Doug Elford is president of the new Surrey Community Alliance party, which has announced its intention to challenge Surrey First.

New party announces intention to challenge Surrey First in civic election

Surrey Community Alliance President Doug Elford says “it’s time to challenge the Surrey First monopoly on city council.”

A new “alliance” has announced its intention to run in the upcoming Surrey civic election this fall.

Surrey Community Alliance (SCA) will be replacing the former Surrey Civic Electors and Surrey Matters slates.

“It’s time to challenge the Surrey First monopoly on city council,” said SCA president Doug Elford in a release.

“People of Surrey need representatives who listen to their citizens and their concerns,” added Elford. “We are an alliance that will work with business, community organizations and neighborhoods to bring forward their issues in the next election.”

Elford told the Now-Leader he intends to run but must go through the nomination process.

According to a release, SCA will hold a nomination meeting to field candidates later in the spring.

Elford said the new party will bring together people “from different political stripes.”

“There’s no real debate on council. That’s a real concern,” said Elford. “It’s not healthy to have a one-party council in place.”

Elford said SCA has been in talks with some residents who opposed recent city council decisions, including a road through Hawthorne Park as part of the city’s plan to build a connector road to ease congestion, a Fleetwood housing development on a portion of Eaglequest golf course, as well as a plan to build 145 homes on property owned by Hazelmere Golf & Tennis Club.

“Where are we going to stop?” questioned Elford. “Is it going to be another golf course? More trees cut down? Citizens don’t feel like they’re being heard.”

Elford said anyone who thinks “they’d provide a good service to the citizens of Surrey” is welcome to get in touch with SCA by emailing surreycommunityalliance@gmail.com.

See also: Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says she will seek re-election

In 2017, Hepner told the Now-Leader she intends to seek re-election, but Surrey First has not yet announced a slate.

Surrey First swept all nine city council seats in the 2014 civic election.

All eight Surrey First council candidates – Judy Villeneuve, Tom Gill, Mary Martin, Barbara Steele, Vera LeFranc, Mike Starchuk, Dave Woods and Bruce Hayne – were elected.

In the 2014 election, former mayor Dianne Watts passed the torch to Mayor Linda Hepner, who received 50,782 votes, nearly double that of her nearest opponent. Safe Surrey Coalition’s Doug McCallum and One Surrey’s Barinder Rasode were far behind, with 27,982 and 21,764 respectively. Hepner took roughly 49 per cent of the vote.

Previously, Hepner served as a Surrey councillor under Watts for nine years.

The next general local government election is set for Oct. 20, 2018.

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