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Rotary Club of Ladner donates $20,000 to REACH

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Ladner Rotary present cheque to REACH Society

On June 21st, 2011 Reach Child and Youth Development Society was presented with a generous donation of $20,000 from the Rotary Club of Ladner in support of their work with children with special needs and their families.

“We are grateful for this donation” says Renie D’Aquila, Executive Director of Reach, “the Rotary Club of Ladner has provided a range of support to Reach Society over the years. Recently the Ladner Rotarians have physically helped with painting our sheds and buildings and participating in our preschool program. Recognizing that 15% of the population has special needs and that the incidence rates are increasing we simply cannot meet the ever growing demand. Today’s generous donation from the Rotary Club of Ladner will enable more children and youth with special needs to receive the help they need.”

Reach has been serving the community of Delta since 1959, supporting the development of children throughout all stages of childhood. Programs and services include developmental assessments, preschools, therapies, autism intervention programs, youth social programs, and family support and education.  Reach has recently launched a $4 million capital campaign to build a new, community-based child development centre in the heart of Ladner. The new centre will be bigger and more accessible than the current Reach centre in east Ladner, enabling more children, youth and families to benefit from programs and services.

“ As a Past President of the Rotary Club of Ladner I am aware  of Reach Society’s  incredible community contributions and I know of no other project that will impact the community more than this one,” says Irene Forcier, Chair of the Reach Foundation. “Children are our future.  All children need our support and this by far is the best form of support children with disabilities and their families can hope for. A building in the heart of the community built with learning in mind will help us all.  Rotary has stepped up to the plate once again and makes us all proud they are serving our community.”

The Rotary Club motto is Service Above Self, and since 1905 Rotary Clubs worldwide have been supporting organizations locally and abroad. The Rotary Club of Ladner has been in existence since 1957.  This donation to Reach is through the Avenue of Community Service, where Rotarians give back to the places they live in.

“Supporting youth initiatives has become Rotary’s new avenue of Service”, says Ladner Club President Guillermo Bustos, “but it is especially important to support children and youth with special needs.  We hope that other clubs and community organizations will join in this effort.”

For more information about Rotary Club of Ladner contact incoming President Linda Ottho, Box 77, Delta, BC at 604-240-1733. For more information about Reach Child and Youth Development Society programs and services, or about the capital campaign call 604-946-6622 (local 301 for Renie D’Aquila Executive Director and local 385 for Reach Foundation Chair Irene Forcier) or visit

‘Traditional’ schools proving very popular in Delta

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Pebble Hill ElementaryDelta, BC – A more formal learning environment with a focus on manners, school-wide homework policies, and uniforms is proving to be a popular choice for Delta families.

The Delta School District introduced its first ‘Traditional School’ at Tsawwassen’s Pebble Hill Elementary in 2008. A ‘traditional’ setting provides a private school style, but in a public school setting. The Delta School District decided to offer this form of education, as a way of delivering choice to families. The more structured learning environment quickly proved to be a popular option.

Enrollment at Pebble Hill had been declining. From September 2006 to September 2007, the student population dropped from 184 students to 146. Once the school became traditional, enrolment started to increase, back up to 164 students in the 2010/2011 school year. Kindergarten numbers have nearly quadrupled from 12 students in 2008 to 43 students enrolled for the upcoming 2011/2012 school year.

The success at Pebble Hill prompted the district to open a second traditional school in North Delta the following year. Jarvis Traditional Elementary School opened its doors in September 2009. Enrolment jumped from 363 students in 2008 to 391 students in 2010. Parents supported the new school format for a variety of reasons.

“At Jarvis, the parents who have chosen the traditional school seem to be parents  who prefer schools with uniforms and with the increased attention to displays of  respectful behaviour, such as formal greetings and the emphasis on manners,” said  Ragini Kapil, Principal at Jarvis Traditional Elementary and formerly Principal at  Pebble Hill Traditional Elementary.

The traditional model offers parents a choice that was not available previously in the public school system, explains Garnet Ayres, Delta School District Deputy Superintendent. “All of our schools are fairly traditional in one sense of the word, but parents have responded to these changes positively and the increase in enrolment at each school has been an indicator of that,” he said.

Now, the Delta School District is proud to announce that Heath Elementary School will become a traditional school as of September 2011. This decision was made following a consultation process involving parents, students and staff, which garnered great support for a switch to a traditional model.

“I’m excited because this decision was very much made in community,” said Janet Lauman, Principal at Heath Elementary.

Heath Traditional Elementary School is located at 11364 72nd Avenue in North Delta. Registrations are now being accepted for the fall and already there is an upturn in enrolment.

Local Social Worker wins Royal Bank 'Top 25 Immigrant' award for 2011

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For the greater good

The field of social work is an intense career path that demands the ability and empathy to fight passionately on behalf of others, and that suits Alex Sangha of Delta, B.C., perfectly. In fact, speaking up for those who need a voice is a part of everything Sangha does, as a registered social worker, a grad student, founder of a gay and lesbian South Asian organization called Sher Vancouver and co-founder of Mindset (Mental Health Education, Awareness and Support) at PICS settlement agency.

Where does Sangha’s passion for advocacy come from? Born in the United Kingdom to Indian parents, Sangha, whose youth was spent largely in Canada, says he himself faced discrimination and disadvantage, not only for being South Asian, but for being gay. His experiences overcoming injustice in his own life, including tough years as a teenager dealing with bullying, has led him to become a vocal advocate for others.

“I feel if you give back and help others then you reap rewards of positive energy, positive feedback, and an intrinsic feeling of health and wellness. I felt it was necessary to make the most of my opportunities in Canada and fight for the rights of the marginalized and oppressed,” he says.

