Peace Arch News' front pages of 2016.

A look back at 2016 through the pages of Peace Arch News

A sampling of the stories that Peace Arch News has reported over the past year.

  • Dec. 30, 2016 1:00 p.m.



Peace Arch News delivered news to your door 104 times in 2016, and in real time at www.peacearchnews.com

Here is a sampling of the stories that we’ve reported over the past year:

January

• More than 650 hardy souls brave the chilly waters off of White Rock beach for the annual Polar Bear Swim.

• A stolen U-Haul truck containing virtually all of the possessions of a father and daughter who stopped in South Surrey en route to Victoria from Calgary is recovered in Abbotsford.

• A B.C. Supreme Court judge orders the release of transcripts from in-camera court proceedings from the trial of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, the Surrey couple accused of plotting to bomb the B.C. legislature.

• A 46-year-old Surrey man faces charges of impaired driving after a car is driven into a restricted area at the Pacific Highway border crossing. According to police, the vehicle struck a Canadian Border Services Agency vehicle while attempting to flee north into Canada in a southbound lane.

The mother of Hudson Brooks – the young man shot to death by police in South Surrey on July 18, 2015 – shares her frustration around the lack of answers as to what happened the night her son was killed.

• Surrey soccer coach Kuldip ‘Kelly’ Singh Mahal, arrested in Washington in early 2015 and accused of pursuing sex with a 12-year-old girl, pleads guilty to the crime.

• White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin disputes a comment by Fraser Health’s medical health officer Dr. Michelle Murti that the city’s water system is “an aging infrastructure.”

• Surrey homes dominate the top-100 list of the priciest in the region, according to B.C. Assessment data.

• The City of Surrey gives unanimous endorsement to the ‘Right to a Healthy Environment,’ a document in line with the Blue Dot movement led by the David Suzuki Foundation.

• Friends of the Families – a group of Peninsula volunteers who have quietly helped struggling families for seven years – retire from the task.

• White Rock residents call on the city to rethink plans to disinfect the water with chloramine, a decision that was announced the month before. Concerns cited included environmental, negative health effects and potential hazards to infrastructure. Days later – and just hours after citizens rallied in front of city hall – council voted to abandon the plan in favour of chlorination.

• A 50-year-old family-owned South Surrey business, the Riverside Golf Centre, holds a two-day farewell event for customers, after being forced out of business by civic expropriation.

• White Rock-born graduate student Tess Espey – among students and activists forced out of the Western Sahara by Moroccan authorities this month – says Canada should be concerned about the alleged exploitation of the west-African disputed territory’s natural resources by Morocco.

• Angst builds over proposed “downzoning” of a neighbourhood in Ocean Park near Kwomais Point. Opponents say changes that would reduce allowed square footage and height will impact property values, be unfair to residents who want to sell or rebuild, as well as restrict potential builders.

• City of White Rock staff say freedom-of-information requests have more than doubled since 2013 – to 102 in 2015 from 43 two years prior – with nearly one quarter of the requests submitted by four individuals. At the same time, those asking for information say their questions aren’t getting answered.

• Opponents of a truck park proposed for 77 acres at 16 Avenue and 194 Street meet with proponents to discuss concerns.

• White Rock council proposes bylaw and correspondence-policy changes to address “abusive” and “disrespectful” behaviour from residents towards city officials.

• South Surrey mother Lisa Deanne Batstone – charged with killing her eight-year-old daughter, Teagan, in December 2014 – waives her right to a preliminary hearing and requests trial by judge alone.

• Charges including arson are recommended against three men following a suspicious early-morning fire at Crescent Park Market. The majority of the damage was confined to the corner store’s exterior.

• Surrey residents brace for a possible 3.9 per cent increase in property taxes as council grapples with how to balance its budgets.

• A request by the City of White Rock to Fraser Health for an extension to its June 30, 2016 deadline to implement secondary disinfection of the water supply is rejected.

February

A Metro Vancouver report outlines costs associated with White Rock joining the Greater Vancouver Water District – $27 million over 10 years. The option, says Mayor Wayne Baldwin, is not “off the table.”

• A pre-trial conference is set for March in the case of Jeffrey Caillé – charged with second-degree murder, one count of assault causing bodily harm and two counts of assault in connection with the August 2014 death of White Rock resident Bruce Ridout.

• South Surrey restaurateur Alistair Veen – co-owner of Tap Restaurant – is named B.C. Sommelier of the Year.

