Team Tardi takes curling gold at world junior championship in Aberdeen, Scotland

2018: A Look Back

Month-by-month, some of the top stories of the year in the Langleys

New councils were elected, marijuana became legal, and a wayward water buffalo visited a school. Those were just some of the stories featured in the Times during 2018.

JANUARY

MENTALLY ILL IN LANGLEY CITY SENORS RESIDENCE

A Langley City housing complex that was originally built to accommodate seniors and people with disabilities has become home to some mentally ill people and recovering addicts who act out and frighten the other residents, a meeting of the Langley Seniors Community Action Table (LSCAT) was told.

“Very young, hard-to-house young males, who are severely mentally ill” is how one resident, who asked not to be named, described the situation involving mental health and addictions patients whose rent is paid by health authorities.

Police often have to be called to deal with unruly visited, but because case workers get involved, the tenants don’t get evicted, the renter said.

“A lot of our seniors have moved out.”

Another resident, who also asked for anonymity, said the housing complex is being used to provide homes to people that other landlords have refused.

WATER BUFFALO VISITS SCHOOL

A water buffalo escaped from a Langley farm and went on a field trip.

The ungulate checked out a neighbouring field, before roaming the parking lots of a nearby church, and the Langley Christian elementary, middle and high schools.

The escapade was ‘chaperoned’ by the animal’s owner, Brad Bennik, who was able to laugh about the unauthorized adventure, calling himself, ‘Buffalo Brad.’

“He’s only been here a couple of months,” Bennik said, explaining the water buffalo was recently purchased from Vancouver Island.

“He wasn’t accustomed to being in the yard. (I guess) he wanted to see his surroundings.”

LAPS animal control officer Chloe Buskell used her vehicle to help assist the owner in getting the bull home, noted LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson.

“She blocked driveways to stop the bull from deviating from its path home,” Nelson said.

Altogether, the adventure lasted about two and a half hours.

FEBRUARY

RHYS GRIFFITHS PASSES

The Langley environmentalist died at the age of 92 in February.

From his Langley City home overlooking Brydon Pond — which he described as a jewel in Langley’s park system — Griffiths took an active role in ensuring the reclaimed lagoon stayed healthy enough to support the fish and bird life that depend on it.

He was also instrumental in revitalizing the Langley Field Naturalists, serving as president for a number of years.

MAN SHOT TO DEATH IN WILLOUGHBY

A Surrey man was fatally wounded at a newly-built townhouse complex in the Willoughby neighbourhood.

Police identified 23-year-old Tarek Ali Al-Romeshi as the person found wounded in a car.

Al-Romeshi was not a resident of the complex and he was not known to police, said Cpl. Frank Jang, spokesperson for the regional Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

JAOB TREMBLAY, A HOME TOWN STAR APPEARS AT LANGLEY FILM FESTIVAL

Jacob Tremblay said it took 90 minutes to be transformed into August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy with facial differences who goes to school for the first time in the movie Wonder.

The 11-year-old Langley actor was taking questions following the screening of Wonder at the third annual Langley International Film Festival.

Tremblay spent about an hour answering questions after arriving with the dog Gidget, who played Daisy, his character’s pet in the film.

Langley actor Jacob Tremblay said it took 90 minutes to be transformed into August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy with facial differences who goes to school for the first time in the movie Wonder. The 11-year-old Langley actor took questions at the third annual Langley International Film Festival.

MARCH

TARDI RINK TAKES GOLD

The Langley Curling Club rink skipped by Tyler Tardi defeated the hosts from Scotland 6-5 in extra ends to capture the world junior championship title.

The competition was held in Aberdeen, Scotland and the loss was the first of the competition for the host team.

Tardi’s team consisted of third Sterling Middleton, second Jordan Tardi, lead Zachary Curtis, alternate Jacques Gauthier and coach Paul Tardi. Gauthier is Tardi’s cousin.

NON-PROFIT MAPLE GARDENS ANNOUNCES IT IS CLOSING DUE TO THEFTS

A wave of thefts forced the closure of the Maples Discovery Gardens Co-op in Langley Township on 200 Street near 77 Avenue.

A statement from the non-profit community garden said because of a wave of thefts, there would be no plot rentals and programming.

It was been plagued by theft for years, much of it attributed to the squatters and homeless people in the undeveloped, heavily treed area next to the gardens.

APRIL

‘BAD ASS’ MCQUARRIE GETS 14 YEARS

Almost four years after Greg Quesnelle was shot and killed in his girlfriend’s Cloverdale townhome, the man accused of his murder was sentenced for the crime.

In Supreme Court in New Westminster, Langley’s Barry McQuarrie was sentenced to 14 years, three months and nine days in federal prison. He was also handed down a lifetime weapons ban and must provide a DNA sample.

