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

Community helps fund dreams through Moms and Mentors

West Shore society helps women face the challenges of motherhood

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

Traditional salmon designs brighten Salish Sea Lantern Festival

Children from ȽÁU,WEL,ṈEW̱ tribal school built salmon hats for festival on Sidney waterfront

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read