• South Surrey’s Brandon Durieux, diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, heads to Texas for specialized treatment, after news that doctors here could do nothing more for him.

• White Rock senior Enid Verbon shares her concerns regarding the potential impact of proposed Oxford highrises on a planned vegetable greenhouse for Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care.

• B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie dispels the “silver tsunami” myth – and other seniors-related falsities – during an event at the White Rock Community Centre.

• The City of White Rock announces plans to begin secondary treatment of the water supply with chlorine, advising residents that they “may notice differences in the taste and appearance” of their water.

• South Surrey-White Rock Conservative MP Dianne Watts said she has “no knowledge of what the Senate is planning on doing” about the potential repeal of controversial labour bills C-377 and C-525, but reiterates neither bill is “anti-union.”

• White Rock residents and business owners meet at a city-organized workshop to discuss revitalization of Johnston Road.

Surrey SPCA officers seize 82 “distressed” animals – 67 cats, 12 dogs and three puppies – from a Colebrook Road property. One cat and one kitten had to be euthanized.

• Peninsula police advise residents to be wary of those who prey on the human need for companionship, after a White Rock woman is scammed out of “a couple hundred thousand dollars.”

• The Relay for Life – an annual overnight fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society – is cancelled in White Rock, in favour of the Daffodil Dash, a race planned for the waterfront in April.

• Proponents behind an eight-storey condo development proposed for North Bluff and Nichol Road in White Rock receive little support for the scaled-back application – which first came to the city last year as a 15-storey tower.

• South Surrey and White Rock faith groups step up to sponsor Syrian refugee families.

• The City of Surrey gives early endorsement to a five-year financial plan that will boost taxes by almost $90.

• Fraser Health plans to close 80 hospital beds across the region as it simultaneously opens up hundreds of new residential-care beds at four locations, including White Rock’s Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care.

• White Rock Coun. Lynne Sinclair says high levels of arsenic and manganese in the city’s water supply would not have been addressed had the city not taken ownership and operation of the utility last fall.

• The Al-Gburi family – refugees from Syria, including six children – settles into a rental home in White Rock’s east end, following months of preparations by their sponsors, Gracepoint Community Church.

• A hypothermic man is rescued from the breakwater off of White Rock pier after a faint call for help is heard. The 35-year-old Surrey resident was found huddled between large rocks on the breakwater. He told rescuers he had fallen from the pier.

• A member of White Rock’s environmental advisory committee is critical of the city’s lack of a replanting plan for its waterfront hillside.

• Seven months after the shooting death of her son outside the South Surrey RCMP office, Jennifer Brooks says it’s time to put pressure on local politicians.

• South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts wins a call for a federal study of the safety of the BNSF line through White Rock and South Surrey – but acknowledges relocation of the contentious waterfront route is on a back burner for now.

• A pair of at-large donkeys brought animal-control and bylaw officers to the 2800-block of 169 Street in South Surrey. Bylaw officials confirm the property associated to the animals has been repeatedly visited in recent months. The latest incident results in a $200 impound fee and an order to adjust fencing.

• The City of White Rock budgets $60 million over four years for general asset improvement projects, including a million-dollar Spirit Square at Memorial Park.

• An “unprecedented” number of permit applications in White Rock slows approval time. City officials point to staff shortages as contributing to the “unacceptable” delays.

• A woman suffers minor injuries after a deck collapse at a South Surrey RV park sends her tumbling down a ravine in the 1200-block of King George Boulevard. Emergency crews had to effect a low-angle rescue to pull her out.

March

White Rock council passes amendments to a bylaw aimed at curbing “abusive” and “disrespectful” behaviour from residents.

• Small Ritual Coffee Society – which gained local and national media attention in 2015 with an essay contest offering its White Rock coffee shop as the prize – vacates its Johnston Road premises. Winner Dan Whillans plans to open shop in Fernie.

• The City of Blaine explores the concept of a passenger rail stop, with help from Western Washington economics students who complied an online survey to help determine potential ridership north and south of the border.

• Cloverdale-Langley City Liberal MP John Aldag hosts a physician-assisted-dying forum in Ocean Park to address questions about 21 recommendations submitted by the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying around legislation mandated by the Supreme Court.

• Members of Self Advocates of Semiahmoo head to Victoria to add their voices to a protest sparked by a decision to charge people with disabilities $52 per month for transit passes.