A judge ruled that McQuarrie, 36, who is also known as ‘Bad Ass Barry,’ shot his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, Gregory Quesnelle, 32 on May 12, 2014 inside a townhome at 176 Street and 57 Avenue.

Quesnelle was found injured inside the townhome and was rushed to hospital, where he died of his wounds.

McQuarrie spent two months on the run from police. He was captured while hiding in a Langley homeowner’s garage. The homeowner did not know him.

LANGLEY ‘HOCKEY MOMS’ JERSEY CAMPAIGN FOR HUMBOLDT GOES VIRAL

A campaign launched by a group of self-described hockey moms in Langley to have people show support for the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash by wearing hockey jerseys on April 12 attracted international attention, with messages of support coming in from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

The group set up a Facebook page following the crash that claimed the lives of 15 hockey players.

COURT RULES AGAINST MURRAYVILLE CONDO BUYERS

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that 40 buyers of units in the troubled Murrayville House condo project in Langley will not be able to purchase them at the original price.

It was a setback for the people who signed agreements to buy units in the 92-unit condo at 5020 221A St. that was placed into receivership .

The court-ordered receivership came after months of wrangling between the builder and various creditors that has prevented buyers from moving in. The Bowra Group Inc., the court-appointed receiver in charge of untangling the troubled condo project, reported that the builder of the complex owes at least $62 million to various creditors.

Bowra also said a number of the units in the four-storey wood frame condo at 5020 221A St. have been sold more than once, with 31 units sold twice, 12 units sold three times and one unit had been sold four times.

MAY

ER FUNDRAISER KICKS OFF

A campaign to raise funds for a new ER at Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH) was unveiled, with word that a substantial portion of the target amount has already been pledged.

Maria Martini and Allan Skidmore announced their families’ gifts, $5 million and $2 million respectively, at a press conference to kick off the $15-million fundraising campaign, said to be the largest in Langley history.

LEGION CLOSES

After more than 90 years serving the community, Langley Legion Branch 21 closed its doors for good.

In a Facebook post announcing the closure, the Legion said that it was under trusteeship and thanked all members, both past and present, for their support over the years.

“It’s a horribly sad circumstance, but the (Langley) Legion is no longer able to generate the revenue to keep the branch going,” said Dave Whittier, the executive director of ‎The Royal Canadian Legion, BC Yukon Command.

FATAL SHOOTING AT GAS STATION

A man was ambushed and killed in an execution style shooting at a Chevron gas station at 232 Street and 72 Avenue in Langley.

Officers arrived to find a man on the ground, suffering from gunshot wounds. A Range Rover parked near one of the pumps appeared to be riddled with bullet holes.

The victim was rushed to hospital, but died a short time later.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has identified Amanjot Singh Hans, 31, of Surrey as the victim.

Investigators believe his murder was targeted.

FECES THROWING INCIDENT AT LANGLEY TIM HORTONS

A viral video that shows a woman defecating in a Langley City Tim Hortons and throwing her feces at an employee, speaks to a larger problem in the City that no one is talking about, one activist said.

Leith White, Pastor of the Friends Langley Vineyard Church at 5708 Glover Rd., said he has asked the City of Langley repeatedly to provide better washroom access for homeless people, as defecation in public spaces and on private property has become a major issue.

White confirmed that the person shown in the viral Tim Hortons video is a homeless woman, who frequents the Langley City area. After the incident, she was detained and released by the RCMP.

Langley’s Alisah McPhee challenged Shelly ‘Machine Gun’ Barnett from Toronto for the Canadian Bantamweight Championship at the Langley Event Centre.

PRO BOXING COMES TO LANGLEY

Langley’s Alisah McPhee challenged Shelly ‘Machine Gun’ Barnett from Toronto for the Canadian Bantamweight Championship at the Langley Event Centre.

It was the first boxing show at the Langley Events Centre and the first-ever pro boxing match in Langley Township.

The 34-year-old Barnett won a unanimous decision over McPhee to capture the Canadian Bantamweight Championship as the main event at “Turmoil on 200th” before more than 700 spectators.

JUNE

CONVICTION IN KEVIN LECLAIR MURDER

UN gang member Cory Vallee was found guilty of first degree murder in the shooting death of rival gang member Kevin LeClair.

LeClair, 26, was gunned down outside a popular restaurant in Walnut Grove in February 2009.

Vallee was also found guilty of conspiracy to murder the Bacon brothers.

Members of the UN gang were hunting for LeClair when they spotted his truck and followed it to a restaurant in the Thunderbird Mall in Walnut Grove.

