SURREY – Mayor Linda Hepner announced which councillors would be assigned to each of the city’s committees during Monday night’s meeting, and established a new business council.
"Every one of these committees does really important work," Hepner said. "Everybody is going to have a very busy time. We’ve got an aggressive program to deliver that we made commitments to over the campaign," she added. Changes include taking Coun. Bruce Hayne off the city’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee and assigning him to chair the Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism Committee, which he’ll take over for Hepner. In his place, newly elected Coun. Mike Starchuk will take over the environmental portfolio, which Hepner said she decided upon because he had shown an interest in the area.
Starchuk will also chair the Agriculture and Food Security Advisory Committee, taking over for Hepner. He was also added as a member of the Seniors Advisory and Accessibility Committee, for which Coun. Barbara Steele remains chair. Coun. Vera LeFranc, who has an extensive background in social work, will sit on the Social Policy Advisory Committee, chaired by Coun. Judy Villeneuve, who also remains chair of the Public Art Advisory Committee. Coun. Tom Gill remains in charge of the city’s financial portfolio, through the finance, audit and internal audit committees. As well, he continues to chair the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, with LeFranc and Coun. Dave Woods as members. Hayne continues to chair the city’s Investment and Innovation Committee, which Steele, LeFranc and Hepner will sit on as members.
Coun. Mary Martin will continue to chair the Diversity Advisory Committee. She will also chair the Mayor’s Charity Ball Committee and the Community Health Programs Committee. Woods will chair the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission and will sit on the Library Board. All of council will sit on the Police Committee, with Hepner as chair. Hepner established a new committee: the Mayor’s Business Advisory Council, to be chaired by LeFranc, with Woods and Hayne as members. "I set that up for the simple reason that we try to liaison with all the business groups but in an ever-growing city there’s ever more business groups," Hepner told the Now. "It’s really just too tough to understand what everybody’s doing and what their issues are, and so I thought it was a good opportunity to get everyone around the table to talk about what each of them are doing within their own associations and then to be able to better describe some of the initiatives we’re working on around economic development and business," she said. "As well, I think it’s an opportunity to talk about processes and red-tape reduction and what they’re hearing from their members as they go about their business." As for resident members of the committees, Hepner said advertising would go out this week for the committees that need to be reassigned. In 2011, council took firm control of committees. Experts previously chaired certain committees. In the case of the Environmental Advisory Committee, the 2011 chair Al Schulze, who has a PhD in linguistics and a lifelong interest in environmentalism, was replaced with the then-newly elected Hayne, who was a managing partner in a communications company. Some took issue with the change, including the committee’s vice-chair, Bob Campbell, as well as then- councillor Bob Bose, who claimed he "flat out refused" to chair the environmental committee in the past because he was worried it would hurt the process.
For a complete list of committees and to see which councillors sit on them, visit Thenownewspaper.com.