Surrey Matters quiet as political scene heats up

SURREY – Surrey’s political scene is heating up, and shows no signs of cooling down.

Coun. Barinder Rasode split from Surrey First’s "coalition of independents" and is eyeing the mayor’s chair. Linda Hepner has been chosen the mayoral candidate for Surrey First as Mayor Dianne Watts retires from the municipal scene in the city. And former mayor Doug McCallum is attempting a comeback.

Meanwhile, Surrey Matters Voters Association (SMVA), formerly Surrey Civic Coalition (SCC), has been quiet.

Doug Elford, who ran for the slate in the last municipal election, said last Wednesday the party is still "plotting the course" and "waiting for the dominoes to completely fall."

He said he hasn’t even decided if he will be running. "I’m still weighing whether I want to run."

Last year, Elford said it was possible many former SCC candidates would return, the slate was not set in stone.

Elford said last year that part of the SMVA’s strategy this time around will be to get more voters to the polls, noting that poor voter turnout hurt the SCC’s standings in the polls in 2011.

Elford has been outspoken about crime in Newton, even before the tragic murder of Julie Paskall near the local arena last December. He helped form Newton Community Association, hoping to change the area for the better.


Regardless of who plans to run, the slate will be missing at least two candidates from last time around.

SMVA will be without Gary Robinson, who served as its president. Robinson, who served on Surrey council for 12 years, passed away last year from a heart attack.

And former mayor Bob Bose, the last SCC member to hold a council position, isn’t running again.

Despite retiring from civic politics himself, Bose said he’ll be "actively involved."

Meanwhile, GLBT advocate Martin Rooney has been exploring the idea of running for Surrey council, but has not come to any decisions. "I will wait to see who is all in the race," he said Friday.

Rooney has asked Surrey city hall to fly the pride flag on one of its three flagpoles during the city’s pride week celebrations.

And Bob Campbell, vice chair of Surrey’s environmental advisory committee and is past-president of West Panorama Ridge Ratepayers Association, is considering running for council.

"I have been asked quite a bit and I’ve certainly thought about it," Campbell told the Now. "I did have one group approach me and ask me to run for mayor."

-With files from Jacob Zinn