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

After energy pledge, Kootenay leaders roll up sleeves to hammer out details

Meeting this week of local governments to hammer out details of 100-per-cent renewable pledge

Low Lions Club membership could lead to event cancellations

The club’s Canada Day pancake breakfast may be scrapped

RDCK sets deadline for Nelson to agree to compost plan

Mayor John Dooley said the timeline request is unreasonable

Selkirk College valedictorians set for Class of 2019 send-off

Patrick Zubick and Emma Cuell are this year’s valedictorians

Rossland moves forward on single-use plastic bag ban bylaw

Bylaw given first reading at last council meeting

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Drug decriminalization report welcomed in East Kootenay

Provincial report recommends decriminalizing people who use illicit drugs, shift focus to treatment

New flight service an ‘angel’ for medical patients

Angel Flight East Kootenay will fly medical patients to Kelowna or Vancouver

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Family dog stolen from Kootenay backyard

RCMP appealing for information on pregnant Karelian bear dog missing from Elko, B.C.

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Most Read