The year in Cloverdale: looking back at 2014’s local headlines

Part one of our annual look at the big and small stories that made news in our community this year.

Phoenix and Siryn Cowie chowed down on fresh corn (clockwise from upper left) at the new Surrey Night Market at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds; Brenda Myers placed son Carter in a pumpkin nest for at Cloverdale Country Farms; Team Stay Strong joined the 12-hour Relay for Life at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre; the Cloverdale BIA and Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce presented a united front as frustration deepened over the City of Surrey’s ‘neglect’ of the growing town centre; a furry pal up for adoption at the new BC SPCA Education and Adoption Centre; and Clova Cinema owner/operator Craig Burghardt auctioned off cinematic mementoes when the historic movie house closed after 67 years in operation.


• Cloverdale’s Barbara Atcheson sits down with the Reporter to talk about a 50-year-old cookbook compiled by the Evening Women’s Association of Cloverdale United Church.

Personal Recipes: Cloverdale B.C. was packed with recipes reflecting the values of a different era, when women in the community were working outside the home in greater numbers – but were nonetheless expected to labour over family meals where nearly everything was made from scratch.

Time-shaving shortcuts like microwaves and frozen dinners didn’t exist, Atcheson said, adding, “There just wasn’t the selection of prepared foods in the grocery aisle to buy.” In an era before Google or, trusted recipes were passed down, new ones eagerly swapped and shared.


• There’s a shake up for federal Conservatives as Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert announces he won’t seek re-election in 2015. After serving out the current term, he intends to renew his license to practice law, and pursue opportunities in the private sector. The decision leaves two redistributed federal ridings without an incumbent.

• Despite talent shows, silent auctions and, yes, film screenings to raise money for a digital projector, Clova Cinema operator Craig Burghardt reveals negotiations with the theatre’s landlords will determine whether or not the conversion will go ahead and the business will survive.

A new digital projector costs $50,000 to $60,000 – but without a long term lease, he fears being left without a venue to play movies if the building is sold.

• Members of B.C.’s harness racing community breathe a sigh of relief with news a five-year racing deal has been reached at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino in Cloverdale, run by Great Canadian Gaming.

The deal – subject to provincial approval – outlines racing and funding arrangements for thoroughbred and harness racing, and says income from a portion of slot revenues at casinos at Fraser Downs and Hastings Racecourse will continue to be divided.

But the number of live racing days will shrink to a six-month season by 2016, something Fraser Downs horsemen have been fighting against.

• Teams lace up their running shoes to walk two, five or 10 kms as part of the Coldest Night of the Year event to raise money for a new community kitchen in Cloverdale.

They double their target, raising nearly $60,000 for the kitchen, launching at Pacific Community Church.

• Former Langley councillor Dean Drysdale enters the Conservative Party’s nomination race in the new riding of Cloverdale-Langley City, becoming the first Langley resident and fifth candidate to seek the party’s nod.

He goes on to win the party’s candidate nominating contest in November.


• The Canadian Reformed Church of Cloverdale celebrates its 60th anniversary by unveiling a mosaic built from fragments of parishioners’ old dishes, from fancy Delftware to teacups and pots.

The end result is “absolutely gorgeous” and demonstrates the cultural diversity of the congregation, which was originally mostly Dutch but today includes Canadian, Metis, Scottish, Burmese Congolese, Chinese, Taiwanese and South African members, says local Sara Vandergugten, whose father was pastor in 1966.

• Local movie-goers are stunned to learn the Clova Cinema building has been sold and the new owners – Crossridge Church – don’t intend to run it as a movie theatre in the long-term.

Craig Burghardt says the movie house can continue operating rent free, but reveals that the projector will dim later this summer, after 67 years.


• Hands up everyone who can actually park in their home garage. To those who cannot (because there’s too much stuff in there), the City of Surrey offers an incentive. The Give Your Car A Home contest urges residents to clean out their garages so their vehicles will fit inside. There are weekly prize draws and a shopping spree to Home Depot for those who enter.


• Clayton Heights Secondary student Laura Kim donates $10,000 she won from a TELUS contest to the BC SPCA.

• The sun came out on cue May 15 when friends, colleagues, and family turned out for the official dedication of two City of Surrey tributes to Bill Reid. The former MLA, cabinet minister, and Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce executive director passed away in 2013. Mayor Diane Watts said the renamed Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre and Bill Reid Way (62 Avenue) recognize Reid’s 50 years of public service to Surrey. A statue is also being commissioned.

• A FairShare Food Society ‘Paper Bag’ appeal for donations raises questions after a Cloverdale resident realizes the organization runs a food store in Langley that sells items to members at a discount.

The store wasn’t mentioned in the appeal, resident Helen Torrance says.

Society founder Fowler tells the Reporter the food donated by the public isn’t sold – but that corporate donations are sold at lower than market prices to members.

Executive director Marilynn Herrmann says the Surrey Food Bank doesn’t solicit for donations, nor does it sell items to clients – corporately-donated or otherwise. “If someone comes to your door saying they’re from the Surrey Food Bank, it is not the Surrey Food Bank,” she stressed.


A barn fire in Langley killed 18 horses, devastating the harness racing community. All but one horse belonged to JJJ Stables, owned by Rick Mowles and Bill Davis, a driver and trainer at Fraser Downs. The horses were valued between $700,000 and $1 million.


Andrea Lanouette, a Grade 11 student at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, wins first place in the Aboriginal Arts and Stories writing competition. The Haisla teen’s story, Tears, is inspired by the missing and murdered girls and women of B.C.’s  so-called Highway of Tears – Highway 16. She was flown to Ottawa to receive her award and won $2,000.

– Cloverdale Reporter

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