A new slate has materialized that intends to run in the upcoming Oct. 20 election.
Independent Surrey Voters Association (ISVA) says it is running five council candidates: Asad Syed, Bernie Sheppard, Derek Zabel, Nasima Nastoh and Saira Aujla.
In a release, ISVA says they are “privileged and honoured” to enter the race after hearing “frustrations and concerns of the community.”
The team pledges to bring a “fresh, new and inclusive voice to the governance of Surrey.”
Syed, Sheppard and Aujla were part of the now defunct Surrey Community Alliance team, that disbanded when then-president Doug Elford split to join former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition.
Syed is a realtor and past president of the White Rock Muslim Association, Aujla is also a realtor, and Sheppard is an arts and technology professional.
Nastoh — who has worked with Peace Arch Community Services’ Healthy Family Project and as an outreach worker in Abbotsford — started the Hamed Nastoh’s Anti-Bullying Coalition, after her son’s suicide in 2000, to “raise awareness about the issue of bullying and suicide.”
Derek Zabel, a former journalist who worked in Williams Lake and Terrace, moved to Surrey in 2004 with his family and later began working for Coast Mountain Bus Company and TransLink.
ISVA’s platform is outlined on its website, isva.ca. The slate proposes Surrey transition to a municipal police force, increase the number of bylaw officers and they say they would initiate a referendum on a ward system in the city.
As for housing, the team calls for increasing density with “price controlled” living spaces, with developers required to determine home prices in the application process. Another proposal is that multiple-unit developments be required to sell 20 to 30 per cent of homes to first-time, local buyers and low-income families at a reduced price.
The group also says that if elected, they would also put a “moratorium on the sale of all city land.”
Their platform also calls for more affordable recreation and sports programming, a “much-needed” Mental Health Centre for youth with a focus on addiction, and free transit for youth aged 15 to 21.
“The primary role of any councillor is to be an advocate for the people,” ISVA said in a statement. “There needs to be a vital and active communications link between the people and the city. When we speak with our neighbours and other concerned members of our community, we understand their needs, and hopes for their future.”
ISVA says the community is concerned with urban sprawl and lack of transit “as the area continues to be built up faster than the infrastructure can accommodate.”
“Several are concerned with transparency from local government as they feel elected officials do not listen to their own constituents,” the team added in a release. “ISVA has decided to run to give the people a true voice who will listen and address their concerns. There are many issues that will come before us in the next four years. We look forward to meeting many more people in the community, and solving challenges together with them.”
Other slates running in the upcoming election include Surrey First, led by mayoral candidate and Councillor Tom Gill, former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition, Councillor Bruce Hayne’s Integrity Now team, People First Surrey led by Rajesh Jayaprakash, and the “left-leaning” Proudly Surrey slate with Pauline Greaves as their mayoral candidate.
Surrey voters head to the polls on Oct. 20.