News

Year in Review 2012

Peace Arch News
Peace Arch News' Year End Review for 2012
— image credit: File photo

Peace Arch News delivered news to your doorsteps 104 times in 2012 (and in continuous real time at www.peacearchnews.com). Here are a sampling of some of our stories we covered throughout the year.

January

• A rash of violence that began on Christmas Eve continues with a late-night altercation at a Panorama Ridge home, resulting in a man being airlifted to hospital with a gunshot wound to his back. Weeks later, police reveal they believe the dispute was over alcohol.

• A 35-year-old man is dropped off at a rural South Surrey home with a gunshot wound to his leg.

• White Rock staff recommend revised rules for management of trees on city land. The modified Policy 611 is the result of controversy that erupted early the previous year following the approval of an application to remove trees from city land on Royal Avenue because they were blocking views.

• Former White Rock Coun. Margaret Woods sues fellow former councillor and political adversary Cliff Annable for calling her a “git” while both were vying for a spot in office during the fall civic election.

• Police release new photos related to the shooting of Surrey student Maple Batalia the previous fall. Nearly eight months later, Batalia’s ex-boyfriend, Gurjinder (Gary) Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder, along with his associate, Gursimar Singh Bedi, who faces charges of manslaughter with a firearm and accessory after the fact.

• Langley’s Kathy Jonah speaks out following the death of her mother, who contracted an E. coli infection at South Surrey’s Kiwanis Park Place, saying she hopes for some accountability and changes.

• South Surrey pro-life campaigner Mike Schouten quits the Christian Heritage Party, which he represented as a candidate during the previous federal election, after “soul-searching” and wondering if his “talents were well-used in a political setting.”

• Members of the Citizens For Safe Technology – including White Rock supporters – speak out against BC Hydro’s claim that only one per cent of its customers have resisted the installation of smart meters.

• A helicopter pilot from South Surrey dies in a crash while on a training exercise near Chilliwack. Dave Brolin, a father of two who grew up in the area, was a civilian member of the RCMP who flew Lower Mainland Traffic Services helicopters, including ones for search-and-rescue operations.

• White Rock’s famous pier receives new lights and arches but Mayor Wayne Baldwin says he “cannot think of a more poorly processed project” following receipt of a report explaining why they were not installed by their Dec. 15 deadline. While the light standards were installed by Dec. 11, the 15 new arches were pushed back to February. Coun. Al Campbell later said the mayor was wrong to describe problems as resulting from “a last-minute panic attack.”

• Surrey RCMP respond to a shooting incident in Panorama Ridge that leaves one man dead and another critically injured in what police described as a targeted hit.  Neighbours said they heard six to eight shots ring out in rapid succession. The shooting comes a week after the brazen slaying of Surrey gangster Sandip (Dip) Duhre.

• The province gives the Surrey School District the go-ahead for a long-awaited new Sunnyside Elementary in South Surrey, valued at more than $12.8 million. The rebuild had been on hold for more than five years since its original green-lighting in the 2005-’06 school year, due to a series of setbacks.

• White Rock council decides to implement iPads in lieu of paper in order to reduce waste and improve efficiency. The year before, Surrey became the first Lower Mainland municipality to move to a paperless system to reduce waste.

• The City of Surrey reveals 14 new off-leash canine spaces to be implemented throughout the city – including Pioneer Greenway in South Surrey – by 2021.

February

• Accused street racer Cheng Jie Wang, who was stripped of his right to drive after allegedly racing his Ferrari against several other high-end sports cars in August, regains his licence after a judge rules that the police and superintendent of motor vehicles acted on hearsay.

• South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert says he is baffled that his private member’s bill, aimed at increasing public disclosure of unions’ financial affairs, has met with critical reception during its second reading in the House of Commons. In November, Hiebert defends amendments to the proposed bill, which correspond with points raised by opponents.

