COLUMN: Building on community

The sense of community in large cities like Surrey and Vancouver is sometimes difficult to fathom. While it exists in many ways, in organizations and neighbourhoods, a city-wide sense of community is usually absent. Certainly in Surrey, it’s been a long time since the vast majority of residents have been deeply committed or moved by any single event.

In White Rock, it still exists. The strong sense of community is one reason there has been a lot of attention paid to the takeover of the White Rock water utility by the city (for a yet-undisclosed figure) and more recent plans to add chloramine to the water supply. That has prompted a furious reaction that landed at city hall.

City council passed a motion unanimously to halt chloramination, but to some degree it will be out of their hands. Dr. Michelle Murti, medical health officer at Fraser Health Authority, said that total coliform counts over the summer indicated “we have a problem with the distribution system,” requiring secondary disinfection.

At least some of the wells also have high levels of arsenic and manganese. That means the water system does need improvements.

There will be much more discussion about the White Rock water utility in coming months, as more details about the disinfection plan and the sale price emerge. Also planned is the release of a report from Metro Vancouver outlining the projected costs of joining the region’s water system.

On the subject of community, there is Cloverdale.

Its significant sense of community was obvious at a memorial service for longtime businessman and community leader Allan Dann on Saturday. He died in December at the age of 91.

He lived an amazing life. Born in Surrey in 1924, he lived and worked in Cloverdale for most of his life. He took over his father Ernie’s radio and electrical business after returning from service in the Second World War, working for many years alongside his mother Doris.

When he closed his business in January 2013, his family had operated it for almost 92 years. It was the oldest continuously family-operated business in Surrey – by a long shot.

Dann’s grandson Ben, who lives in Houston, Texas and works on the international space station, noted his grandfather was a member of what Tom Brokaw labelled “the greatest generation.”

Cloverdale was a great place to grow up in the 1950s and ’60s. It was a small town, but it was a town made up of a lot of “greatest generation” people. They were determined to make something of their lives and raise their kids so they could experience even more opportunities

Many, like Dann, had experienced the Second World War firsthand and came back ready to make a better world. They started new businesses, strengthened existing ones, taught school, got involved in community organizations and turned Cloverdale into a thriving community.

Many business people, including Dann, were part of the local volunteer fire department. Longtime volunteer chief Alan Clegg noted on Saturday that one time, Dann was called to a fire. He took down the address from the dispatcher and realized it was his own house.

He, Clegg and George Coupland, longtime co-publisher and production man at The Surrey Leader, responded with two trucks and knocked down the blaze. Thankfully, Dann’s wife Brenda and their children were safely out of the house.

In a community like that, people take care of each other.

Frank Bucholtz writes weekly for The Leader.


Just Posted

Surrey’s new Age-Well hub receives $3.5M in government funding

Hub is meant to drive development of healthy tech solutions to support healthy aging: SFU

Surrey public event to explore transition from RCMP to city police force

Surrey Board of Trade continuing its ‘Hot Topic Dialogue Series’ with this issue, on Tuesday Jan. 29

Dancer gives props to Surrey school program for allowing him to leap to world stage

North Surrey grad Bynh Ho in ‘Loop, Lull’ show at Vancouver’s PuSh festival

KidSport’s Nite of Champions to honour championship Coastal FC squad

Annual South Surrey event will feature Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green as keynote speaker

Surrey RCMP investigating alleged ‘stranger assault’ in Tynehead area

Police say a 14-year-old girl was walking home from school at the time of the incident

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Most Read