When LeClair went inside, Vallee and another UN gang member went to get weapons and returned in a van with a 9mm handgun and an AR-15 rifle and waited for LeClair to leave the restaurant.

When LeClair came outside after an hour, Vallee and the gang member got out of the van and started firing at LeClair in the parking lot of the shopping centre.

NO LAW SCHOOL AT TWU

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the right of two Canadian Law Societies to refuse accreditation for a proposed law school at Trinity Western University.

Both the Law Societies of B.C. and Ontario said their objections arise from a community covenant that asks students to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of marriage, which is defined as between a man and a woman.

Critics complained the clause was anti-gay and would violate a lawyer’s duty to represent all clients.

Following the ruling, TWU’s Janet Epp Buckingham told reporters the university “will not be starting a law school in the near future and we will have to consider our options to determine how we are going to go forward.”

LANGLEY HORSE BREEDER WINS ASCOT AND TRIPLE CROWN

Langley breeder John Gunther and his daughter Tanya witnessed his horse, Without Parole, take the 2018 St. James’s Palace Stakes at the famed Ascot race course in the U.K.

It came just 10 days after Justify, a horse Gunther and his daughter bred but sold, took the Triple Crown of U.S. racing.

Justify, a horse Langley breeder John Gunther and his daughter Tanya bred, took the Triple Crown of U.S. racing.

JULY

MISS BC CROWNED

Christine Jamieson from Mission, Taylor Aller from Surrey and Michelle Ahmadi from Vancouver were announced the winners of the Miss BC, Mrs. BC and Miss Teen BC titles, respectively at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.

GIRL FOUND DEAD IN APARTMENT

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment complex in Langley.

Police said a 36-year-old woman believed to be involved in the investigation was under medical care.

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment complex in Langley.

AUGUST

TWU MAKES CONTROVERSIAL COVENANT OPTIONAL FOR STUDENTS

Trinity Western University’s controversial Community Covenant will be voluntary for all students , the Langley-based school’s board of governors has decided.

The Community Covenant includes a section that prohibits sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage.

It was a key issue in the battle over a proposed law school at TWU that saw several law societies refuse to recognize the school and ultimately saw the university put the plans on hold.

MOTHER CHARGED IN AALIYAH ROSA MURDER

Aaliyah Rosa’s mother, 36-year-old Kerryann Lewis, was arrested and charged on Aug. 17 with second degree murder for the seven-year-old girl’s death.

At a memorial service, the seven-year-old was remembered as a vivacious girl with a contagious smile, who wore her heart on her sleeve, adored her dad and stood her ground for what she believed in.

Trish Wright, one of Aaliyah’s after-school teachers said Aaliyah was forever “daddy’s little girl,” Wright said.

When Steve Rosa dropped off his daughter every day, Aaliyah would ask him to stay.

“‘Daddy, please just one more hug,’ she would beg. And Steve would always give it.”

Nadia Causley, the mom of Aaliyah’s best friend, Stella, talked about a girl with a contagious smile who made the Causley family her own.

“Aaliyah is a once-in-a-lifetime friend. She and Stella will always be besties,” said Causley.

SMOKE FROM WILDFIRES FORCE RESIDENTS INDOORS

An advisory issues by Metro Vancouver said people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung or heart disease, as well as infants and the elderly, were advised to avoid strenuous exercise or long amounts of time outside until the smoke lifted.

SEPTEMBER

LANGLEY OFFICER AND BROTHER TAKE SECOND IN AMAZING RACE CANADA

Two B.C. RCMP officers made it all the way to the final three in the Amazing Race Canada Heroes edition, finishing second overall.

Courtney Callens, a property crime investigator with the Langley detachment and her brother Taylor Callens, who is an RCMP officer in the Williams Lake detachment, had been leading the race for most of the 11 broadcast episodes, but were edged at the finish line by rivals Courtney Berglind and Adam Kovacs, first responders who are engaged to be married.

LANGLEY RUGBY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS

It’s been 50 years of full-contact fun at the Langley Rugby Club, which has the motto “Respect All, Fear None, Expect Victory.”

The Langley Rugby Club (LRC) was founded “around the time of the first manned moon landing and just before the Beatles disbanded,” as club member Craig Angeltvedt put it.

“Although only twelve men ever walked on the moon, over 1,000 men,women, boys and girls have proudly worn the Langley team colours for the past half century.”

OCTOBER

RICHTER CENSURED

Six-term Township of Langley Councillor Kim Richter was formally censured and ordered to take in-depth training on Respectful Workplace Policy.

Council voted at a closed meeting to approve a motion that also required all other members of council to participate in a workshop on the Respectful Workplace Policy.

Richter said she was being censured by “the Mayor’s majority on Langley Township Council” for “doing my job.”

