort to raise cash to pay for a switch to a digital projection system.
The movie studios are increasingly moving to digital-only releases, forcing the family-owned Clova to consider a costly upgrade or dim the projectors forever.
The Bose Family Corn Maze opens for its 14th season. The 2013 maze pays tribute to Cloverdale's heritage as a transportation hub, with a design patterned after the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association logo – a steam engine, reflecting the area's proud heritage as a transportation hub.
A devastating rain storm in late September flattens the maze, forcing the Boses to shut the attraction two weeks early.
Best in the west
It's been a perfect season for the Spurs. The Cloverdale Suprs Peewee AAA baseball team, fresh off its provincial title at the B.C. championships in Prince George, return from Spruce Grove, Alberta, with the Western title.
The B.C. squad dominated, playing 5-0 to win the championship, pushing their post season record to a perfect 11-0.
It's the second year in a row Cloverdale has won the western title. What's more, the club's Bantam AAA A15 and U18 teams recently won silvers at the national baseball championships.
Big cats unconfirmed
Despite numerous reports from residents, conservation officers and police have not been able to confirm cougar sightings in Surrey's Clayton area or along the Surrey-Langley border.
But the public is asked to take precautions all the same.
"We've had numerous calls," CO Jack Trudgian said, adding no new sightings have been reported in the past few days.
A large deer population is a main source of food for the big cats. Any cougars spotted in residential areas are likely just passing through, he added.
Eye guy retires
Dr. Holger Pierce, founder and former proprietor of Cloverdale Optometry, steps away from the business after a remarkable 50 years.
At 73, he remains active, cycling, walking, golfing and curling – along with volunteering.
He opened Holger Pierce Optometry on Cloverdale's 176 Street on Aug. 8, 1963, operating a thriving business through five decades and several locations, and serving successive generations of Cloverdalians.
He sold the practice in 2008 but continued to work with the new owners, Dr. Ashifa Nurani and Dr. Anisa Nurani, sisters and business partners.
In August, friends, family and loyal customers turn out for his retirement party.
All in the family
Cloverdale Pharmasave marks a milestone – the award-winning, family-owned health centre celebrated 30 years in business.
Henry and Anna Cheng were joined by their staff and many loyal customers for an open house, and head-shaving: pharmacists Lyle Sunada and Fred Cheng, along with store manager Martin Leonard, pledged to lose their locks if $2,000 was raised for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Truly a family business, the Cheng's three children are already well-known to customers. Fred and Christine are pharmacists, Josephine handles marketing, and son-in-law Martin Leonard is store manager.
Neighbours despair over trees
It's an arresting image. Cloverdale resident Jason Koning snaps what he considers to be a poignant and symbolic photo during an early morning walk through his neighbourhood.
It's a picture of a Great Blue heron perching on a pile of wood debris left behind when crews began cutting down part of the Bose forest. The land is being cleared for new residential development on the heritage farm site.
A petition with more than 500 signatures asks city hall to reverse its decision allowing the development to proceeds.
Opponents are concerned that the development would destroy hundreds of trees, displace local wildlife and add more pressure to schools and traffic congestion.
But the trees came down the first week of September, and not everyone is pleased.
'It's such a sad sound and sight,' wrote Michelle Boyer on the Safe the Bose Forest Facebook page. "Totally heartbreaking."
Koning called the situation "inevitable" but adds opponents did their best to fight for the preservation of the trees, but laments more couldn't be saved.
"I was hoping to snap a picture of a bird in the area to get people's attention." To his surprise, in the distance, he saw the heron on the debris, looking "completely sad and in shock as well."
"Sad to see. But a great photo for people to ponder about how many animals and birds have lost their home."
A portion of the forest is being turned into a six-hectare park, preserving significant trees and habitat for birds and wildlife. There are two residential developments pending on the farm. Heritage buildings are being preserved and part of the lands from both developments are being dedicated as parkland.
Clayton crime wave
The Surrey RCMP is going door-to-door warning residents in Clayton, where there has been a rash of burglaries from homes, cars and garages.
In many cases, the culprits aren't having to force their way in – they're entering through unlocked garage doors, which provide easy access to vehicles and valuables in garages and homes.
Even more concerning, says Staff Sgt. Martin Blais of the Surrey RCMP's Cloverdale/Port Kells office, is that the crimes are occurring while residents are home.
That's why the police are urging people to step up their anti-theft measures and change habits.
