A look back at the top Cloverdale stories in 2010 – (Part I)

Young Team Canada fans from Cloverdale show their support for their team before the during the first 2010 Winter Olympics Canada vs USA hockey game at Canada Hockey Place. From left: Tyler Tardi


The year got off to a tragic start when cancer claimed the life of Cassidy Briggs, a nine-year-old girl who’d been the focus of fundraising efforts in Cloverdale during her difficult, two-year-long battle.

As it turned out, the feisty, artistic little girl had been planning – with the help of her elementary school – to fundraise for a craft room at BC Children’s Hospital. She didn’t want other children to be bored during long hospital stays, with only dried up felt pens and cruddy art supplies to pass the time.

Inspired by her bravery and creative vision, classmates and staff at George Greenaway Elementary picked up her dream and ran with it, launching Cassidy’s Craft Campaign in her memory April 12.

By the end of the school year, the results were hauled into the school’s gym, where her classmates carried in a succession of boxes, bins and tubs filled with drawing paper, colouring sheets, paint sets, glue sticks, crayons, and felt pens for a new craft area at B.C. Children’s, along with a set of storage cabinets and more than $13,000.

Warm spell

As Haiti reeled from a devastating earthquake, B.C. got ready to host the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. Crocuses in full bloom on 177A Street in Cloverdale and melting snowpacks at Cypress Mountain were a sign of the fair weather to come.

Good timing

Just in time to welcome visitors to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Surrey’s new Visitor Centre opened on 176 Street north of the Pacific Highway border crossing. The $1 million building is also the new home of Tourism Surrey.

2010 baby watch

Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon and his wife Jessica welcomed their first child, daughter Josephine was born Jan. 22 at Surrey Memorial Hospital weighing seven pounds, three ounces.

Bum rap

Surreyites learned that Steve Fonyo has been stripped of his Order of Canada because of his multiple criminal convictions.

Fonyo, who lost his leg to cancer, raised more than $13 million for cancer research by running across the country in 1985. There’s a groundswell in public sympathy. However, that starts to wane in August, when, three weeks before marrying his fiance Lisa Greenwood, Fonyo was charged with credit card fraud. They’re married on the Victoria the beach that carries his name but by year’s end, Fonyo pleaded guilty to several criminal charges, including fraud, possession of stolen property and driving while prohibited.


Now the rellies can stay nearby

Cloverdale’s first full-service hotel opened Feb. 2, the $15 million Holiday Inn and Suites at 17530 176 Street.

It’s close to the Cloverdale Rodeo Fairgrounds, Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino, and the historic downtown. “I think Cloverdale will bring us lots of opportunities, hotel manager Deidre Heim said. The hotel has 75 rooms, 2,400 square feet of banquet hall space, a pool and restaurant Rockwell’s Bar and Grill.

Thought I recognized him

The new face of the Surrey RCMP is a familiar one in Cloverdale. Cst. Peter Neily, the new media relations officer for the Surrey detachment, started as a general duty officer here in 2004.

By years end, the 2009 World Police and Fire Games bronze medalist was poised to leave the position for another RCMP assignment.

Eight minutes

That’s how long the Olympic flame spent in Cloverdale during its speedy roll past the Surrey Museum, shrouded behind a two-storey high Canadian flag, when thousands turn out to cheer on the relay Feb. 8. It ignited a frenzy of Olympic fever.

The relay didn’t actually stop here – Surrey’s official celebration was held later that night at Holland Park.

The flame ignited in Olympia, Greece spent two days in Surrey as part of the longest single nation torch relay ever.

By the time the relay was over on Feb. 12 at B.C. Place, the flame had been passed by 12,000 runners in every region of the country, from the high arctic to Haida Gwaii, over a distance of more than 45,000 kms.

Let’s ride

Horses and riders from Surrey’s hottest ticket, the RCMP Musical Ride, made a welcome detour to Cloverdale’s Don Christian Elementary.

The popular musical ride was one of the biggest draws at Surrey’s 2010 Celebration Site at Holland Park, where the colourful ceremonial display of Mountie horsemanship drew legions of spectators to daily half-hour shows during the Olympics. The Ottawa-based team performed to packed audiences over the 13 days the site was open.


Hey, who turned off the lights?

