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Locke apologizes to 7 residents banned from council chambers on McCallum’s watch

‘These individuals had to endure the adversity of standing up for their rights to participate in the decision-making process of the City of Surrey,’ Locke said
Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke and former mayor Doug McCallum. (File photos)

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke issued an apology during Monday’s council meeting to the seven Surrey residents who were banned from council chambers under former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum’s watch.

“As mayor of the city of Surrey I want to extend our sincerest apologies to the seven individuals who were prohibited from attending council meetings in person by a council resolution adopted on Sept. 13, 2021. These individuals, all Surrey residents, are Annie Kaps, Debi Johnstone, Colin Pronger, Ivan Scott, Merle Scott, Marilyn Smith and Linda Ypenburg,” Locke read from a prepared statement.

“These individuals had to endure the adversity of standing up for their rights to participate in the decision-making process of the City of Surrey. To all I say we are truly sorry,” she said to applause.

READ ALSO: Surrey council refuses to apologize to 7 residents who were barred from meetings

The past council’s Safe Surrey Coalition majority, during a land use meeting on Sept. 13, 2021, passed a motion it said was designed to “protect the democratic process” by banning the seven from attending public hearings in council chambers and to ensure “a safe and respectful environment” for council and staff.

A press release issued by the City of Surrey claimed the seven senior citizens “repeatedly disrupted and verbally harassed” council and city staff during public hearings but would be “provided the opportunity” to submit questions and comments by writing.”

READ ALSO: Surrey councillor feels stymied in quest for answers on legitimacy of mayor’s ban

A petition to the court was filed by Lidstone & Company on behalf of the City of Surrey on Oct. 18, 2021 at the B.C. Supreme Court registry in Vancouver, asking the court to prohibit the seven “from physically attending City of Surrey Council and Committee meetings in person, until Council determines otherwise…”

The banned residents responded by filing a petition in B.C. Supreme Court on Dec. 14, 2021 to have the ban overturned. Six days later, on Dec. 20, council rescinded the ban but offered no apology.

Last August, Locke said it was her “intent for council to offer a formal apology for the pain and suffering arising from council’s motion.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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