Semi Weightlifting Club founder Dieter Stamm is looking for a new home for the club. After more than 40 years at Semiahmoo Secondary – and hosting events such as the Sea Fest Open (below) – Stamm was told earlier this month that the club's use of the school would end Oct. 16.

Semi Weightlifting Club founder Dieter Stamm is looking for a new home for the club. After more than 40 years at Semiahmoo Secondary – and hosting events such as the Sea Fest Open (below) – Stamm was told earlier this month that the club's use of the school would end Oct. 16.

South Surrey weightlifting club homeless after 40 years at Semi

Weightlifters given three days’ notice to vacate South Surrey high school

A weightlifting club that has been training out of Semiahmoo Secondary for more than four decades needs a new home.

Dieter Stamm, founder of Semi Weightlifting Club, said that the search for new quarters is the result of an Oct. 13 email from the Surrey School District – telling him that the club could no longer meet at the South Surrey high school, effective three days later.

“Saturday (Oct. 15) was our last official workout there,” Stamm told Peace Arch News.

Stamm said that prior to the notice – which he didn’t see until late in the day – he had “not the foggiest notion” that the club’s home was in jeopardy.

There was “no discussion with me, no consideration with me,” he said.

School district spokesman Doug Strachan would not elaborate on the decision.

“Out of respect for any third party, we wouldn’t share any explanation,” Strachan said last week.

“I could confirm that we no longer rent the Semiahmoo facility to that renter.”

Strachan noted that the district’s rental contracts include a clause that enables such contracts to be cancelled at any time.

Stamm described what transpired as “unfortunate circumstances.”

While brainstorming for a new location began right away, if a new home can’t be found, “the kids are on their own,” he said.

Stamm said the competitive club is open to anyone, and that – up until Oct. 15, at least – its athletes hailed from both within the school and outside; one even travelled from Mission to train. He added that he is one of only two people in B.C. qualified to certify national weightlifting coaches.

Stamm – who retired from teaching in 2001 but continues to work as a teacher-on-call – said he started the weightlifting club on Sept. 8, 1970, after being hired to teach chemistry at Semi. It launched with two athletes; there are now 49 members, he said.

“My youngest lifter ever touched his first barbell at age four,” Stamm told PAN, noting the oldest, a 68-year-old woman, became a world champion.

“That was so cool when that happened,” Stamm said.

He said three of the club’s athletes have gone on to compete internationally.

Sea Fest OpenAdditionally, the club has hosted numerous high-level weightlifting events at Semiahmoo Secondary, including the annual Sea Fest Open, which attracts competitors from across the province.

Stamm estimates he’s spent $35,000 on Olympic-grade equipment over the years. He was given until Friday (Oct. 28) to get it out of the school. That work began last week, and the last of the gear was to be removed Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with ideas for where to relocate the club – “we can’t pay big bucks,” Stamm said – is welcome to contact him at 604-535-3063 or semilift@shaw.ca

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

Just Posted

It remains to be seen how tourism dollars announced this week will help in White Rock. (Sterling Cunningham file photo)
White Rock officials question if tourism relief will come soon enough

For business, budget ‘feels more like a placeholder,’ says chamber head

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
South Surrey, White Rock MLAs call Tuesday’s provincial budget ‘disappointing’

MLAs Stephanie Cadieux and Trevor Halford say residents are getting less for more

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

(File photo)
Three young girls followed while walking home from school, Surrey police say

RCMP say suspect took off after girls went into nearby store for help

Black smoke rises above Highway 17 in Surrey on Thursday. (Fraser Valley Road Report Facebook)
Fire sends thick black smoke above Surrey industrial area

Firefighters say blaze burning just off of Tannery Road and Highway 17 in Surrey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

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

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read