Areas of Surrey and Langley experienced blackouts and phone service disruptions after a spate of copper wire thefts inconvenienced thousands of residents.

Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said the loss of 911 service is a major concern in these incidents.

“It may seem like a victimless crime but these thieves are putting our customers’ lives at risk,” he said.

Hoss’s barn burns

An old barn said to belong to the late actor Dan Blocker, who played “Hoss Cartwright” on TV’s classic 1960s Western drama, Bonanza, was destroyed by fire.

The barn at 7484 200 St. in Langley burned to the ground March 7. RCMP investigators said the barn’s electrical service had been tampered with and the barn had been reinforced with steel doors, suggesting it was used for illicit drug activity. No one was at home when the fire broke out.

Five more years

Surrey city council renewed the Cloverdale Business Improvement Area for another five-year term.

The term will last from March 15, 2011 to March 14, 2015. Plans in 2010 call for the Cloverdale BIA to work with the city on designing new streetlight banners and decorating downtown with hanging baskets in the summer. The BIA works on a number of special events, including the Cloverdale Rodeo Parade and Bed Races, and the Halloween Costume Parade and the Parade of Lights.

Rarin’ to go

Canvassers prepared to start signing up signatures on the Fight HST petition against B.C.’s looming Harmonized Sales Tax on April 6. The 12 per cent tax, a blend of the GST and the Provincial Sales Tax, is set to go into effect July 1.

Led by proponent Bill Vander Zalm, a former Surrey mayor and B.C. premier, the campaign has 90 days to sign up 10 per cent of the registered voters in every single riding in B.C.

“I think the reason why this one might be more successful than the others is that there’s so much anger,” said Surrey organizer Patricia Enair.

Vanishing farmland fears

Residents of a new homes subdivision near the Serpentine River went public with their fight to oppose a proposed industrial business park on land in the agricultural land reserve.

They’re considering legal action in opposing the developers’ application before it goes to city council. They’re worried about the loss of farmland and negative impacts like noise, traffic and pollution. The proposal centres on seven parcels of farmland – nearly 40 acres in all – fronting Highway 10 between 168 Street and the winding Serpentine river.

Cloverdale to get an animal shelter

The City of Surrey unveiled plans to create its own animal shelter to house stray animals.

Surrey wants to build a new animal shelter just south of Highway 10 in the 17900-block of Colebrook Road, beside Cloverdale Hyland House, a 10-bed homeless shelter.

Mayor Dianne Watts wants the shelter to be available for the pets of homeless people. Many remain on the streets because they’re not allowed to bring their pets to shelters.

The move to its own shelter means the city would take over a function currently provided by the BC SPCA, which would continue its mandate of animal rescue and prevention of cruelty.

Whenever you’re ready, guys

Five years after purchasing the vacant property, and three months after a public information session outlying broad plans to build a commercial development on the northwest corner of Highway 10 and the 176 Street bypass, Anthem Properties Ltd. said it’s nearly ready to submit its application to city hall.

The project will have to go through the development permit and rezoning processes.

Ready for our close up

A TV production crew spent several days on location in Cloverdale’s historic downtown core, shooting scenes for a pilot episode of a family drama set in a small, western U.S. town. The pilot for The Damn Thorpes, written by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Paladino, is to be co-written and co-produced by husband Dan Palladino.

The production crew spent three days filming scenes in the historic downtown, which was standing in for a small, western U.S. town.


Heritage house burns

A century-old heritage home in Clayton was seriously damaged after a fire tears through its upper floor. The 1908 George E. Lawrence House home at the busy corner of Fraser Highway and 184 Street had been vacant for approximately four years. It had suffered previous fires thought to be started by squatters, and had been sitting behind a fence and boarded up to keep vandals out.

The home, named for the former city councillor who built it, is supposed to be restored or rebuilt provided the developer wants to proceed with its rezoning application for a townhouse development.

The ‘big lie’

Sizable crowds turned out to hear former B.C. premier (and mayor of Surrey) Bill Vander Zalm outline his fight against the Harmonized Sales Tax during a townhall meeting in the Surrey-Cloverdale riding. A long line of voters waited their turn to sign the petition seeking to repeal the HST. Inside the Star of the Sea Hall in White Rock, more than 500 people listen to Vander Zalm rail against the tax.

