The 767 Dearman Dragon Flight cadet band performs during a zone music competition in Richmond. (submitted photo)

Surrey cadets need new home as COVID-19 limits options for growing 767 Dearman squadron

‘We’re now the second largest air cadet squadron in the province,’ commander says

Surrey’s oldest and largest cadet squadron is searching for a new home after a local church closed the door to them, due to COVID-19 concerns.

The 767 Dearman unit needs enough space in the North Surrey area to accomodate a growing squadron of more than 225 Royal Canadian Air Cadets, plus officers and volunteers.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of all squadron activities until the end of summer, and now a potential fall restart is in jeopardy.

For 40 years the squadron gathered at the Whalley branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, which was demolished in 2019 to make way for a $312-million Veterans Village project.

“The Whalley Legion has been a huge supporter of our program,” said squadron captain Kevin Antrobus. “With the pending development of the Legion Veterans Village, we had to find a temporary home. After exhausting options with the City of Surrey and the Surrey School District, we started contacting local church groups. In September 2018, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was gracious in allowing us the use of their facility.”

Amid the pandemic, Antrobus said church officials have decided the squadron can no longer use their facility.

“We appreciate all that the church has done for us over the past two years,” he said. “We are now in search of a new location.”

(Story continues below)

• RELATED STORY, from April 2019: Whalley Legion finds new, temporary home as ‘Veterans Village’ built in Surrey.

Squadron membership has more than doubled over the past two years, Antrobus noted.

“We are the second largest cadet unit in B.C. and are very active with cadet activities,” he said. “Our squadron hosts a number of ‘optional training’ programs” — activities such as music, biathlon, marksmanship, first aid, drill team, photo club, “ground school” pilot training, effective speaking and more.

With up to 250 people in attendance on any given night, it is increasingly difficult for the squadron to find a suitable location. “We generally require a large open space for parades and up to 7 spaces for classes,” Antrobus said.

“Compounding our challenges is the COVID pandemic,” he added. “Cadets is currently cancelled until Aug. 31. The Surrey School District is gradually opening however there are no plans for September for facility rentals. We ourselves are unsure what September will look like for our organization.”

Antrobus has been in command of the squadron for three years.

He said a lot of the cadets are from the inner-city area of Surrey, so raising fees is a last resort.

“Our Tuesday-night gatherings are busy, with around 80 per cent attendance. That’s our main gathering, and what we’re most concerned about.”

Antrobus said “the plan right now” is for the squadron to return to the new Legion once it’s built in a couple of years.

“I still have some concerns about that, to be honest with you, because when we started talking about the project, just before I took over, we had less than 100 kids showing up,” Antrobus said. “And since then we’ve been slowly building up our programs and connecting with the community and ballooned up to 225 cadets now. We have gained so many cadets in the last few years, and now we’re the second largest air cadet squadron in the province.”

Antrobus welcomes emails sent to The squadron is online at and also

• READ MORE: ‘Goodbye legion 229’: Demolition of Whalley Legion building begins.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BREAKING: Cloverdale McDonald’s employee tests positive for COVID-19

McDonald’s Canada immediately shut down the restaurant

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read