• Two people and a dog escape their upstairs suite unharmed after an early-morning fire breaks out in the 2300-block of King George Boulevard, destroying DJ Auto Market and Super Suds Car Wash. The blaze was deemed suspicious.

• A pilot program allowing backyard chickens in Surrey is complete and expected to soon become an allowable use at residential homes.

• White Rock Coun. Helen Fathers’ motion to create a water-services community advisory panel is voted down by fellow council members, who questioned the value of forming such a committee.

• Eight months after the City of White Rock discontinues garbage collection for multifamily buildings, council votes to amend its garbage bylaw to ensure property owners are providing solid-waste collection services.

• An inaugural run/walk to mark International Women’s Day raises $3,000 for Soroptimist International of White Rock’s ReStart initiative.

• A fire in South Surrey destroys a two-storey house in the 14900-block of 40 Avenue, causing damage so extensive that the source of the blaze could not be determined.

• A South Surrey man’s challenge of a Surrey park bylaw that prohibits being in a park after dark. Christopher Lewis, who was fined $200 for being in Bakerview Park after nightfall, had argued the bylaw contravened his Section 7 Constitutional “right to life, liberty and security.”

• Legally blind South Surrey resident Shoshana Litvack pledges to run at least five kilometres a day for an entire year to raise money for the BC Lung Association.

• An internal email released through a Freedom of Information request reveals that City of White Rock staff have been looking into estimated costs of leasing the Marine Drive hillside for a parking lot.

Family members of Ben Trompetter, the South Surrey man who died in August 2012 while cliff jumping northeast of Pemberton, share their experiences by building a school in Ben’s name in a remote village in Thailand.

• A powerful windstorm batters White Rock’s waterfront, causing “significant damage” to East and West Beach. The storm, with winds up to 90 km/h, knocked out power to thousands of Semiahmoo Peninsula residents.

• South Surrey’s $55-million Grandview Aquatic Centre – with a 10-lane pool, universal change rooms and a 9,000-square-foot fitness area – opens to the public, at 16855 24 Ave.

A Missouri man wanted on child-pornography charges is stopped at the Peace Arch border and turned over to U.S. authorities.

• One man shows up at a hospital with gunshot wounds following reports of gunplay between two cars in the 14200-block of 64 Avenue.

• Ebco Metal Finishing LP, a South Surrey galvanizing plant at the centre of concern for a rural South Surrey neighbourhood, receives short-term permission to discharge air contaminants.

• Surrey resident Sebastian Gomez Obando is identified as a man killed in a workplace incident at a construction site in Garrison. An online fundraising drive to help the 24-year-old’s family aims to raise $50,000.

Officials with Alexandra Neighbourhood House appeal for the public’s help to put a stop to culprits who have been pilfering gas from vans parked at the Kensington Prairie Community Centre.

• White Rock council votes to approve a $13-million arsenic and manganese treatment project, as city staff issue a request for proposals to determine the method of water treatment to be used.

Surrey-Green Timbers NDP MLA Sue Hammell speaks out on behalf of the family of Hudson Brooks – the South Surrey man shot and killed by police outside the 1815 152 St. RCMP detachment – describing their wait for answers as “much too long.” Justice critic Mike Farnworth, NDP MLA for Port Coquitlam, pledges to raise questions in the legislature regarding the wait for answers.

• A White Rock man calls on the city to re-examine its residential street-parking policies after learning that, as a condominium resident, he was ineligible for a resident-parking permit.

• The City of White Rock commissions Tourism Surrey to run the city’s tourism services, at a cost of $120,000 for the year.

• Semiahmoo First Nation members say despite a statement from their leaders regarding efforts to “build a strong future for our Nation and our people,” they are “still in the dark” regarding what those efforts are and the band’s finances.

April

The Independent Investigations Office – B.C.’s police watchdogs – are called to investigate after Patricia Anne Wilson, 58, dies while in custody at the White Rock RCMP detachment. The woman had been arrested on an outstanding warrant three days prior and – four hours after a visit from paramedics for an undisclosed reason – was found unresponsive on the cell floor.

• White Rock residents complain that they are getting little to no response from city staff with regard to freedom-of-information requests – some dating back more than a year. According to staff, the city received 102 requests in 2015 and is “overwhelmed” after receiving 21 through the first three months of 2016.

• Surrey RCMP confirm 31 incidents of shots fired in the city – more than double the number previously released to the public. “We don’t want to create fear when there is no need to,” says RCMP Supt. Shawn Gill.