• Members of the Tamanawis Wildcats are arrested in Kelowna after police spot what turns out to be a pair of toy guns in their possession while entering a Subway restaurant. The replicas are seized and the boys released without charges.

• More than two dozen White Rock dog owners and members of DOG White Rock express their disappointment following no support for a motion to allow dogs on White Rock’s promenade, west of the pier, from Sept. 15 to May 15. The motion by Coun. Helen Fathers received no support from council, preventing debate. Later in the month, dog owners stage a pro-pooch protest at city hall.

• Surrey is named one of the fastest-growing cities in Metro Vancouver in the 2011 Census. The city’s population has grown 18.6 per cent to 468,251, an increase of more than 73,000 since the previous count in 2006. White Rock experiences population growth at 3.1 per cent, bringing the total number of residents to 19,339.

• The City of Surrey sends a letter of support to residents of 32 Avenue more than three months after it was promised. The letter supports the residents in their fight to have big trucks moved off their street.

• Charges against South Surrey dog-rescue group A Better Life Dog Rescue continue to pile up. Several charges – including theft, break-and-enter and fraud – are sworn against rescue owner Janet Olson in Surrey Provincial Court for the alleged theft of dogs in the Lower Mainland. Co-director Louise Mary Alice Reid pleads guilty to two counts of theft involving missing dogs. In October, Olson is arrested again for allegedly breaching conditions. She is released after paying $50,000 cash bail.

• The City of Surrey reveals plans for a bus route that would, in late April, connect Grandview Heights and Campbell Heights business parks with White Rock and Langley.

• Ex-White Rock resident Paul LeMay contests the city’s legal authority to issue tickets on the waterfront lots south of Marine Drive, as they are leased by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and could be considered to fall under federal jurisdiction. Mayor Wayne Baldwin says he is so confident White Rock has authority, he would “wager my firstborn.”

• Surrey resident Kyle Brandon Danyliuk pleads guilty to charges in connection with the 2011 hit-and-run death of White Rock’s Marilyn Laursen. The 20-year-old’s lawyer says his client is “very sorry for the harm he’s caused to the victims and their family.” In October, Danyliuk is sentenced to two-years-less-a-day.

• Boaters moored in Boundary Bay speak out against a ‘bureaucratic nightmare,’ following the discovery of decades-old legislation requiring them to advise border officials every time they re-enter Canada – after simply traversing the jagged border near Point Roberts.

• A Coast Mountain bus driver is choked by a passenger in Newton. Surrey resident Steven Fayant eventually pleads guilty in connection with the assault and days later stabbing a Langley man on a bus in Aldergrove.

• The review of a 2011 fatal crash at the Serpentine River bridge, where a car plunged through the railing, killing the 20-year-old Vancouver driver, reveals there was no structural problem with the bridge. The decision is made to replace cast aluminum railings with concrete guard rails.

• White Rock council approves the White Rock International Music Festival to take place on the waterfront. Plans are to include a wide variety of music from acts from outside of the Peninsula, but organizers cancel the festival, citing “the current economic climate and time limitations.”

• City staff and council scramble to stop skyrocketing wire theft in Surrey, which is revealed to have cost taxpayers $2.8 million the previous year. Staff mull over the idea of using aluminum wire instead of copper.

• B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon raises concerns among treaty negotiation observers after announcing that B.C. will raise money by selling off a 15-acre parcel of surplus land in the middle of Surrey. The decision peaks aboriginal interest, as the province has little urban Crown land available to offer in treaty negotiations.

• It is predicted that teachers across B.C., including the Surrey Teachers’ Association, will ramp up their current ‘teach-only’ job action to a full-scale walkout.

• The City of White Rock estimates that giving people a break on waterfront parking fees would cost the city $625,000, following a request from the BIA to implement a new system of seasonal rates.