“In October 2017 I brought to public attention the fact that a sitting member of Council was doing business with the Township. I did not think that was right at the time and considered it my duty to say so publicly, not only in Council and to the press but also on social media including Facebook.”

In December, following her re-election, Richter convinced the new council to require future motions of censure to have a two-thirds majority of council, instead of a bare majority.

Val van den Broek, shortly after learning she had been elected Langley City mayor.

NEW MAYOR FOR LANGLEY CITY

Val van den Broek took close to half of the votes cast in the civic election to edge out former Langley City mayor Peter Fassbender, who was making an attempt at getting his old job back after a spell in provincial politics.

Van den Broek took centre chair of a six-member council with Rudy Storteboom, Rosemary Wallace, Gayle Martin, Teri James, Nathan Pachal and Paul Albrecht.

Incubent councillor Jack Arnold was defeated.

Jack Froese was re-elected as Langley Township mayor for his third term.

Froese was joined at the table by councillors David Davis, Eric Woodward, Kim Richter, Bob Long, Blair Whitmarsh, Steve Ferguson, Petrina Arnason and Margaret Kunst.

Incubent councillors Angie Quaale and Michelle Sparrow were defeated.

FIVE IN A ROW FOR LANGLEY RACE CAR DRIVER

Langley driver Collin Jackson won his fifth national championship at the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs at the Sonoma Raceway in California by the closest of margins, edging his rival by a slim fraction of a second.

NOVEMBER

LANGLEY GREENHOUSES LOOK AT GROWING LEGAL POT

With legalization, some operators are looking at adding a new cash crop.

The Bevo greenhouse at 7170 Glover Rd. in Milner is one of them. It grows crop seedlings including pepper, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage as well bedding crop plants and said it will continue growing and selling those products, but it will add legal marijuana.

LANGLEY-TO-SURREY TRANSIT LINE COULD COME UP SHORT

The Surrey city council decision to cancel a proposed LRT line in favour of SkyTrain could mean a rapid transit line that stops well short of Langley, Langley City councillor Nathan Pachal warned.

Translink later posted plans online for SkyTrain that show available funding would be enough to push SkyTrain further into Surrey along Fraser Highway, but not sufficient to extend the line all the way to Langley.

FLAG FUROR

A Japanese “rising sun” flag was removed from a Langley history classroom after a student-created online petition against it generated thousands of signatures over the weekend.

The Change.org petition “Take off the Sun Rise Flag in an Educational Environment” was launched by Walnut Grove Secondary School Grade 9 student B.J. Moon, who said he and the other students who complained about the flag were “all Koreans and descendant of a country that was colonized by Japan.”

DECEMBER

POT FINES

Langley City Council gave preliminary approval to a City bylaw that sets fines for smoking marijuana in an area frequented by children at $150 for a first offence, $300 for a second offence and $500 for every ticket issued after that.

There is an identical rising scale of fines for smoking marijuana in a vehicle under any circumstances, that also applies to smoking tobacco with someone under the age of 16 in the vehicle.

HOMELESS HOUSING GETS A GO

Township council unanimously approved a 49-room supportive housing project for Langley’s homeless.

The facility, to be built in the former Quality Inn in the 6400 block of 200th Street, will be managed by the local Stepping Stone Community Services Society.

Controversy has dogged the project, with some area residents citing concerns about drug dealers and needles, crime, and the site’s proximity to schools and a liquor store.

KODIAKS, BEARS TAKE PROVINCIAL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

North Langley Kodiaks midget football team won the British Columbia Community Football Association (BCCFA) provincial championships for the second year in a row, defeating Victoria Spartans 17-7 at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam in frigid conditions.

The same day, the North Langley Bears won the bantam provincial championship, beating North Surrey 7-6.

WIND STORM SLAMS THE LANGLEYS

Thousands of residents were left without power by a storm with gusts up to 100 km/h that downed trees and severed lines throughout the Lower Mainland. At one point, over 300,000 BC Hydro customers were in the dark. The utility called it “one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years.” In neighbouring White Rock, high waves split the historic pier in two, trapping one man who had to be rescued by helicopter.

 

Fifty years of full-contact fun at the Langley Rugby Club, which has the motto “Respect All, Fear None, Expect Victory.”

The RCMP musical ride performed in Langley at Thunderbird Show Park.

Two B.C. RCMP officers, one from Langley, made it all the way to the final three in the Amazing Race Canada Heroes edition, finishing second overall.

Township mayor Jack Froese hugs councillor Angie Quaale as the election results came in. He was re-elected, she was not.

Langley driver Collin Jackson won his fifth national championship at the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs at the Sonoma Raceway in California

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