• Earl Marriott Secondary student Jordan Tsuruda, 18, is killed in an ATV accident in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. He is remembered by his siblings for having “the biggest heart” and for his love of the outdoors.

• Upset with the number of shootings in the city, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner tells Black Press she is “furious that a group of young punks can hold a city hostage… it makes me so angry I can’t speak.” Then, addressing the shooters directly, she tells them to “get the hell out of my city.”

• White Rock Coun. Bill Lawrence speaks out about a racially charged attack against him that he said left him “absolutely shocked.” Lawrence said he was physically attacked by two men – who also yelled racial slurs – outside Sandpiper Pub. Two suspects are later arrested.

• Relocating train tracks from the White Rock and South Surrey waterfront “could cost billions” according to BNSF, who appear before a committee in Ottawa.

• A made-in-Surrey funding solution to fix the school district’s overcrowded-school problem isn’t in the cards, B.C. Premier Christy Clark says on a visit to Surrey, but admits there is room for improvement.

• A development that calls for three 25-storey towers in White Rock’s town centre is unveiled to the city’s economic investment committee. Landmark Properties’ Patrick Kutak says the company would like to start construction of the project – slated for a 2.5-acre vacant block of Martin Street – in a year’s time.

May

Rosemary Heights residents raise concerns that a prime piece of local real estate – a former church retreat property at 3690 152 St. – is being eyed for development, the added density from which would impact neighbourhood traffic and already overcrowded schools.

• White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin attributes the city’s growing number of in-camera meetings – which had risen steadily since he was elected in 2011 – to the province enforcing municipal rules. He says the in-camera meetings – 23 of them in 2015 and seven through the first four months of 2016 – are a move away from more informal “shirt-sleeve sessions.”

• Two people are arrested after heavily-armed police – members of the province’s anti-gang unit – surround a White Rock home. A 46-year-old man and 31-year-old woman are arrested after police find substances and paraphernalia “consistent with what is believed to be an illegal synthetic drug lab.”

• After 23 years, it is announced that the Peninsula Community Foundation’s annual Vintage Affair fundraiser will be no more.

• White Rock councillors give a thumbs-down to Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s attempt to institute a new code of ethics and conduct during a governance and legislation committee meeting, saying such rules are already covered by the oath of office.

• Former Mountie Tim Shields, who for years served as RCMP spokesperson for Surrey, is charged with sexual assault in relation to his time in charge of a communications unit at the RCMP’s E Division headquarters.

• Nearly 100 residents of White Rock’s Five Corners neighbourhood are left homeless after a massive fire tears through a four-storey condo building during the early morning of May 15. The fire – which investigators later determine was intentionally set – began at an adjacent under-construction condo site, before spreading. The building is severely damaged, and fire crews – including some from Surrey – work for hours to get the blaze under control. A boil-water advisory is also put in place in White Rock, after the city’s water reserves are depleted in order to fight the fire.

• White Rock city officials call the Five Corners fire “unprecedented” while adding that the three-day boil-water advisory is no cause for concern, nor an indication that the city does not have infrastructure in place to handle such a large-scale event, with Mayor Wayne Baldwin saying the city has “way more” than the water capacity required under engineering standards.

Students and staff at Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary celebrate the school’s first-ever Pride Week with the opening of a gender-neutral washroom.

In an email not meant for public consumption, Surrey Coun. Barbara Steele takes direct aim at the province for a lack of leadership with regard to school funding. The email – inadvertently sent to a resident rather than forwarded to someone else – is supplied to Black Press by the recipient with “NO LEADERSHIP” written in all-caps.

• As part of an education-funding pledge, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announces that a new 1,500-seat high school will be built in Grandview Heights, with an opening date of 2020.

• A small group of Semiahmoo Peninsula residents wonder why their emails sent to White Rock city staff and elected officials are not being received. Word of the blockage comes as a surprise to city council members and staff, and Mayor Wayne Baldwin tells Peace Arch News by email that he understands that the problem has been resolved. Two days later, he says he made a request that the senders in question only be blocked from his own email account, not the city’s entire server.

June

The BC Lottery Corp. announces it will once again test the appetite of local governments for new casinos South of the Fraser and on the North Shore, inviting Surrey, Delta and the Tsawwassen First Nation to submit expressions of interest if they’re willing to consider a new casino or gaming centre.