March

• South Surrey’s Sean Fleming is sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to being behind the wheel in the Crescent Road crash that killed passenger Tony Blackburn on Feb. 14, 2009. Fleming, 22, offers a tearful apology to Blackburn’s loved ones after hearing the judge’s sentence.

• After 40 years, iconic South Surrey and Langley business K&D furniture announces it will close its doors by the end of the year.

• Coun. Larry Robinson calls for the city to prohibit banner signs, calling them “trashy,” following a proposal to amend White Rock’s sign bylaw to loosen restrictions.

• In her State of the City Address, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts calls for better transit, specifically for light rail in the city.

• A stop-work order is issued after a White Rock couple chop down a protected tree in the yard of their under-construction home. They are fined $5,500 and the order is lifted.

• Police recommend charges against a Surrey woman, including impaired driving causing death, in connection with the car crash that killed Kassandra Kaulius a year before. In July, Natasha Leigh Warren pleads guilty to impaired driving causing death and failure to stop at an accident. In November, the Kaulius family places more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to represent people who were killed by a drunk driver last year.

• “Ma and Pa” eagles return to their Ocean Park nest. A live video feed of the parent birds was set up on Shaw Cable channel 4.

• Dan Bottrill is named as White Rock’s new city manager, replacing Dennis Back who had been hired as acting manager since Feb. 1 following Peggy Clark’s sudden resignation the previous December.

The Vancouver Police Department clears RCMP of criminal wrongdoing in the March 2011 shooting death of 23-year-old Brendon Samuel Beddow in Crescent Beach.

• South Surrey’s Douglas Wayne Bowers applies to withdraw his guilty plea in a 2009 child-porn case, claiming he accidentally downloaded child porn while visiting adult-pornography sites. In early May, Bowers withdraws his application and his guilty plea stands. In September, a witness testifies that she is one of the children in the photos found inside Bowers’ home.

• Fraser Health sends cleaning crews to Peace Arch and Surrey Memorial hospitals,  after a C. difficile outbreak in Burnaby.

• Local user groups of swimmers and divers present the City of Surrey with their concerns that a 50-metre pool proposed for Grandview Heights will be too small.

• The appeal of former Douglas Crossing border guard Daniel Johnson Greenhalgh, who was convicted last year of sexual assault and breach of trust, is denied.

• Councillors from Surrey and White Rock meet with U.S. counterparts to discuss a plan to revive the Blaine train station as a stop on the Vancouver-to-Seattle Amtrak service.

• The White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association issues a public apology to volunteer coaches John Hogg and Graham Edwards for sanctions issued stemming from alleged breaches of Little League rules.

April

• Benjamin James McBeath, who pleaded guilty to the parental abduction of a young boy in South Surrey the previous year, is told he must remain in jail another 30 months.

• Former White Rock MLA Wilf Hurd is the centre of a controversy after it is revealed that the Simon Fraser University director of government relations gave school money to the BC Liberals.

• White Rock’s inaction over a derelict Stevens Street property owned by Taiwan residents prompts neighbours to turn up the volume on their dissatisfaction at city council. Council votes unanimously to set a May 4 deadline for clean up, but it is eventually demolished in mid-May.

•  White Rock’s Garth Steeves pleads guilty to accessing child pornography. In May, Steeves is handed a 14-day term – to be served over seven weekends – for accessing the “disturbing” images.

• Organizers of the annual breast cancer fundraiser, Nite of Hope, announce its hiatus after a long, successful run.

• Peninsula smart-meter opponents install cages and other barriers around their BC Hydro meters to prevent their installation.

• Excavation for a home on Beachview Avenue is halted after a retaining wall collapses, threatening stability of two homes.

• Ryan Ashe, a homeless man who has been living in various areas of downtown White Rock for decades, is made to move following a series of complaints after he sets up a make-shift home at a bus stop near Johnston Road and Thrift Avenue. In response to the complaints and the city’s decision, Ashe moves… across the street.

