South Surrey's Eric Dorchester

South Surrey's Eric Dorchester

White Rock strike impacts fundraiser

Relay for Life organizer says job action in White Rock means a pre-event fundraiser has had to be scaled back.

Impact of the ongoing job action at the City of White Rock is starting to spread beyond city services.

It has prompted organizers of the upcoming White Rock/South Surrey Relay for Life – the Canadian Cancer Society’s signature event – to make quick changes to the scope and location of a pre-event fundraiser.

Mary Copping“We had a panicked meeting… because it does impact us,” event co-chair Mary Copping told Peace Arch News Thursday.

“We’re going to need more help from people getting it going.”

The Relay for Life is an annual 12-hour event of the Canadian Cancer Society. It takes place locally at White Rock’s Centennial Park, and this year, is set for June 13.

Copping said she and fellow organizers held an emergency meeting May 13 after unionized city workers ramped up job action that resulted in the closure of city facilities including Centennial Arena – the same site they had booked for a garage sale for relay participants on May 24.

Rather than risk having to cancel the sale altogether, the group decided to shift its location to outside the society’s 15240 Thrift Ave. office.

The move means a much-reduced sale, Copping said, citing a drop to about 12 tables from the 40 that had been planned for the arena.

“We’re kind of limited by space now,” she said.

Even if talks going on today (May 15) between the City of White Rock and the union bring an end to the job action, the garage sale will remain at the smaller site, Copping said.

As for the relay itself, the group decided not to look for another venue. Copping does not expect that job action – if it continues until then – would extend to the park oval where the relay will be held. However, if it is not resolved, a stage that is typically provided by the city will not be available.

“It was a bit of a predicament for us… but we’ve decided that we’re all going to hang tough,” she said.

“This is nothing compared to cancer. We can deal with whatever we have to.”

Copping said 177 participants have signed up for relay so far; 22 teams in all.

It gets underway at 6 p.m. June 13 and wraps up 12 hours later. Information on participating or donating to the cause is available at

The May 24 garage sale is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Copping is optimistic there will be a good turnout. All proceeds benefit the relay teams’ fundraising efforts, which in turn benefit local CCS programs and services.

“Please come out and support us,” she said.