The Leader’s columnist, Frank Bucholtz, states that the Surrey Civic Coalition has little on which to oppose Mayor Watts and Surrey First for the civic election next November.
Mr. Bucholtz used my comments about the extraordinary number of portables on Surrey school grounds to illustrate his point that it would be hard for SCC to attack Watts and council on the current schools crisis and, like Watts herself, he deflected the blame to the provincial government.
It is true that new school construction is funded by the provincial government. It is also true there has been no new school capital funding for six years. But it is simply not true that there is nothing that Surrey’s council and board of education can do about it.
When Bob Bose (SCC councillor) was mayor, Surrey’s schools faced the same portables crisis that they do now.
In response, council and school board at the time worked in concert to withhold building permits in new subdivisions until the city could be reassured that plans and funding for the required new neighbourhood school was in place.
The result was that business, realtors and the development industry joined in with students, parents, teachers, and school staff to lobby the provincial government for more schools.
And during Bose’s terms, during the Social Credit ’80s and the NDP ’90s, a record number of new schools were built. The municipal council of the day got real results for Surrey’s students.
While SCC supports development and growth that will make our city stronger and a better place to live, it is simply irresponsible to continue to encourage virtually unlimited development in those neighbourhoods where the number of portables has reached crisis proportion.
Is the school crisis an important issue? The SCC thinks so. But ultimately the voters will decide.
Former SCC presiden
Candidate for city council