• Douglas-area residents express concern about congestion after hearing a nine-building complex, including a four-storey hotel and conference centre, is in the works for a parcel of land near the Pacific-Highway U.S. border crossing.

• White Rock announces it will seek a new director of engineering after Rob Thompson’s contract expires. Mayor Wayne Baldwin criticized $182,883 for 10 months’ work as being “grossly overpaid.”

• White Rock resident Richard Morrison suffers devastating injuries following what friends describe as a “freak accident,” in which he broke his neck while playing drop-in hockey. Doctors say the father-of-two will never walk again. The popular Peninsula man receives an outpouring of support from his community and beyond.

May

• Residents from a Vine Street apartment building are evacuated by bus, following an early-morning fire. While many return home a week later, some would wait months.

• Members of British Columbians for Climate Action stage a protest at the BNSF line at the White Rock pier to protest the export of coal. The protest leads to arrests and fines for some. In May, it is revealed the protest cost the city $18,800.

• Despite a recommendation from city staff to reject a license for a hemp-themed retail store on White Rock’s waterfront, Hempyz is opened on Marine Drive.

• Surrey resident Ralph Rowe, 72, a former Anglican minister and scout leader who was once described as Canada’s most prolific sex offender, faces seven more charges relating to incidents in Ontario between 1973 and 1986.

• A number of gangsters were among the more than 70 mourners who attended the funeral for alleged crime boss Thomas Gisby in South Surrey. A “robust” police presence was also in the area of the funeral.

• Three people are charged with first-degree murder for the 2007 murder of Surrey mother Amanpreet Kaur Bahia, including her husband Baljinder Singh Bahia. A trial is slated for January 2014.

• A 48-year-old Surrey man dies following a 6½-hour standoff at a Kamloops home after a single mother is taken hostage. The woman is later released, shortly before a series of explosions goes off in the home, reducing it to rubble. The Surrey man is described as the woman’s estranged boyfriend.

• Canada’s Man in Motion, Rick Hansen visits White Rock on Day 270 of his 25th anniversary relay.

• One-time South Surrey jockey Mario Gutierrez is one win away from horse racing’s rare Triple Crown after winning Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes with horse I’ll Have Another. In June, Gutierrez’s epic run ends when I’ll Have Another develops tendonitis.

• Darwin Duane Dorozan tells the judge he broke into and stole from 11 South Surrey homes to feed what had become a $600-a-day heroin habit during his sentencing hearing. In June, Dorozan is sentenced to multiple concurrent and consecutive terms totaling eight years.

• B.C. retailers express concern over cross-border shopping, following the increase in duty-free limits for visits to the U.S.

June

• Details of a brutal stabbing at a White Rock house in May 2010 are presented in Surrey Provincial Court. Bradley Wade Charters says he was manipulated by his girlfriend into attacking her ex-husband with a knife. He is sentenced to seven years.

• A 24-year-old White Rock man is taken to hospital with serious injuries – including to his eyes – after a police raid rescued him from a home on Pacific Avenue.

• Volunteers of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Crescent Unit 5 receive a new name – and vessel – after Queen Elizabeth grants them the title of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue 5.

• 10,000 attend the Hands Across the Border parade at Peace Arch International Park – the best turnout in 10 years.

• Organizers of the Spirit of the Sea Festival announce they are seriously contemplating cancelling the Torchlight Parade. However, a briefer version of the parade returns to Marine Drive in August.

• Hundreds flock to White Rock after a juvenile humpback whale is found beached on the waterfront’s east side. There, the whale takes its last breath after becoming entangled in fishing line, described by one fisheries official as the “worst body condition animal I’ve ever seen.”

• Coun. Al Campbell files a notice of motion to install surveillance cameras to keep watch over White Rock’s pier and promenade. City staff are asked to investigate, while Coun. Helen Fathers calls the process “a total waste of time.” In December, city manager Dan Bottrill advises that cameras on the waterfront are not justified.

