Cloverdale’s top stories of 2011 – part 1

Mourning the end of Cloverdale's Antique Alley, protesting Surrey’s student squeeze, and celebrating a big victory for the backstretch.

  • Dec. 28, 2011 6:00 a.m.


Nice plans

The public liked what it saw at an open house showing redevelopment plans for the old Cloverdale mall, soon to be demolished. Developer TL Housing Solutions showed off plans for the site, which include tearing down the mall and replacing it with a mix of commercial and residential units known as Cloverdale West Village.

Phase I will consist of a single, five-story building with 22,000 square feet of commercial space, and will include a new Cloverdale Legion, underground parking, and 100 residential units on the site’s southwest corner.

Tournament with heart

The Cloverdale Curling Club hosts the Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championships. Defending provincial champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna claims victory over rival Kelly Law.


A tale of two animal shelters

The BC SPCA purchases a parcel of land in Cloverdale, where it plans to open a new animal centre in early 2012. The property, at 16748 50 Ave., will be the site of what the non-profit society hopes will be one of the largest and most innovative community animal centres in the province.

The current Surrey branch is housed in the city-run pound at 6706 152 Street.

The SPCA was in the final stages of an agreement to construct a jointly-operated animal shelter with the City of Surrey in Cloverdale when the city announced in 2009 it was moving ahead without a community partner.

Meanwhile, the City of Surrey plans to build an animal shelter in the 17900-block of Colebrook Road, next to Cloverdale Hyland House, a 35-bed emergency homeless shelter.


‘It’s a little sad to see it go’

Demolition begins on the Old Cloverdale Mall, where a large excavator’s mighty jaws crunch into wooden beams and boards of the former anchor, Safeway, sending clouds of sawdust and bits of debris into the air.

“It’s a little sad to see it go, isn’t it?” remarked a woman who briefly stopped to watch. “It’s a piece of Cloverdale history,” she said, adding she still missed the Safeway and its staff. The grocery closed in the mid-2000s, precipitating the mall’s inevitable decline.

The final tenants, a Sikh temple and a soup kitchen run by local churches, vacated in January.


Plant to close

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. announces its Cloverdale plant is closing. Layoff notices are issued to 155 employees. The company will gradually wind down operations starting in May 2011, consolidating production at its other prepared meat facilities in Saskatoon, Manitoba and Ontario.


The big squeeze

Cramped conditions have forced Lord Tweedsmuir and Earl Marriott Secondary to introduce extended hours and a split timetable in the fall.

Both are over-capacity and have multiple portable classrooms on site to handle student overflow.

But with no new capital funding on the horizon, and enrolment expected to grow, the schools opted to extend the school day to make enough room.

The Surrey School District desperately needs an infusion of money, says board of education chair Laurae McNally, who warns even if the money arrived today, it would still take two to five years to build a school.

“This is the product of nobody paying attention to a rapidly growing district,” she said, urging people to contact their local MLAs.


So long Antique Alley

The Cloverdale Antique Mall gets an extension on its final move out date, adding more time to the liquidation sale at the 16,000-square foot mall, going out of business after 12 years because of a hike in its lease.

By March 20, 45 full-time antique dealers, including 10 staffers, will be losing their livelihoods.

Nearly 300 consignment sellers will also have to look for somewhere else to sell their wares, which range from fine antiques like furniture to eclectic collectibles and memorabilia.

The closing-out sale results in the mall’s best business in years, with hundreds of bargain hunters and collectors swarming to what was B.C.’s largest antique mall.

When original owners Bill and Marian Reid opened the mall in 1999, Cloverdale was home to more than a dozen antique stores.

A memorable item included Queen Victoria’s bloomers, recalled current owner Tim Garrett.

“She was no petite woman,” he said, adding the gonch was legit. “It had all the proper paperwork.”


Student walkout

Several hundred students at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary walk out of class to protest upcoming changes in the school timetable and to demand provincial funding to build new schools.

LTS is one of two Surrey high schools switch to extended operating hours – and split timetables – this fall to deal with overcrowding. The growing district hasn’t seen any capital funds since 2005.

Later in the day, about 60 students took their protest to the Surrey-Cloverdale MLA’s office, where Kevin Falcon called the students’ concerns legitimate, and promised to take their message back to Victoria. “I was blown away” by their good ideas, Falcon said.


Open sesame

Quietly open for several months, the Cloverdale Recreation Centre holds its grand opening in early May. The $22 million facility boasts two gyms, a 10,000 square foot fitness centre, multipurpose rooms and programs for a wide cross section of residents.

It also earns a mention in Canadian Architecture for setting a new standard for community recreation facilities and for setting the tone for the City of Surrey’s future plans for the Cloverdale Fairgrounds site.

Designed by CEI Architecture, its expressive, economical forms complete a high impact building, the magazine says.


Easy winners

Despite a clutch of conservative-styled challengers and defections from within his own team over the past year, Conservative MP Russ Hiebert easily cruises to another victory May 2. The South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale representative took 54.6 per cent of the vote.

Voter turnout was 65 per cent, highest of all Surrey’s ridings. Further north, in Fleetwood-Port Kells Conservative MP Nina Grewal also won by a comfortable margin. Elsewhere in Surrey it was a different story, where Conservative Dona Cadman was toppled in Surrey-North and Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal fell in Newton-North Delta.


Red Barn is history

A two-day auction featuring coin-operated amusement rides, old fashioned gas pumps, curios and memorabilia, plus vintage soda signs ushers in the end of the line for Red Barn Antiques.

The auction is the final weekend for the landmark business, once Canada’s largest antique store, which is closing its doors after 42 years in operation, 38 of them in Cloverdale.

The loss of two large outlets signals the end of the road for antique alley, the historic town centre’s top-billed tourist attraction.

By year’s end, two antique stores remain, Cloverdale Antiques and Fine Art on 176 St., and Jack’s Place Antiques and Collectibles, still going strong.


Victory on the backstretch
 A protest outside Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino unexpectedly turns into a celebration when members of the local harness racing industry learn their longer racing season will be

restored,  saving potentially thousands of  local and B.C. jobs.

Despite urgent pleas from horse owners, breeders, drivers and trainers and others, the company that owns the racetrack and casino had refused to consider a longer season that would overlap with racing at its other B.C. track, Hastings Park in Vancouver.

But mounting lobbying efforts that culminated in meetings in Victoria between Harness Racing B.C. CEO Doug McCallum and cabinet minister Shirley Bond and others paid off.

The former Surrey mayor received word shortly before the rally, and delivered the news in person to about 70 protesters and a few race horses.


Three cheers for LTS

Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary’s Panthers cheerleaders prove they’re the best in the country, winning their division at the Canadian National Cheer and Dance Championships in Niagara Falls.

The 19-member team delivered two, 2.5-minute routines. The final performance was flawless, even though Alexandra Purgavie hyper-extended her knee and had to walk off the mat mid-routine.

Her teammates carried on, and delivered a championship trophy-worthy performance, bursting into tears as they walked off the mat, knowing it was the last time they were going to all compete together.


– Stay tuned for Part II of our 2011 review

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