The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the provincial government for “immediate action” to ensure the city has adequate policing and firefighting service after council in a five-to-four vote approved the 2020 budget with no more hiring in either of the public safety departments despite Surrey growing by as many as 1,000 residents each month.
“They have no jurisdiction to flip the budget, per se, but at least they have a responsibility to ensure an adequate delivery of services for police and fire services as well so that our business community, our residents are not compromised,” board CEO Anita Huberman told the Now-Leader.
She said the board sent a letter to B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and the Policing and Security Branch “to investigate whether Surrey has an adequate level of policing.”
Huberman noted the provincial government is tasked with maintaining adequate and effective levels of law enforcement, as per the Police Act of B.C.
The city approved its controversial budget on Monday night.
The Surrey Board of Trade was among the many who made a presentation to the finance committee on Monday, prior to the budget being passed.
“We thought the City of Surrey budget needed to have an economic development focus and that includes public safety infrastructure investments,” Huberman said. “The budget passed without public safety infrastructure investments, so we were very disappointed with the approval of the budget, the way that it was.”
She said that as well as Farnworth she’ll also be contacting Liberal MLA Mike Morris, public safety critic and former minister in that portfolio as well, “to assess the situation.”
Toward perhaps intervening?
“Perhaps,” she said.
Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald warns the budget approved Monday will have a “detrimental effect” on policing “and on the health and wellness of our members and municipal support staff.”
“This disparity between resources and calls for service means we will have to review the services we provide,” McDonald said. “Unfortunately, this may necessitate the redeployment of personnel from proactive and community based programs, which we know have a positive impact on crime prevention, to our essential service, frontline policing.”