The Guru Tegh Bahadur Sikh Temple at 664 Clearwater Village Rd. was recently sold, with the Clearwater Sikh community donating the proceeds to various charities in town. Jaime Polmateer photo.

Northern B.C. Sikh community donates thousands to charity after sale of temple

The building, which can hold up to 400 people, was bought by locals for $180,000

A tiny Sikh community in British Columbia has sold its temple and given the $164,000 they made from the sale to local charities.

Narinder Singh Heer, president of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sikh Temple in Clearwater, said the community had shrunk to five families and did not need the space.

Until about 15 years ago the community had 55 families, he said, adding that the temple opened its doors in 1985.

But Heer said the community dispersed because of job losses in the lumber industry and the younger generation moving out of town to live in bigger cities.

“In the last 10 years we have only five members and we’re doing only a monthly congregation,” Heer said. “We talked about it. Five members can’t keep the gurudwara going.”

READ MORE: Clearwater Sikh community loses longtime member, closes temple

The building, which can hold up to 400 people, was bought by locals for $180,000, he said.

The community donated another $4,000 it had in savings.

They gave $10,000 each to two temples in Kamloops, B.C., and the rest to 19 local charities.

“The money belongs to Clearwater,” Heer said of the local donations. “We’ve been living here since 1950s and 1960s.”

Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell said the temple members’ donations will help a number of organizations, such as the local ski hill, the skating club and food bank.

“It’s fantastic. It touches so many clubs in our community and so many volunteers have been struggling for so long,” he said.

The mayor said he knew about the donations about a month ago, but kept it a secret.

“We actually brought about 20 or 30 representatives from these groups into a room and told them nothing about why they were there,” he said.

“We introduced Mr. Heer and put them up at the podium and started handing out cheques and the room just came apart. It was so emotional and grown men were shedding tears. It was amazing.”

Blackwell said he’s disappointed to see the Sikh community in Clearwater shrinking.

“The minute the Sikh community wants to come back to Clearwater, I’ll give the first thousand dollars to start the new temple,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. Sikh temple vandalized with racist graffiti

— By Hina Alam in Vancouver

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Plans to clear-cut old-growth near Port Renfrew causes an environmental outcry

Groups call logging a provincial government ‘blind spot’

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Limits on chinook sport fishing could cause devastating economic ripples

Vancouver Island fishing guides concerned over salmon sport catch reductions to save declining stock

New B.C. residents not exempt from speculation and vacancy tax

Darcy Garneau has lived and worked in B.C. for over a year but could still owe money to the province

It was no Kentucky Derby: B.C. girls host foot-long snail race

Two Grade 3 students in White Rock put four snails to the test in a hotly-contested street race

Sentencing delayed for man who attacked Vancouver Island police dog

Uno later recovered from his injury and returned to work in Victoria

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Inquest into Port Hardy police shooting moved to Campbell River

Family disappointed James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

B.C. RCMP arrest foreign national in connection to airport thefts

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read