We need balance on Surrey council

The Surrey Civic Coalition filled the remainder of its slate of candidates for city council and the board of education recently.

SCC is not running a mayoralty candidate. We intend to run a very competitive team that will challenge Mayor Dianne Watts to make good on her commitments. Likewise, we will work with her on projects that benefit everyone in Surrey.

The current mayor has a team of councillors under her control – seven out of eight to be exact. So, she is not challenged when key decisions are made. There is seldom a voice of dissent on Surrey First.

SCC believes the mayor must be held accountable and there needs to be other voices on council to hold her feet to the fire, make her keep her promises to Surrey, and speak up when she gets off track.

The only way to do this is with more balance on council. This will allow more ideas and opinions to be shared before key decisions are made in the city. Currently, Coun. Bob Bose is the only SCC representative on council and he is usually outnumbered 8-1.

I have talked with many concerned citizens and organizations in Surrey who feel their issues are not being addressed.

For example, the residents of Grandview Heights, Morgan Creek, Rosemary Heights and Kensington Prairie, formed the Death by Diesel group to fight the truck lane expansion plan on 32 Avenue.

I spoke with a local Surrey businessman who is pushing for a wards system (as is SCC) because he cannot get hold of any councillors whom he can go to for assistance for increased crime around his place of business.

Then there are a growing number of concerned citizens against the City of Surrey inviting George W. Bush to come speak at the Surrey Regional Economic Summit.

Why do the mayor’s councillors not speak up about these issues?I only ever hear from the mayor herself. I wonder if they all agree with her decision or if they simply shut up.

Who is fighting for our fair share of funding for more schools and more transit in Surrey? Surrey is the largest school district in the province and we have more than one student in eight learning in a portable classroom. This is not acceptable.

It’s unfortunate to say, but there are many citizens and organizations that are afraid to speak up.

The public should elect more SCC candidates to council and help Surrey build a strong opposition team on the civic level.

A healthy mix of councillors will give Surrey the balance it needs. With enough SCC councillors elected, “healthy political debate” will return to Surrey council and we will fairly review each and every opportunity by entertaining different ideas and solutions and of course, involving the public along the way.

With more SCC trustees on the Surrey Board of Education, we can work together to plan and coordinate new neighbourhoods that include new schools.

Only the SCC is running candidates for both city council and school trustee because only SCC understands that councillors and trustees need to work together at the planning stage.

Rina Gill

SCC candidate for Surrey cty council













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