• A one-month jail term is handed down to Surrey’s Emmanuel Alviar for his role in last year’s Stanley Cup riot. It’s the first sentence for a Cup rioter with no prior criminal record.

• Longtime White Rock councillor Mary-Wade Anderson, 85, takes a break from council after a heart procedure. Anderson dies later in the month, mourned by colleagues, friends and family.

• An unnamed White Rock security company and a Surrey group home are on a hit list that includes schools, businesses and people across the Lower Mainland apparently targeted by murder suspect Angus David Mitchell. The list was discovered in Mitchell’s minivan after he was killed in a shootout in Maple Ridge.

• A 14-year-old girl is airlifted from Blackie Spit after being struck in the left leg by the spike of a skimboarding bungee device.

• TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Co. announce they will begin towing vehicles illegally parked at the South Surrey Park-and-Ride lot. Users argue the real problem is that there is not enough capacity.

• Business groups express support for naming an area at the foot of White Rock’s Ash Street walkway after late businessman Terry Parr.

• Student Anthony Hope, 15, urges Surrey School District to follow the lead of other districts in developing an anti-homophobia policy. The student was spurred into action following the suicide of a friend.

• Two public hearings and a land-use committee meeting are cancelled at White Rock city hall due to lack of quorum, when only three of seven council members attended.

• A serial bandit is suspected in a string of knifepoint holdups at Booster Juice stores in South Surrey and Langley. Clayton James Norris pleads guilty to eight counts and is sentenced to three years.

• Jim Lightbody, BC Lottery Corporation’s vice-president of Casino and Community Gaming, tells the Surrey Board of Trade a proposed South Surrey casino could be up and running by 2014, if council approves.

•  Residents of a White Rock neighbourhood, plagued by flooding for several years, express concerns that a townhouse project proposed for the area will only make the problem worse. The city tells residents it will demand proof that the problem has been mitigated as part of its requirements for a demolition permit.

• BC Conservative leader John Cummins calls for the resignation of Social Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux or a withdrawal of apparent pay raises to Community Living B.C. executives.

July

• Parents of students attending Peace Arch Elementary ask White Rock council for better enforcement of the area’s speed limit. Coun. Grant Meyer suggests implementing a city-wide speed limit of 40 km/h, while other councillors note that the worst offenders are often the parents themselves.

• Few attend a city-sponsored open house and community forum on arts, culture and the economy. Despite the lackluster attendance, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said the “ideas were… really good.”

Former Surrey border guard Baljinder Kandola, who waved a cocaine-laden SUV through the Pacific Highway crossing, is convicted of drug smuggling and accepting a bribe. He is later sentenced to 15 years in jail.

• The City of White Rock honours Pat Patton, Pat Petrala and Polly Tays as Outstanding Canadians on the Peninsula.

• A complex redrawing of electoral district boundaries results in a proposed new federal riding for Surrey. The change creates a Langley-Cloverdale riding that splits Cloverdale and Clayton off from existing South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, leaving a South Surrey-White Rock riding in the south.

• Residents who created a neighbourhood campaign against speeding on 8 Avenue, particularly near Hazelmere Golf and Tennis Club and Hall’s Prairie Elementary, say they are “more than happy” with initiatives to tackle the problem.

• Frustrated neighbours square off in White Rock after a fir tree is removed from city property on Royal Avenue, with some accusing others of foul play.

• Five of Team Japan’s national uniforms are stolen while the team vies for the 2012 Women’s International Division title at the Canadian Open.

• A South Surrey farmer says construction of a $41-million four-lane overpass at 152 Street and Colebrook Road has cut business by 90 per cent due to limited access.

• Surrey council gives preliminary approval to Platinum Enterprises to develop 223 homes on the back end of a forest of the heritage Bose Farm. Later, the plan is sent back to the drawing board after Surrey council asks for a plan that will save more than 300 trees.

