Looking Back: Arsonist strikes Langley on Christmas

The history of Langley through the files of the Advance.

Eighty Years Ago

January 5, 1939

• Langley teachers announced they would apply to the arbitration board to resolve their salary dispute with school trustees.

• Council and the Langley Board of Trade discussed changes in the trades licence bylaw.

Seventy Years Ago

January 6, 1949

• As one of its last acts of 1948, council had expressed its satisfaction with the mail delivery system. But it turned down a postal inspector’s suggestion that municipal mail be delivered by a rural route carrier, rather than collected at the sub-post-office at Porter’s Store. Councillors felt they would get their mail 24 hours slower by carrier than from Porter’s.

Sixty Years Ago

December 31, 1958

• After an early cold snap, the winter of 1958-59 was turning into one of the mildest on record. There had been only two frosty nights in the last half of December.

• The Langleys’ councils considered jointly hiring a full-time solicitor.

• A sharp telephone rate increase, plus a nickel raise on every long distance call, had been approved by the Board of Transport on Christmas Eve.

Fifty Years Ago

January 2, 1969

• An arsonist was blamed for fires that had destroyed three small homes on Christmas Day.

• A $200,000 fire wiped out the N.K. MacDonald Lumber yard on Fraser Highway at Sturmey Road (244th Street). Firefighters battled the blaze in windy, sub-zero weather that created a wind-chill factor of -30ºF (-34.4ºC).

• Snow was expected, and the thermometer was expected to remain at its record low levels.

• Superintendent of Schools Harold Stafford’s retirement had come into effect on Dec. 31.

• The end of B.C.’s centenary year was marked by lowering the centennial flags at Langley City and Township offices. A joint council luncheon was also held.

Forty Years Ago

January 3, 1979

• Kristina Ekberg celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 31, and Barry David Braun became the first baby born in the New Year at Langley Memorial Hospital.

• Langley City council asked the Union of B.C. Municipalities to declare regional districts superfluous. City Alderman Iris Mooney reported back that the UBCM had not taken the suggested very well.

• A squelched gravel removal plan, killed by Surrey council after the enabling legislation had passed third reading, was back on the table, to the dismay of South Langley residents who feared the impact of the operation just across the border from them.

Thirty Years Ago

January 4, 1989

• Dave Christensen, Langley City’s administrator for 15 years, cited “personal reasons” in his letter of resignation to Mayor Joe Lopushinsky.

• Kevin Edward Allen Huntington was Langley’s first baby of 1989.

Twenty Years Ago

January 5, 1999

• Grant Gettling asked Township council for $2 million to bail out his beleaguered Northwest Langley Arena project, whose two sheets of ice and other amenities had been stalled six months earlier when the project’s financial backer ran into money troubles.

• Trinity Western University won another court ruling, this time from the B.C. Court of Appeals, in a running battle with the B.C. College of Teachers. The BCCT was concerned that teachers trained at TWU were being required to sign a pledge to refrain from adultery, premarital sex, and homosexuality, and that persons who would sign such a statement might be intolerant as teachers in a classroom. The Court of Appeals order the BCCT to allow TWU to provide professional training for its education students.

• Maureen Friesen, the biggest vote-getter in the 1996 school board election, stepped down as a trustee, with a full year left in her term. Friesen cited personal and family health reasons for her decision.

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