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Traffic safety advocate Couling passes away
One of the most recognizable names in Burnaby traffic safety has died.
Gord Couling, who worked for ICBC promoting road safety and loss prevention, died Tuesday evening at Burnaby Hospital surrounded by family and friends.
He had fought a short battle with a "very aggressive form of cancer that was first detected in August," said Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Major John Buis on Wednesday.
Couling was "great friend of the detachment," said Buis, and was a fixture in the city for at least 10 years.
"Anytime there was anything to do with road safety in the city of Burnaby, with ICBC, he was on top of it. He moved forward programs, he was able to get funding for special projects, he was out to all the public events," Buis said.
"He was the heart and soul of a lot of our community events and community programs when it came to road safety. He was the guy."
Speedwatch volunteer Chris Hildred worked with Couling for 10 years and grew to be friends.
"The level of dedication and passion I've never seen anybody else in my life that comes close to the kind of energy he put into his job," said Hildred.
Couling lived in Coquitlam but his enthusiasm was evident whether he was working in Burnaby or the Tri-Cities. Hildred recalled Couling coming out to countless evening Speedwatch events, whether he needed to be there or not.
"He started off as a driver examiner so he was well-versed with things that people do on the roads, so safety was probably his first to number one concern," he said.
"He was painfully aware of distracted people who walk on the street with their iPods plugged into their ears ignoring the world around them, including vehicles, whose drivers are also texting at the same time. Just a recipe for disaster," Hildred said. "He was keenly aware of that and tried everything he could to get the message out as often as possible and in as many ways as possible."
Members of the Burnaby Citizens Crimewatch program, whose volunteer members scour the city looking for stolen vehicles, issued a statement that said Couling was "a tremendous help and inspiration to many people in the crimewatch program over many years. We in the program extend out deepest sympathy to the Couling family."