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

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

OP-ED: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

Dennis Patterson, Senator for Nunavut, on protecting Canada’s environment and economy with Bill C-48

Over $70,000 in grants for crime prevention on the North Coast

Three organizations on Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert and Bella Coola will receive support

MP Nathan Cullen to testify at oil tanker ban committee hearings

Senators travel to Prince Rupert and Terrace as part of fact-finding mission on Bill C-48

UPDATE: Four victims identified in deadly Penticton shooting spree

John Brittain, 68, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

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

Elizabeth May’s B.C. wedding will be a ‘low carbon affair’ on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

Most Read