• A man’s body is found near the railway track along White Rock’s waterfront, and while a police release says “trauma to the body is consistent with this individual being struck by a train” the BC Coroners Service doesn’t confirm the cause of death, instead exercising “caution” while the investigation continues.

• Earl Marriott Secondary teacher and mother of four Nicola Baker dies suddenly, and is remembered as “a brilliant teacher, a brilliant person; a leader in her family and a leader at the school.”

• As an alternative to relocating the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway on the Semiahmoo Peninsula waterfront – a move that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, at least – a House of Commons standing committee report recommends building an underpass in Crescent Beach, which the report states would cost $35 million.

• Some residents displaced by the May 15 Five Corners fire are critical of the City of White Rock’s response to the disaster and the communication – or lack thereof – that has resulted since between city officials and displaced residents in need of help.

• Two residents appear before council to request a formal incident investigation into the Five Corners fire – not to find fault, but to “assure White Rock residents of their city’s emergency preparedness.”

• White Rock council decides to widen a section of sidewalk in East Beach – between Ash and Balsam streets – where unauthorized expansion of business patios has impeded traffic and safety. The measure will cost $55,000 and will result in the elimination of 10 pay-parking spaces.

• Six elementary schools in Surrey are found to have up to 8.5 times the allowable amount of lead in their drinking water, according to Health Canada standards. The highest levels are found in a fountain in the basement of Crescent Park Elementary.

• A ‘peeping Tom’ is banned from all City of Surrey facilities after a woman reported that she was filmed while showering in the universal changing room at the new Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre. The woman’s complaint prompts a review of “everything,” according to city staff. RCMP also investigate, though no charges are filed.

• A pair of teens escape with mild hypothermia and cuts after spending three hours stranded in Semiahmoo Bay. The pair – 14 and 15 years old – had apparently walked out to the Canada-U.S. boundary marker at low tide, then were trapped by the incoming tide.

July

A woman is taken to hospital with minor injuries after a balcony in the 15300-block of Marine Drive in White Rock collapsed during Canada Day fireworks celebrations.

• Baldev Singh Kalsi, former high-ranking member of Surrey’s Sikh community, is ordered to stand trial in connection with the 2014 death of his wife. Kalsi – former president of the Gurdwara Sahib Brookside temple – was arrested in South Surrey after police found his wife in medical distress.

• A man in his 30s is arrested attempting to exit an underground parking garage in South Surrey. He was wanted by Ridge Meadows RCMP on charges including kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault with a weapon.

• A campaign attempts to “turn around” a plan to sell the Star of the Sea Parish site at Five Corners – along with the Holy Cross Church site in Crescent Beach – which opponents say threatens White Rock’s longtime Catholic presence.

• BC Ambulance Service response to the early-morning South Surrey attack that killed teen Dario Bartoli in 2014 is called into question, after media released a letter from Surrey fire Chief Len Garis citing “serious concerns” about response time.

• A first City of Surrey review of privacy issues in changing rooms and showers at the new Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre in South Surrey – prompted by a June incident in which a woman was recorded on a cellphone while in a shower stall – concludes no action is necessary.

• A candlelight vigil outside South Surrey RCMP detachment marks a year without answers for the family and friends of Hudson Brooks, 20, shot at the site during a confrontation with police.

• Firefighters credit quick-thinking residents who turned garden hoses on a fire at a two-storey townhouse complex on Thrift Avenue for lessening the impact of the July 17 incident, confined to two units.

• Residents express concern about rising arsenic and mangenese levels in White Rock water, while city officials say distribution practices mitigate high concentrations at some wells, noting that new arsenic and manganese treatment plants are on the way by 2019.

• White Rock residents complain about the noise impact of beachfront helicopter tours offered by a company using a Semiahmoo First Nation field as a landing pad.

• One person faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault following a July 27 incident between family members at a 24 Avenue home in South Surrey.

August

White Rock councillors are deluged with emails from residents upset about impending removal of dedication plaques when waterfront benches and light poles are to be replaced.

• A 25 year-old man dies in a fight with a cellmate at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre. The victim and his 22-year-old assailant were unknown to each other and awaiting court appearances on separate matters at the 57 Avenue centre.

• A South Surrey woman fights to reunite her elderly grandparents, who – after 62 years of marriage – are living in separate care homes. After a Facebook post by granddaughter Ashley Bartyik goes viral, Fraser Health officials are able to reunite the couple the following month.

