BY RATTAN MALL
FORMER Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on Tuesday told Radio MediaWaves Communications that the removal of two road signs in Punjabi and English near Surrey’s two main gurdwaras that were installed when he was mayor was “a serious mistake” and he wanted that to be rectified.
He told the most popular South Asian / Punjabi radio station in B.C. that he didn’t think that the removal was deliberate. He said it was more likely that they were removed during some repairs in those areas. However, he noted that the signs had been put up with the approval of City Council at the time.
He suggested that the community should take this matter up with Mayor Linda Hepner and the City Council so that the road signs could be put up again.
He pointed out that the roads where he resides in Surrey also have names such as O’Hara and McBride that reflect the heritage of the early European settlers and suggested that some road names should also reflect Punjabi heritage.
THE VOICE had broken the story last Friday online and in its print edition on Saturday in a piece titled “What happened to the Punjabi and English road signs for two Surrey gurdwaras?” (Me Thinks … by Rattan)
Punjabi journalist Gurpreet Singh Sahota (Lucky) had fired off a letter to a Surrey Councillor, noting: “In ex-mayor Doug McCallum era, City installed Punjabi signage on the back road of Gurdwara Dasmesh Darbar (86 Ave.) stated as … DASMESH MARG and on the back road of Guru Nanak Sikh Temple (122 Street) stated as … GURU NANAK MARG. Both signage were in Punjabi and stayed there for couple of years. Now they are missing. One of my friends called city staff about it and they replied nothing is shown in record.
“I understand, you were not in city hall that time but can you check what happened? Did they change the names of the roads in record or just put the signage? Either way, please try to reinstall them.”
I found photos of the two road signs in my photo file. The sign for Guru Nanak Gurdwara (“Guru Nanak Marg” at 122nd Street) was in Punjabi, while that for Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara (“Dasmesh Marg” at 130th Street and 86th Avenue) was in English.
I contacted the City’s media relations head Oliver Lum on Wednesday last week about this, but he has still been unable to get any information as the City is probably in damage control!