Surrey needs homes, not helipads

City council has some good plans; it can do better.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner recently gave  her State of the City speech, and with it she has shown just how little she cares about the people of Surrey.

Every month, 1,000 new people move into Surrey, a city that already has a problem with affordable and safe housing and overcrowded schools.

Hepner chooses to spend money on a series of helicopter pads to “help those who can afford it.” She should be putting that money into something more appropriate for the majority of the people of this city, such as updating the minimum maintenance bylaw or creating more low-income housing for the people who need it.

As someone who’s on disability, it makes me mad that our mayor thinks it’s more important to make sure the rich (“those who can afford it”) aren’t inconvenienced than to help the majority of the people who live here.

She intends to turn Whalley into another Yaletown, as if that’s what we need in the Metro Vancouver area – another over-priced community where most people can’t afford to live or are told they don’t belong.

I agree that transportation is important, but when the area Hepner plans to build her helipad on is now a tent city, you have to question her priorities.

Whalley certainly does need a facelift, but if Hepner wants to go ahead with her plan of helipads and new condo developments (with units starting at $250,000), maybe a look at other cities which have faced the problem of lack of affordable housing and have done something about it is in order?

Just this past winter, New York City passed a motion that makes it mandatory for developers to set aside 10 per cent of residential units as affordable housing. I’m sure we could teach the Americans a thing or two about how we treat our citizens.

Surrey can do better. With more affordable housing, this city could be a healthier, happier place, and Hepner’s helipads would be the icing on the cake.


Anna Kowalewski, Co-Chairperson

North Surrey chapter, BC ACORN

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