• Landmark Premiere Properties, new owner of some of the property at White Rock’s Central Plaza, says it plans a highrise residential and commercial project at the site “in the years ahead,” similar to its 25-storey three-tower proposal for the 1500-block of Martin Street.

• Jennifer Brooks, mother of Hudson Brooks, receives more information on the circumstances of her son’s death from the Independent Investigations Office, indicating the 20-year-old man was unarmed when shot by an RCMP officer outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment offices in July 2015.

• South Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg says he and other officials are seeking joint funding from Ottawa into a feasibility study for rail relocation on the Peninsula.

Sandpiper Pub owners Coun. Bill Lawrence and Judy Baker announce that the Marine Drive establishment, a fixture on the waterfront since 1981, will cease operation on Sept. 15, following sale of the property.

• Police look for witnesses after the death of a 23-year-old woman struck by a tractor-trailer on Highway 99 in South Surrey. It was later learned she had been released from Peace Arch Hospital hours earlier.

• Investigation by White Rock bylaw officers into a pit bull attack on an elderly resident and her small dog continues, while residents remain alarmed that no further details on the incident – including the location – had been made public by the city.

• Surrey RCMP investigate the cutting down of two power poles on separate properties near 16 Avenue and 168 Street in South Surrey. BC Hydro say thieves who chainsawed the poles to strip transformers of their copper could have caused death.

September

Most residents of the Seacrest Motel & RV Park in South Surrey are given one month to clear out of the South Surrey site to make way for a proposed 22-lot subdivision. Mayor Linda Hepner later tells residents to “sit tight” and wait for a Residential Tenancy Branch ruling.

• The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office files a claim in B.C. Supreme Court to seize a house on Parker Street in White Rock that police say was used as a drug lab for almost a year before they raided it on May 3.

• The family of South Surrey’s Danika Koltai, 20, who died after ingesting an “accidental but deadly concoction of prescription and non-prescription” drugs, shares her story through social media in the hopes of preventing similar deaths.

• Semiahmoo First Nation say the City of White Rock gave them 18 months to secure a new water supply as of Aug. 29. Mayor Wayne Baldwin later says SFN’s claim of a city ultimatum was “exaggerated.”

• Two South Surrey BC Liberal MLAs announce they are moving ridings for the 2017 spring election. Surrey-Panorama MLA Marvin Hunt plans to run in newly drawn Surrey-Cloverdale, while Stephanie Cadieux (Surrey-Cloverdale) eyes the new Surrey South riding.

• Brody Robert Paterson, accused in the shooting death of 28-year-old Craig Widdifield in South Surrey in 2013, enters a not-guilty plea to the charge of first-degree murder and chooses to be tried by judge alone in a B.C. Supreme Court appearance.

• A South Surrey man and woman are in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following a Sept. 25 shooting incident at their home in a rural section of the 4200-block 152 Street. Police say both were the intended victims of the shooting.

• It takes 3½ hours for paramedics to get to the scene of a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of 160 Street and King George Boulevard. Officials with BC Emergency Health Services apologize for the delay.

October

The key witness in the brazen shooting of South Surrey father Craig Widdifield testifies he “had direct line of sight” to the killing. “I saw a person with their right arm extended to another person, heard or saw the two or three shots, the person stepping into the vehicle fell backwards.”

• Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg announces he won’t be running for a sixth term in next spring’s provincial election.

• Proponents behind plans for a truck park on 77 acres abutting the Little Campbell River withdraw their application.

• A sign announces a proposal  for three 18-storey residential highrises and an eight-storey commercial building northwest of The Shops at Morgan Crossing.

WorkSafeBC investigates the sudden death of a man on acreage in South Surrey. Police say the 51-year-old – identified as Ken Nootebos of Mary’s Garden – died as a result of injuries suffered while working on farm equipment.

• Two people escape without injury when the ultralight aircraft they were travelling in crash-lands into the waters off of Crescent Beach. Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann says the pilot – a 47-year-old Surrey resident – simply told police the engine quit.

• A 16-year-old boy dies after being struck by a tree near Clayton Heights Secondary during the first in a series of anticipated windstorms.

• The City of Surrey says it has the capacity to serve Semiahmoo First Nation’s existing water needs. But expanding that connection to serve future growth on the reserve would be “a whole other exercise.”

• Block Watch captains in Grandview Heights say they are frustrated by a lack of communication from police and what they describe as “one-way flow” of information around crimes in their neighbourhood.