Organizers collected the 10 per cent of signatures required for White Rock in just one night. Over the next 90 days, the campaign needed to sign up 10 per cent of the registered voters in all 85 B.C. ridings.

He said Liberal leader Gordon Campbell broke a promise made before the last provincial election that there would be no harmonized tax. “That was a lie – a big lie,” Vander Zalm said. “People are really upset.”

Here’s to you

The Good News Toastmasters Club raised a toast to 10 years.

On April 19, the club – an outreach program of Cloverdale’s Zion Lutheran Church – celebrates its 10th anniversary. Many of the original charter members were on hand for the party, reminiscing over the food tables that have become a Good News trademark. It was founded in 200 by Dan Saunders and Eileen Gray under the mentorship of Allan Cuswroth and Owen MacRae, who were all on hand.

B.C. District leaders also turned out for the special event for the club, one of the top five in B.C.

An even sweep

Both a men’s and women’s team from the Cloverdale Curling Club will be heading to the national championships in Charlottetown after winning the Pacific International Cup in late April. Cory McLaughlin and teammates Danielle Callens, Crystal Murray and Corri Roberts will represent B.C. at the Dominion Curling Club Championships in November, along with the Stu Harris team of Harris, Dean Lunn, Todd O’Dell and Bob Crocker.


We’re playing us, only it’s us in the U.S.

Sci-Fi TV show Stargate: Universe beamed down to earth, spending two days filming on location in Cloverdale. Traffic was barred from the 5700-block of 176 Street while the production crew filmed a stunt sequence and other scenes. Cloverdale, B.C. stood in for Cloverdale, VA, in the episode of the Sci-Fi drama, which aired on the Space Channel in October.

Rodeo wraps

The new format of the Cloverdale Rodeo seemed to be a hit, when more than 72,000 people swarmed onto the rodeo and fairgrounds over the Victoria Day weekend.

The invitational format is in its third year. As well, organizers began reaching out to newer audiences. The Desi Mela, a one-day Indo-Canadian cultural festival drew 2,776 spectators for music and dance performances.

MP defends expense ranking

When it was discovered Conservative MP Russ Hiebert’s expenses are the second-highest in the country, he blame high travel costs related to keeping his young family together. The married father of two young girls says his family regularly accompanies him to Ottawa, and noted B.C. MPs incur the highest travel costs because their communities are furthest from Parliament Hill. His expenses were $637,093 in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

The anti-social network?

Surrey school officials and police intercepted a group of senior high school boys trying to use Facebook to seduce Grade 8 girls at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.

It’s not known how many students were involved, however, along with letters home to parents from the principal, a group called SafeTeen was brought in to meet with the girls, along with counsellors, RCMP and school administrators. No one was charged.

Final tribute

The Surrey Centre Cemetery at 16671 Old McLellan Road hosted a special ceremony re-dedicating the original veterans section, site of an ambitious restoration project that’s now complete. The final resting spot of 60 graves of veterans of the First World War were refurbished and restored, including some graves that were never properly marked and were nearly forgotten about. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 secured funding to pay for the new headstones, and paid for some itself. The branch worked with the City of Surrey, which performed the restoration project.


That was pretty scary

An armed standoff in downtown Cloverdale ended peacefully after a man holed up for hours inside the historic, notorious White Hotel in the 5700-block of 176 Street finally gave himself up to police.

The June 7 takedown drew throngs of onlookers, kept main street merchants trapped in their stores, and involved dozens of police from across the Lower Mainland. The sight of snipers, dog squads and a massive armored vehicle had some wondernig if a film crew was in the area.

Mighty neighbourly

Eight show cats perished when fire broke out in a Cloverdale home.

Neighbour Darcy Smith and an off-duty police officer managed to rescue one cat, while another neighbour, Matt Darlington, broke down the back door to save the family’s dog. Darlington and other neighbours help deliver oxygen to the surviving cat, Miloh. Firefighters contained the blaze, but the home suffered extensive smoke damage. The home’s owners, Shirley and Jeft Byington, who weren’t home at the time, say they had home insurance, but their award-winning show cats were uninsured. Miloh mended, thanks to veterinary care at Cats at Home.

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