A scene from “Some People Have to Suffer,” a 1976 documentary movie that focuses on the sewage concerns of Bridgeview-area residents of Surrey. (Photo: National Film Board of Canada)

A scene from “Some People Have to Suffer,” a 1976 documentary movie that focuses on the sewage concerns of Bridgeview-area residents of Surrey. (Photo: National Film Board of Canada)

DOCUMENTARY

Film about filthy chapter of Surrey history now streaming on NFB.ca for free

Bill Vander Zalm and others in ‘Some People Have to Suffer,’ about Bridgeview’s sewage concerns

A documentary film about a filthy chapter in Surrey history is now available for all to see on the National Film Board of Canada’s website.

Made in 1976, Some People Have to Suffer was posted to nfb.ca on Friday (Feb. 12).

The 43-minute movie chronicles the mid-1970s efforts of Bridgeview-area residents to have a proper sewer system built in the area, because septic tanks kept overflowing into drainage ditches near their homes. Civic politicians balked, including then-mayor Bill Vander Zalm, in light of more industrial plans for the area, but the construction work eventually got done.

In Christopher Pinney’s film, Bridgeview residents demand answers from their councillors, with few results.

Notes a bio for the documentary: “When the film was shown at the Habitat conference in Vancouver, 1976, press coverage noted: ‘The Third World is merely twenty miles from the site of Habitat’” – in Surrey.

(Story continues below photo of Bill Vander Zalm as seen in Some People Have to Suffer).

homelessphoto

The situation is also chronicled in Jean Walton’s recent book, Mudflat Dreaming (New Star Books).

“Surreyites deserve to know that little piece of the city’s history, and it’s so colourful, that movie,” Walton, a former resident of the area, told the Now-Leader in 2018, when the book published.

“It was a very unsanitary situation.”

Some People Have to Suffer was produced by the National Film Board as part of a Challenge for Change program to bring political concerns to light.

• RELATED STORY, from 2018: Dirty chapter of Surrey history detailed in book about Bridgeview’s sewage woes in ’70s.

Until now, the documentary could be purchased as a DVD from the NFB or, upon request, viewed on a computer at Surrey Archives in Cloverdale.

Work to digitize the film for public viewing on the website was done by Albert Ohayon, the film board’s curator of digital collections.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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

film

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

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

TEASER
WATCH: Surrey-made anti-bullying video urges youth to #BlockEmDontShareEm

“Break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend’

File photo by Tom Zytaruk
Surrey 2021 tree sale begins Friday

City of Surrey says it’s selling quality trees for $20 each

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read