• A 52-year-old White Rock woman suffers serious injuries after being clipped by a dump truck as she cycled along 16 Avenue. Peggy White, who was spotted and aided by Good Samaritan Randy Duncan, suffered fractures to her pelvis, sacrum, two vertebrae and two ribs. Police have yet to ID the driver.

• A meeting with BC Lottery Corporation seems to calm fears of Cloverdale business leaders that a proposed South Surrey casino would “cannibalize” their business.

• Opponents of a townhouse development proposed for two Roper Avenue lots express concern over extra height requested by the applicant, saying it will change the face of the White Rock neighbourhood forever.

• The City of White Rock OKs the removal of eight trees from Balsam Street after neighbourhood residents appealed to restore their views and have the boulevard cleaned up. The decision follows a motion by Coun. Larry Robinson to accept a solution, proposed by area residents, of putting $30,000 towards the project.

• Police launch an investigation after a woman’s body is discovered near the Nicomekl River by a passerby. The woman’s mother makes an appeal to anyone who may have seen her daughter before her death.

• The South Surrey Chamber of Commerce acknowledges that acting executive director Cliff Annable received a pay increase from his $1 nominal fee, but chamber president Gary Hollick says the remuneration “in no way” represents a full-time salary.

• South Surrey residents express concern after spotting emaciated coyote pups along 24 Avenue. Critter Care animal agency and provincial conservation officers had been trying to rescue the animals with sedative-laden treats.

• Five are sent to hospital after a brawl involving a busload of recent graduates breaks out at a Cloverdale gas station. Police say the incident was “fueled by a toxic mix of alcohol, testosterone and poor judgment.”

• South Surrey businesses are evacuated for hours after a natural gas line under 24 Avenue is severed by City of Surrey crews

• Hudson’s Bay Company announces the Zellers store in Semiahmoo Shopping Centre has been sold. An email to media outlets says that continuing to operate the remaining Zellers stores is “not viable” and that they would be closed by March 2013.

• Two major development projects in White Rock are sidelined indefinitely, after split votes prevent council from considering related development permits. The projects include a 20-unit complex on Finlay Street and a commercial/residential project eyed for Marine Drive.

August

• The 2012 Summer Olympics in London come to an end, and there’s much to celebrate on the Semiahmoo Peninsula: First, Christine Girard places third in the 63-kg division of women’s weightlifting; then Canada’s national women’s soccer team – featuring coach John Herdman and equipment manager Maeve Glass – captures bronze; and Richard Weinberger completes the trifecta in the final week, winning bronze in the men’s 10-km open-water swim.

• Volunteers from the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club and members of the City of Surrey’s Salmon Habitat Restoration Program add 88 tons of gravel to Fergus Creek to revitalize the salmon habitat.

• An IGA store planned to open in Central Plaza for this spring is postponed.

• Sunny Shih is crowned Miss White Rock.

• The Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary’s Superfluity Shop is briefly closed after a suspicious blaze breaks out amidst items donated after-hours. Repairs cost $100,000.

• A Facebook page about Canadian cross-border shoppers – dubbed “milk piranhas” – sparks an explosion of irate commentary from Americans and Canadians.

• Peninsula natives Jayson Dallas Wesley Smith and Lauren Sewell are remembered by friends and family after dying in a plane crash 30 kilometres west of Kelowna. Sewell, who became an organ donor, helps eight organ recipients posthumously.

• Friends and family mourn a popular 26-year-old Peninsula native who was killed while cliff-diving north of Pemberton. Ben Trompetter, a skilled free-climber, died after diving into Anderson Lake.

• In order to fix a traffic problem, 12 Douglas Firs are replaced on 128 Street with 40 Western Red Cedars.

• The Surrey-White Rock constituency association for the BC Conservative party is embroiled in turmoil after Dr. Allison Patton, the association’s president, resigns.

