More news from 2014: An elated new mayor

The year in Cloverdale: Part two of our annual look back at local headlines

The second installment of our annual look back at the big and small stories making news in Cloverdale in 2014.

See Part One here.

July

• Using words like “neglectful,” “insulting,” and “a mess,” representatives from the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce and Cloverdale BIA stage a mock sod-turning at the site of a long-delayed revitalization project, the former Cloverdale Mall site. They’re venting frustration that the city-led residential and commercial project could take another 10 years to get underway.

Meanwhile, pedestrians on 57 Avenue stumble over gravel where sidewalk should be and the site is “a vacant mess,” of rubble and refuse, says then-Chamber president Brian Young, whose complaints attract a deal of media attention.

August

• The B.C. Day long weekend marks the end of an era. The Clova Cinema closes down after 67 years with a show stopping final weekend. There’s a performance by an ABBA tribute act, a midnight screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a scavenger hunt and finally, an auction of memorabilia.

Then it was time for one last movie: Dead Reckoning, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott. It was the film shown on opening night, May 26, 1947.

• A lengthy and ongoing remediation process is ongoing at the Cloverdale mall site, but the city’s partner on the promised redevelopment says phase one will be going ahead as soon as environmental concerns are cleared up.

Townline Housing Solutions plans to start marketing the project in early 2015.

• As the school labour dispute continues, Education minister Peter Fassbender re-announces a new, $55 million high school in Clayton will be completed by spring 2017, providing 1,500 new student spaces in the area.

September

• Surrey’s 70,000 public school students are ‘anxious and ready to go’ as the teachers’ strike comes to an end.

• The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society starts work on a bypass through Cloverdale that will eliminate cancellations of its weekend passenger runs due to freight movements. The project, estimated to be about $1 million in scope but will be much lower thanks to sponsors, involves building a 2,000-foot long section of completely new, dedicated track. The all-volunteer railway and heritage attraction has been sidelined as much as 50 per cent of the time this summer.

October

• It’s a full house over at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, where a record 2,011 students have enrolled for the current school year. An extended school day is in place for the fourth year in a row to help deal with the cramped conditions in a building designed for 1,400, as are shared lockers for two grades and classes in eight portables. Clayton Heights Secondary is likewise full at 1,283 students, with 10 portables at a school built for 1,000, and extended days for all Grade 12s and some 10s and 11s.

• Motorists can expect closures on the Cst. Roger Pierlet overpass to slow down traffic for the next six months, as a Highway 15 construction project to repair the southbound portion of the structure gets underway. Traffic is down to single lanes in both directions on the overpass, a four-lane rail crossing on 176 Street south of Highway 10 in Cloverdale.

• With November’s civic elections looming, members of Cloverdale’s Chamber of Commerce are being asked to cast their vote in another ballot – whether to join the Vancouver Board of Trade. Then-president Brian Young says the Vancouver organization has a lot to offer.

“This is about a business organization looking at the best connections to move the members’ initiatives forward,” he said.

The vote is later called off, pending the AGM. Acting president Brock Lazaruk says the idea has not been shelved, but will be discussed at a later date.

• Surrey’s civic election candidates spar in Cloverdale, honing in on local issues such as the city-owned fairgrounds, building phase two of the Surrey Museum, and the “unmitigated disaster” in Clayton Heights, home to parking problems, coach houses and illegal suites.

“It would be simple if we could send a bylaw officer over there and say, ‘everybody out,’ However we have young families in there,” Surrey First mayoral candidate Linda Hepner said, adding mortgages in some cases were negotiated with secondary suites in mind. “We must come up with a viable transition plan.”

November

• Langley’s Dean Drysdale claims the Conservative party’s nomination in the new federal riding of Cloverdale-Langley City, winning the third ballot over Mike Garisto of Cloverdale, and former B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, also a Cloverdale resident. A few days before the vote, the Conservative Party told candidates Gurmant Grewal and Paul Brar they had to withdraw, changing the dynamics of the voting, Drysdale said.

• Members of Hope Community Church break ground on a new church they’ll be able to call their own. The land at 18625 Fraser Highway was purchased 20 years ago. Once complete, the new church will offer preschool, youth programs, and even have a climbing wall.

December

•  Fraser Downs legend Ray Gemmill, the man who drove the Cloverdale racetrack’s first winner in 1976, retires from the sport. At 84, the veteran harness racing driver, owner and trainer is ready to call it a day. A retirement celebration is held at Fraser Downs, where it turns out he’s one of eight owners and trainers who are in their 80s.

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