“I have my grandfather’s spirit in me. My grandfather spent his whole life helping South Asian immigrants in England settle in that country. My mother was devoted to giving back because it was a tenet of her Sikh faith. And I learned values of caring, sharing and collective goodwill through my professional education as a social worker.”

BCEATS Offer to purchase the Southlands for 205 million

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BCEATS Offer to Century page 1This morning on CBC Radio during the "Early Edtion" hosted by Rick Cluff, an offer to purchase the Southlands for 205 million dollars was announced by Peter Cummings, Director of the BC Ecological Agricultural Trust Society or BCEATS.

The announcement came in the wake of a contentious public hearing to put the 538 acre parcel of farmland back in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Opponents of the plan would see that the old Spetifore farm be rezoned to allow a residential development plan put forth by the current owner Century Industries. A plan that would see 1900 homes built on 1/3 of the property.


Delta Mayor Suspends Public Hearing for ALR Inclusion of the Southlands

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dana maslovat and sean hodginsOn the scheduled fourth day of the Public Hearing to consider an ALR application for the Southlands, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson suspended the Hearing and called a “Mayor Summit” to discuss further options. The first three days of the Public Hearing consisted of speakers on both sides of the debate and the presentation of a petition of over 1300 names supporting the ALR designation, and a banned video called “Saving the Southlands”.

Petition With Over 1100 Signatures Presented To Council to Support ALR Inclusion of Southlands

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Southlands in the ALRAt Tuesday’s Public Hearing, Southlands the Facts, presented a petition with over 1100 signatures indicating support for the application to return the Southlands to the ALR. The on-line petition was launched on Friday, February 18th and support has poured in from citizens of Delta as well as throughout BC and Canada.

During the commencement of the Public Hearing on March 1st, all speakers expressed support for the application to return the Southlands for the ALR. The speakers included Arzeena Hamir, renowned agrologist and Coordinator of the Richmond Food Security Society, who talked about the quality of soil on the Southlands and the opportunity to use this land to help train future farmers. With a remaining list of over 80 speakers the Public Hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday, March 2 (7:00 pm, South Delta Recreation Centre).

Teen arrested in the September slaying of Laura Szendrei

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Laura SzendreiThe Delta Police Department have arrested and charged an 18 year old male with first degree murder of 15-year old Laura Szendrei. Laura was viciously attacked on Sept. 25th as she walked through Mackie Park to meet with friends.

The suspect, who was taken into custody without incident, can not be named as he was 17 when the attack took place. He will appear in court today in Surrey. He is described as a Caucasian male, putting to rest a rumour that the assailant was South Asian.

Citizens group starts online petition to return Southlands to Agricultural Land Reserve

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BArley Growing on the SouthlandsAn online petition has been started by local citizens group "Southlands the Facts' to support an application that would see the Southlands back in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) has been circulating around town. The goal of the group is to collect as many signatures as possible to show Delta's City Council that there is strong support to submit an application to return this farmland back to ALR in its entirety and put the controversy that has surrounded the Spetifore Farm to rest once and for all.

Delta Free Press columnist nominated for Canadian Top 25 Immigrant Award

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Alex Sangha Nominated for Top 25 Canadian ImmigrantCanadian Immigrant, a leading Canadian resource for immigrants from around the world, has announced its 2011 nomination list for its annual, Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2011 Awards. Voting begins on the 18th February and the results will be announced in May.

Delta Council Approves ALR Application for Southlands

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A field of barley growing on the SouthlandsOn Monday, February 7th, Delta Council unanimously approved the preparation of an application to have Southlands included in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). This decision was made based on a report filed on Friday, February 4th, by Delta CAO George Harvie. The report also included a proposed update to the Tsawwassen Area Plan which recommended modest growth and increased protection of agricultural land. Both the ALR application and new Area Plan will go to a Public Hearing on Tuesday, March 1st.

Fire blazes at Delta Cedar Products Mill

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Delta Fire DepartmentThe Delta Fire Department was called on to fight a fire at a local lumber mill early this morning after a fire broke out at the Delta Cedar Products mill on the Fraser River side of river road. Fire crews worked hard to contain the main blaze and successfully held it to the area of origin while they extinguished 'hot spots' throughout the facilty.

The mill was in operation when the fire broke out around 2am. Two workers have been taken to hospital after suffering smoke inhalation.  No other injuries are reported at this time.

The Delta Police Department assisted the operation to divert traffic around the fire scene as River Road between Nordel and Centre Street were closed for the morning commuter traffic and remained closed for most of the morning.

It is unclear what the extent of the damage is and how it will affect the future of the mill.

Thrifty Foods Recalls BBQ Chicken and Pot Pies

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Thrifty's Foods in Tsawwassen Recallls Products

Tsawwassen, BC. November 2, 2010: A health hazard alert has been issued by Thrifty Foods through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Tsawwassen Area Plan Struck Down

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Tsawwassen Area Plan MeetingAfter two years of Tsawwassen Area Plan Committee meetings, untold hours of Delta planning and staff time, contentious public meetings, consultations, and costly surveys, Delta Council has decided to turn down the proposed Tsawwassen Area Plan.

The public hearing for the proposed area plan took place on Oct 26 and 27 between 7 and 10 PM at the South Delta Rec Center. Each speaker was allowed 5 minutes to speak to the Area Plan and an additional 2-minutes of rebuttal time after everyone had been heard.

Tsawwassen Area Plan Public Hearing October 26 & 27

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Tsawwassen Area PlanThe new Tsawwassen Area Plan (TAP) will be presented and discussed at a public meeting on October 26 & 27, 7:00 pm at South Delta Recreation Center. The public will be given an opportunity to provide feedback to Delta Council regarding the bylaw outlining the future direction of Tsawwassen. The proposed TAP recommends maintaining of the agricultural land use Designation for the Southlands.


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