• The City of White Rock announces that work to paint the blue guardrails along the waterfront black cost the city up to $70,000.

• A White Rock RCMP officer is charged in connection with the 2011 hit-and-run death of pedestrian Marilyn Laursen. An investigation finds that Const. David Bickle’s “actions, and failure to follow the numerous federal and provincial guidelines regarding pursuit driving, contributed to the death of a pedestrian,” after a fleeing driver killed her.

• A White Rock family warns other parents about the dangers of pit bulls after their four-year-old daughter receives 30-40 stitches following an incident in which a dog “latched onto her neck and took a chunk.”

• Friends and family of a boy who was sexually assaulted by former reporter and Surrey resident Ron Bencze cheer when he is handed four years in a federal prison by a provincial court. Bencze appeals his jail sentence in October.

• Finance Minister Kevin Falcon (MLA  for Surrey- Cloverdale) resigns as finance minister and deputy premier.

September

• White Rock Mufflers announces it will be leaving its waterfront location after selling the property for a reported $4.5 million.

• Surrey becomes home of B.C.’s new police independent oversight office.

• Organizers say the White Rock Uptown Street Festival improved upon previous year’s success, thanks to merchant involvement.

• Hank Block’s campaign to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease brings in $174,000.

• Two Surrey children were hit by cars on their way to school by drivers who said they were blinded by sunlight.

• White Rock city manager Dan Botrill confirms a fenced space will be created on the west side of Centennial Park for an off-leash dog park. The park opens in October.

• Newton residents complain after a developer cuts down trees beyond the designated spot approved by the City of Surrey. In October, the city fines the developer more than $175,000.

• A cenotaph monument is unveiled at Royal Canadian Legion Crescent Branch 240 commemorating the sacrifice of Canadians who gave their lives while serving with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in embattled areas such as the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. The legion calls this the first monument of its kind.

•  A 29-year-old man suffers a broken wrist after jumping from a construction-truck bucket that had burst into flames.

• A health-care professional tells Peace Arch News that staff feel “abandoned” at Peace Arch Hospital, with many patients waiting as long as four days without treatment for serious injuries. The claims are criticized by Fraser Health, but the unnamed professional says the issue, following an article, is “being attended to seriously for the first time."

• A 14-year-old Korean exchange student dies a week after being struck by a car at 152 Street and 34 Avenue.

• In his State of the City speech, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin announces a proposal that would see developers pay more to build taller in the town centre.

• A 35-year-old man faces smuggling charges after 66 condoms filled with cocaine were “expelled” from a traveller who drew suspicion at Pacific Highway border.

• Ad Hoc Committee on Capital Funding for Surrey Schools, a Surrey education advocacy group, claims overcrowding at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary has had a negative impact on students’ family lives, employment and post-secondary success.

• White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin receives unanimous support from council to call on the province to help municipalities better deal with aggressive breeds of dogs.

• Preliminary work begins on the 16 Avenue on-ramp – one of two long-discussed highway interchanges in South Surrey. Despite preferring an exchange at 24 Avenue, business groups back the project.

• A planned end to free parking at the South Surrey TransLink park-and-ride lot and a proposed shift to a $2-a-day minimum fee sparks complaints from users.

• Surrey announces the launch of a new waste-collection program, prompting complaints from residents who are concerned about everything from the size of the new bins to the frequency of pick-up. The system is implemented in October, with the city predicting a few “bumps and grinds.”

• Nine vie for the position left vacant by longtime White Rock councillor Mary-Wade Anderson, including Bill Lawrence (who ultimately won Nov. 3 with 620 votes).

• MP Russ Hiebert votes in favour of a motion considered a first step toward a new law to restrict abortion. The MP says Motion 312 “doesn’t bring forward legislation, it proposes we study the issue.”

October

• A 32-year-old man with autism dies after going into medical distress while swimming at the South Surrey Indoor Pool. In December, Joseph Chung’s father, Peter, announces he will open a coffee shop which will employ adults with developmental disabilities, in honour of his son.