Site works bad for business
The owner of a small donair shop complains that road and site servicing work on the nearby Cloverdale West Village development is hurting business.
Aziz Hamo says his business has dropped in half since work began, and with work expected to continue to the end of 2013, there's no relief in sight.
"He'd like compensation from the city for lost business, but there's no provision on the books for businesses that are negatively impacted by city construction projects.
"Yes, there is a real issue," confirmed Paul Orazietti of the Cloverdale BIA, describing Hamo's concerns as "totally legitimate."
Reimer swims into hall of fame
Cloverdale's Brittany Reimer, the Queen of distance swimming, is inducted in to the B.C. Swimming Hall of Fame. The 25-year-old was just 16 when she competed at the Summer Olympics in Athens. She went on to win silver in the 800 metre freestyle bronze at the 2005 World Aquatic Championships. The times she posted remain Canadian records.
"I think they're the oldest, now, on the books." she told the Reporter in October. "I want someone to break them," said Reimer, who has no regrets about retiring, so "they can have that experience for themselves.
A new, fast-charging station for electric cars unveiled in Cloverdale is the first to become operational in the Lower Mainland.
The Surrey Museum station at 17710 56A Avenue is one of 13 direct current fast-charge stations being build in southern B.C. to offer electric car users more places to quickly juice up.
There are already hundreds of publicly usable standard charge (Level 2) stations, but the DC Fast Charge sites need only 20 to 30 minutes for an 80 per cent charge, rather than four to eight hours.
The Surrey Museum station is the first available charge point north of the U.S. border for electric powered American motorists heading into Canada.
A model athlete
A Cloverdale member of the Langley Rams football team is recognized for his considerable off-field contributions.
Offensive lineman Brad Goodchild, 21, was presented with the Ron White Community Service Award last month.
He has also earned the Canadian Junior Football League's Past Commissioners Award, presented in Regina at the CJFL Banquet of Champions.
Goodchild has overcome much in the past eight years, including considerable family troubles.
Despite adversity, he thrived in the classroom, skipping Grade 8 and graduating from Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary with a 95 per cent grade point average.
He's now in his fourth year at Simon Fraser University and is a mentor to two youths.
"He succeeded when it would have been easy to fail (and he never gave up on himself," Ron White said. "He now shares these life experiences mentoring students as his contribution to the community."
Will Cloverdale be asked to take more trains to benefit White Rock and South Surrey neighbourhoods like Ocean Park and Crescent Beach? That's the question locals are asking after the mayors of White Rock and Surrey revealed they've been privately talking for months about the possibility of rerouting the BNSF railway away from the waterfront.
Advocates cite the recent Lac Megantic oil disaster, the push for more coal train shipments, and the death of a jogger in White Rock, and the slide-prone escarpment in Ocean Park in calling for a safer route.
White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin said the cost of moving the railway line to a new alignment could cost $350 to $400 million. Staff from the two cities have been working jointly since August to prepare a business case.
Three out of four alignments unveiled at a public forum would see the BNSF tracks move east past 176 Street.
Bring it on
Cloverdale's two high schools turn a good-natured rivalry into a formal competition when students at Clayton Heights and Lord Tweedsmuir secondaries agree to help raise donations for the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper Program.
Cadets dine with history
The 70th anniversary of the Seaforth Highlander Ortona dinner is marked by 350 cadets at the Cloverdale Legion who recreate the historic meal.
Fake bricks and stained glass windows help transform Branch 6 into the setting of the original dinner, held by officers in the ruins of a church while the brutal Second World War battle of Ortona, Italy, waged around them.
Kitchen nears completion
The new Cloverdale Community Kitchen nears completion, bringing the community's newest outreach project a big step closer to its target.
The $400,000-project is spearheaded by Pacific Community Church, which launched a fundraising campaign to build a community kitchen for the church and other concerned groups.
the new kitchen includes a professional dish washing system, commercial oven, restaurant grade stove and grill, and a soup still. There's also a walk-in cooler and pantry.
The congregation held a soft opening Dec. 1, but permits are still needed.
Extensive renovations were necessary to create a kitchen that can be used by multiple groups and individuals wanting to address community needs of homeless, needy and seniors on fixed incomes.
Quick, before it melts!
It doesn't take long for Clayton Heights Secondary students to polish off a 100-foot long banana split. The giant dessert is set up in the school's hub on the last afternoon before Christmas break. The event is a community-building exercise and a fundraiser.