• A Peace Arch News special report focuses on restaurateurs’ struggle on Marine Drive. At least 13 restaurants have closed on Marine Drive since 2007; 11 within the last four years. Owners cite parking, seasonality, industry woes and a lack of promotion as the ongoing problems.

• Jennifer Brooks receives long-awaited news – that charges are being considered in the 2015 police shooting death of her son, Hudson Brooks, 20. “This is a huge step. This is a relief,” she says, following an announcement by the Independent Investigations Office that a report will be filed to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.

• A weightlifting club that has been training out of Semiahmoo Secondary for more than four decades suddenly is in need of a new home. Founder Dieter Stamm says he received an email from the Surrey School District that the club could no longer meet at the Surrey high school. “The kids are on their own,” he says.

• The City of White Rock is forced to contemplate celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday – and White Rock’s 60th as a city – away from the waterfront next year. Council authorizes a contingency plan for 2017 celebrations in case the planned Memorial Park upgrade is not completed in time.

November

White Rock officials agree with the notion that the exact cause of discoloured tap water some residents are receiving is one of the greatest mysteries in the city.

• Nine people – five men and four teenage boys – are arrested in connection with shots fired outside the Pacific Inn. Police responded to reports of gunfire in the parking lot – shared with a retirement home – around 3:10 a.m. Shell casings were located, and one person was treated for injuries from broken glass.

• White Rock Christian Academy student Kristianna Barton is honoured for an act of bravery that saved a man’s life three years earlier in Ontario. Barton dove into Gull Lake, near Belleville, to rescue an 84-year-old who had hit his head on the dock and fallen in.

• More than a year after it sparked controversy, Mayor Wayne Baldwin is adamant that the city is “required by provincial law” to plan housing according to population projections in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy. A legal opinion provided to the city in 2015 – and released publicly a year later – is cited by Baldwin as supporting his stance, originally expressed in a letter to the editor.

• A family of three, including a toddler, are taken to hospital with minor injuries after being struck by a car as they crossed 160 Street. The mother, father and three-year-old boy attempted to cross the road in the 2700-block, in front of Southridge School.

• Two overdose deaths occur in White Rock in less than 24 hours. Police confirm one is connected to the deadly narcotic fentanyl. In the wake of the deaths, officials meet to explore how they can help get the message out to residents about the deadly narcotic.

• Members of the Peninsula Homeless to Housing task force call for a permanent shelter.

• RCMP investigate following the discovery of a body in a water-filled ditch near the 3600-block of Pacific Highway. Police say the body appeared to have been in the water “for some time.”

December

Surrey residents are expected to dig deeper when taxes are due next year, as the city considers hikes totalling $123 for the average home.

• White Rock council approves one of two contentious development proposals for the Everall neighbourhood, but gives a thumbs-down to the other. The Elegant highrise residential project on Oxford Street – which will ultimately include two towers, one 24 storeys and the other 21 storeys – was given the green light. A 12-storey tower proposal on Thrift Avenue was shot down.

• A South Surrey family marks the four-year anniversary of the date their son killed himself. The tragedy happened four days after the distressed man, unbeknownst to his family, sought help at Peace Arch Hospital’s emergency department. Citing the August death of a woman on Highway 99, the man’s sister questions if Fraser Health officials implemented promised changes at emergency departments across the region.

• The husband of a Peninsula overdose victim speaks to the incident that claimed his wife’s life. Last summer, the woman – described as a gainfully employed, well-liked mother – took what she believed was cocaine. The substance was later determined to be laced with fentanyl.

• A record number of homeless – averaging 11 people per night – use the White Rock extreme-weather shelter. The facility opens on a judgment call from Options BC. Temperature, high winds and precipitation are all factors.

• Jeffrey Caillé, the man charged with killing White Rock resident Bruce Ridout more than two years ago, is set for sentencing in B.C. Supreme Court in March.

• A homeless man is in hospital recovering from serious burns after his clothes caught fire when he was near an outdoor stove.

• BC Assessment sends approximately 4,200 courtesy letters to South Surrey and White Rock property owners warning of substantial increases. More than two dozen residents contacted Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg’s office to question the accuracy of the latest property-value assessment, which was done before the implementation of a 15 per cent foreign-buyers tax.

• After two decades under the same leader, the Semiahmoo First Nation has chosen a new chief. Chilliwack resident Harley Chappell was elected to the role in the band’s biennial election.

 

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