• Premier Christy Clark pledges to begin work to replace the George Massey tunnel and ease intense traffic congestion on Highway 99 in Metro Vancouver.

• White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin announces upcoming changes to waterfront parking, including a $175 off-season, non-resident waterfront parking decal program.

• Police issue a warning to not flaunt valuables following a string of brazen jewelry thefts from women in Newton. Despite the warning, three more women are attacked.

• White Rock street person Ryan Ashe is removed from a bus stop by police and paramedics. He is released weeks later and given what he describes as “a bunker under an old house” to live in.

• Cancer patients at the BC Cancer Agency’s Fraser Valley Centre appeal to the city to put an end to clouds of blue smoke caused by smokers who ignore rules.

• Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announces in White Rock that the Shiprider program – in which vessels jointly crewed by American and Canadian officials patrol the international boundary – is now permanent.

• Canadian border guard Lori Bowcock is shot in the neck and airlifted to hospital. The shooter, identified as U.S. resident Andrew Michael Crews, had shot and killed himself.

• Due to a shortage of anesthetists, Peace Arch Hospital is forced to divert expectant mothers to other hospitals.

• For the first time in 30 years, enrolment in Surrey schools drops, but not in the south.

November

• White Rock bans shark fin soup.

• Opponents of a proposed South Surrey casino outnumber supporters 20-to-one at a public forum at the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club. Later in the month, representatives of Semiahmoo First Nation weigh in on the debate, saying they have not been consulted on the casino plans.

• A 50-year-old man faces charges after a domestic dispute that ended with his 22-year-old son stabbed in the back.

• An early-morning crash kills Surrey RCMP officer Const. Adrian Oliver, after his unmarked police vehicle collides with a semi-trailer at 64 Avenue and 148 Street.

• A miscalculation by the City of White Rock will result in a Marine Drive development being two feet higher – but not taller – than expected.

• Two years after launching an appeal of her impaired and dangerous driving convictions in the death of four year-old Alexa Middelaer, Carol Berner is put into jail to begin serving her sentence, but she is given bail as she appeals her sentence.

• Earl Marriott Secondary teachers write to parents saying the school’s year-old split-schedule system has failed to fix crowding problems and puts students at risk.

• Climate change activists vow to fight plans to build a new coal export terminal on the Fraser River in Surrey.

December

• White Rock and Surrey business leaders join in a united front to support the Gateway casino/entertainment complex proposed for South Surrey. Later in the month, the casino suggests that 70 per cent of Surrey residents welcome the casino, clashing with opponents who cite city documents showing much lower support.

• Two injured bald eagles found in Crescent Park are released after being rehabilitated at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta.

• Gateway Casinos clarifies Surrey’s share of annual gaming revenues from its proposed South Surrey ‘entertainment centre’ will be closer to $3 million and not $6 million, as their literature suggests.

• Family members of one of two women injured by a hit-and-run driver in a South Surrey crosswalk appeal to the person responsible to come forward. After police release videos showing a white crossover vehicle striking the women, RCMP receive a tip that leads to the arrest of a suspect in connection with the incident.

• White Rock’s Arts Economic Task Force calls for the city to hire a full-time arts manager for $86,000, along with other recommendations to reposition the waterfront city as an arts destination.

• Neighbours of White Rock’s Keil Street works yard appeal for help dealing with rats, noise and odor coming from the facility.

• Tolls from the Port Mann Bridge steer some drivers south.

• A woman is recovering after being shot in front of her young son in Newton. The alleged shooter reportedly shot himself in his van at 24 Avenue and King George Boulevard shortly after the incident.

• White Rock council decides to remove a wood-burning stove from a Prospect Avenue home following numerous complaints from neighbours.

• Tourism White Rock takes over management of the visitors information centre on the waterfront from the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce.

 

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