SURREY â€” Surrey mayoral candidate John Edwards has revealed his election platform.
"I want to be part of the debate," said Edwards, who has lived in Surrey since 1994.
The independent candidate announced his five-point plan at the Eaglequest Coyote Creek Gold Course on Friday (Sept. 26), touching on transportation, public safety, disaster relief, vehicular emissions, tourism and job creation, and council accountability.
The Newton resident told a small group of reporters that he would like to see a Surrey World Trade Centre built in Cloverdale "to increase regional, national and global opportunities for our local businesses and create job opportunities.
"All great cities have a convention centre," he said. "I don’t believe we can go much longer without having a convention centre. If we don’t build it, and we have to build it down the road we’re going to have to pay much more money for it, for one thing, and we might be missing good business opportunities."
Edwards said the price tag for this would be about $30 million and could be built on city land.
He has been president of the Rotary Club of Surrey and member of the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society, American College of Healthcare Executives, American Society for Healthcare Risk Management and other organizations. He was rained as a registered nurse and psychiatric nurse in England. "We need to provide better mental health services," he said.
In 1984, Edwards sought federal political office in Mission-Port Moody but was defeated by Gerry St. Germain. "This is not my first foray into political life at all," he said.
Edwards said he would like to see city council go from town centre to town centre to meet with residents and hear their concerns.
As for public safety, he said he would like to see a "surge" in police presences and increased funding for programs like Block Watch, Surrey Crime Prevention Society and victims’ services.
"I know that taxation is always an issue that nobody likes to talk about," Edwards said. "We’re going to have to pay a little bit more through taxation for our safety.
"I’m just saying we cannot afford to do more with less."
Edwards also said Surrey Mounties should be proficient in more languages.
"Most of the police are non-ethnic speaking police officers. It’s a bit of a problem," he said. "We should be looking at ways that we can have a language proficiency program whereby those officers that want to learn some of the more prevalent spoken languages here would have a chance.
"We have to find innovative ways at making the police services more efficient and the efficiency has to do with communicating to residents. And if we don’t have enough police that can speak the more widely spoken ethnic languages then I’m not sure that we’re necessarily deploying those resources effectively."