LETTER: Surrey’s biggest challenges are ‘recovery homes’ and a mayor whose head is in the sand

We have to wonder when/if one of these “recovery homes” opens in Hepner’s neighbourhood, if it will suddenly become an urgent issue.

Dr. Terry Waterhouse and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner.

The Editor,

Re: “Surrey’s new safety guru,” the Now, Nov. 19.

Surrey’s first director of public safety strategies, Dr. Terry Waterhouse, was quoted in the last issue of the Now as saying, “I think the first challenge is to make sure that I know what the challenges are.” Please consider the following an open letter to Waterhouse:

A big “challenge” in Surrey, and one you one need to be aware of, is the issue of unlicensed so-called recovery homes in our city.

There are many of these homes popping up all over the city, in many neighbourhoods. Apparently, residents of these neighbourhoods do not have to be informed of these “recovery homes” moving in, as they are both unlicensed and unregulated.

Often, we have been told, these homes are run by unqualified people who operate under the label of recovery house but simply run flop houses or crack houses.

On June 29, 2015, I called Mayor Linda Hepner’s office after we had a violent incident spill over into our lives, from one of these “recovery homes” in our community. I then followed up with an email to Hepner, to which I received a generic email response, letting me know that my email had been received and that her office would be in touch with me as soon as possible.

Mr. Waterhouse, almost five months later, we have to assume that Hepner is extremely busy or does not find this issue important. We still have not heard back from her office.

Ignoring it, or pretending it doesn’t exist, isn’t going to make the problem go away. We have to wonder when/if one of these “recovery homes” opens in Hepner’s neighbourhood, if it will suddenly become an urgent issue.

Mr. Waterhouse, I’m sure you will have many challenges that will be placed in front of you in your new position. We have been told by the RCMP that this particular “challenge” is growing fast and has a domino effect throughout the city.

We look forward to seeing improvements in the City of Surrey and look forward to seeing what changes you will bring about to make our city a nicer place to live.

Sadly, we have yet to see anything from our mayor but we look forward to seeing her do the job she was elected to do and perhaps change our opinion of her.

J. Black, Surrey

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