It was another busy year in Burnaby. Check out what made headlines in the NOW throughout 2011.
The New Year started off with a literal bang in Burnaby, with an explosion at the Wesburn Community Centre at 3: 30 a.m. on Jan. 2 that blew open the doors and left a hole in the wall.
No one was injured in the incident at the centre near Deer Lake.
Burnaby property owners were bemoaning a large bill after the holidays - but it wasn't related to Christmas shopping. Burnaby's residential property values increased by 12.7 per cent from 2010, according to the B.C. Assessment Authority, and this in turn increased owners' property taxes.
Assessed property in Burnaby was worth $57.786 billion in 2011, according to B.C.
Assessment's 2011 assessment roll.
Members of Chevron's community advisory panel walked out over how the company handled the ongoing oil seep at its North Burnaby refinery.
The seep was the mix of gas, diesel and crude oil leeching from the refinery since April 2010. More than 10,000 litres of oily material leached into the ground in and around Chevron's North Burnaby refinery between April 2009 and January 2011.
Burnaby's Board of Trade celebrated its centennial in January at the Michael J. Fox Theatre. The board started with a small group of business owners, concerned about issues such as reckless carriage drivers, banding together on Dec. 10, 1910.
The Bill Copeland Arena got a portable wood floor in 2011, which was part of the sports centre's original design.
But the Metro Minor Ball Hockey Association fought the city's decision in January, asking that funding not be provided until a full assessment could be completed. The floor was completed on schedule later in the year.
Burnaby council moved forward with a plan to deal with traffic woes in the Burnaby Heights neighbourhood, though not everyone in the community was thrilled with it.
The first phase of the plan started in January, following a public consultation process in the fall of 2010.
The majority of students at the B.C. Institute of Technology voted in favour of a U-Pass in a referendum held from Jan. 7 to 17.
Forty-one per cent of eligible students voted online from Jan. 7 to 17, with 85 per cent of them voting in favour of the program.
TransLink organizes the U-Pass program, which is open to all publicly funded post-secondary institutions.
Samuel Kuris Jr., 39, died after being crushed by his forklift at a South Burnaby warehouse in late January. The accident occurred at Summit Logistics Inc. at 7155 11th Ave. A fund was started by fellow employees to help Kuris' family.
The gondola line on Burnaby Mountain took one step closer to being a reality after TransLink awarded the business case study to CH2M Hill in late January.
The proposed gondola could run from Production Way SkyTrain station to Simon Fraser University.
The Swedish Canadian Rest Home Association broke ground on an assisted living seniors' residence in Burnaby at the end of January. Eighteen of the 64 apartments will be filled from the association's wait-list, while Fraser Health will fill the 46 units subsidized through the Independent Living B.C. program. The $17 million project is expected to be ready for residents by May 2012.
The woman who banned the strap in B.C. schools passed away on Jan. 17.
Former education minister and longtime Burnaby school trustee Eileen Dailly was 84 years old when she died.
Burnaby North Secondary was one of six Canadian schools to receive $50,000 from Future Shop for a new technology lab.
As part of the retailer's Future Generation Tech Lab program, six schools were selected from more than 90 hopefuls to receive $50,000 grants for technology.
SFU professor Kennedy Stewart announced in January that he was seeking the NDP nomination for the federal riding of Burnaby-Douglas.
The former NDP MP for the riding, Bill Siksay, announced in December 2010 that he was retiring after 25 years in politics.
Scott Telecom Services Inc. put forward its fourth proposal for a cell tower in the Lake City Way area. With city staff working with the company on an acceptable design, the proposal passed later in 2011.
Kinder Morgan began eyeing plans to expand capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs crude and refined oil products from Edmonton to Burnaby.
The body of a woman was found near Warner Loat Park on Feb. 7.
The area, near the intersection of Winston Street and Piper Avenue, is often frequented by dog walkers and people who use the trails that lead to Burnaby Lake. It was the fourth case in two years where a woman's body has been found in a Lower Mainland park.
A two-alarm fire destroyed the Toyotomi Japanese Restaurant in the 4100-block of East Hastings Street in North Burnaby on Feb. 7.
Ryan Beedie, president of industrial real estate developer The Beedie Group, made a donation of $22 million to his alma mater, Simon Fraser University.
Ryan and his father, Keith Beedie, made the donation to SFU's business school, now the Beedie School of Business.
It was the largest individual donation SFU had ever received.
After six years, Burnaby-Douglas MP Bill Siksay's trans-gendered rights bill finally passed. The bill was intended to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
It would also change the Criminal Code of Canada so hate speech against transgendered and transsexual people is covered.
Burnaby's Special Olympics hockey team was hit hard by a theft that's left the athletes without equipment just days before a major tournament.
On Sunday, Feb. 13, the head coach of the Burnaby Hawks was attending a church meeting when his car was broken into.
Most of the team's hockey equipment, more than $3,000
worth, was taken. The community came forward with donations to replace the equipment in time for the tournament.
Coun. Pietro Calendino chose to endorse Adrian Dix, Vancouver-Kingsway MLA and NDP health critic, in the B.C. NDP race.
The majority of council had chosen to back John Horgan, MLA for the Malahat-Juan de Fuca riding - including Mayor Derek Corrigan. Dix was named leader of the B.C NDP later in the year.
In February, Burnaby's task force on homelessness raised concerns over deaths linked to living on Burnaby's streets.
There were more than 10 people in Burnaby who died prematurely as a result of issues related to health and homelessness between 2007 and 2011, according to Wanda Mulholland of the Burnaby Task Force On Homelessness.
The Burnaby school board passed a draft version of Policy 5.45 in February. The policy was intended to deal with homophobia and heterosexism in schools, and the main objective was to ensure all school community members learn to work together in an atmosphere of respect and safety "free from homophobia, transphobia, antigay harassment and exclusion, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
Chevron found a source in the ongoing oil seep at the North Burnaby refinery in February, with the underground sewer system as part of the problem. The company also installed absorption mats to catch oily material migrating offsite through the groundwater.
Sovereign, a 202-unit residential and retail tower planned near Metrotown, sold out on Feb. 19 after more than 600 people lined up to purchase units.
More than 80 staff in the Burnaby school district hit the $100,000 mark for salaries in the 2010 fiscal year, it was announced in March 2011. According to the district's annual statement of financial information, 82 people - mostly district staff, principals and vice-principals - earned six figures.
Darlene Gering, president and chief executive officer of the Burnaby Board of Trade for six years, announced she would be leaving the position in the spring.
Gordon World, an advocate for backyard chickens in Burnaby, announced his intention to run for Burnaby council after the city refused to reconsider allowing backyard chickens in Burnaby. World later ran for school board with Parents' Voice in the civic election, the political party formed in opposition to Policy 5.45.
A Burnaby parent took a complaint over a local teacher to the B.C. College of Teachers, alleging his child was force fed a piece of fruit in class.
The alleged incident happened in 2010, when the child was in Grade 3.
Premier Christy Clark appointed BurnabyLougheed MLA Harry Bloy as the minister of social development and multiculturalism. Bloy was the only MLA to back Clark in the Liberal leadership race.
Burnaby firefighters rescued seven people who were trapped by fire on a balcony on the 27th floor of a high-rise building near Metrotown on Mar. 14. The fire was considered suspicious.
Mercedes-Benz announced it would be starting fuel cell stack production in Burnaby.
The aim of the new facility is to cover the entire scope of fuel cell development and production in Burnaby.
For more of the year's top headlines, watch out for the next part of our 2011 Year in Review, coming in the Friday, Dec. 30 edition of the Burnaby NOW.