Who is New Westminster's real "treasure"?

Dear Editor:

Re: Citizen of the Year doesn't need to live in city, The Record, Oct. 9.

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I read your article and the old expression that "one person's trash is another's treasure" came to mind in one of those event juxtapositions that occur with some irony from time to time.

The Raymond Burr Performing Arts Society board attended the Surrey Civic Treasures award ceremony tonight at the Surrey Arts Centre, sponsored by the Surrey Board of Trade.

We did so because our friend, the former founding artistic director for the Raymond Burr Performing Arts Centre, who didn't sue when she was dismissed when the City of New Westminster shut down the former Burr Theatre, was being honoured, along with three others, as a "Surrey civic treasure."

When she left town, many tried to blame her for the demise of "The Burr" spreading the unsubstantiated rumour that the plays she put on weren't making money. That fallacy was put to rest by the writer, on a previous occasion, referencing Burr accounting records. To her credit, she became the founding director of the Royal Canadian Theatre Company that flourishes in Surrey - a likely reason for the "treasure" designation. What New Westminster trashed became a treasure in Surrey.

By contrast, as pointed out by Gerda Suess, a "treasure" of New Westminster, the local chamber of commerce, surreptitiously changed the rules for nominations for "Citizen of the Year," not only to open up eligibility to non-residents but also to feed New Westminster's insatiable need to give awards and honours to those paid to do their jobs rather than those that volunteer time and resources to make

New Westminster a better place. Mr. Smith, who lives in Surrey and is considering legal action against a city institution, has  been incredulously nominated as New Westminster "Citizen of The Year." Who would do such a thing!

We observe that the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce is partially funded by the City of New Westminster - unlike the Surrey Board of Trade or any like organization. We are hesitant in making an accusation of toadyism, but what possible explanation for this flawed process makes any sense.

Mr. Smith, known in Surrey circles, has never been nominated for honours for his work in the town he calls home, to our knowledge, so why is he such a New Westminster "treasure"? We'd like to see the nomination form please.

E.C. "Ted" Eddy, New Westminster

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