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

Just Posted

Surrey moves to ban sleeping overnight in RVs, motorhomes on city streets

Proposal comes amid complaints about homeless people living in recreational vehicles

Students, volunteers plant 300 trees in White Rock park

City partnership to ‘mimic the natural growth’ of Ruth Johnson Park

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

Surrey restaurant owner who pointed handgun at staff loses court appeal

Jawahar Singh Padda tried to get his 30-month sentenced reduced

South Surrey man allows smart meter installation ‘under duress’

BC Hydro says devices emit fraction of radio frequency from a cellphone

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Kamloops Blazers blank Vancouver Giants

A loss on the road for G-men

Man found dead inside Richmond business, IHIT investigating

Police believe the incident was not random

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read