SURREY – Last Saturday night all eyes in British Columbia were fixed on only two race, Vancouver and Surrey,everyone was interested to learn what would happen, who will be re-elected or elected and in which direction will go  two the most important municipal centers. While Vancouver race was pretty tight and on moments so interesting, Surrey’s fight for municipal leadership was not so interesting when it comes to tightness between candidates numbers it was more interesting in percentage difference which divide them on final count. Surrey’s fight transformed itself from election race to referendum on political future of the City but also whole community, decisions made on this elections will have a huge reflection on Surrey’s future, by the wish and votes of citizens. 

Historical data will record November 19th as the first ever Surrey Council which will be assembled of only one party, beside that historic event following that was departure of veteran Bob Bose, Surrey Civic Coalition Councillor and former Mayor, from active politics after more than three decades even if that was not expected by almost anyone who followed Surrey civic political scene in recent past. With few days passed away we can say that people of Surrey, at least 25% of them who voted, didn’t go ahead with support to negative campaign which was painting Surrey as one of the worst cities not only in Canada but in Northern America when it comes to crime rates, they didn’t care too much if George Bush was on Surrey Regional Economic Summit or not, and at least why not to say they don’t care for some candidate ideas to build airport in Surrey, probably few hundred billion dollars investment, while they’re attacking Watts new City Hall project in Central City area which should cost way less than $100 million.

All-candidate debate at South Surrey debate (Photo: E.Milavic)

Dianne Watts, or as she was titled by local media Queen of Surrey, was awarded with third term on the top City position with enormous support from those who voted on November 19th elections. If we compare those results (80%) with recent polls contacted for The Globe and Mail which give her support of 68% we can say citizens of Surrey were really eager to support her and ensure she’ll continue to satisfy their needs and wishes. What also contribute to this kind of support to an mayor of the city is hidden in fact that her major opposition didn’t nominate rival candidate who would challenge her stands and idea regarding Surrey’s future. In my opinion realistically looking Watts advantage among any other candidate was also her solid result at the field of cooperation with provincial and federal governments, we can’t forget also world stage recognition which placed her last year at the World’s Mayor #4 rank what opens many doors. Doesn’t matter if we agree or not agree with Watts ideas and projects, present or future, we need to recognize a fact that Surrey is much different city and community since she took Mayoral position, with significant chances brought to our attention following that with clear results of her work which are including new Central City Library, near by skating ring, new sports and recreation facilities and many other improvements. Is Dianne Watts superhero women without mistakes or failures in her political work? No she’s not. Let’s be clear as any other leader Watts was and will be forced to take unpopular moves or in the case of widely mentioned Surrey Regional Economic Summit George Bush visit issuing invitation to someone who’s controversial person but situation like that could be be great teacher what not to do if you want to keep your country and people safe, people who had secure jobs, and stable economic system.

Her colleagues from Surrey First coalition succeed with great results in effort to place all eight of them at the bench for next three years, widely opening doors to continuation of already started projects and to start new significant projects shaping Surrey’s future. Beside already mentioned Surrey Regional Economic Summit, which will probably survive changes and get new additions for its fifth aniversary it’s really important to mention several other projects significant for Surrey’s community and especially families. I’m hoping soon future will give us results of recently started Rakhi projects, started by Cllr. Barinder Rasode, as part of Surrey’s fight against abuse against the most vulnerable parts of the families – mothers, sisters, daughters and other female relatives. Projects like this started by Cllr. Rasode, mother of three teenage children and community devoter, are just one brick in anti-crime fight in Surrey which already give decent but still not final results.  Surrey will never have back persons like Ravinder Kaur Bhangu, innocent worker killed by husband at work place, but I hope that Surrey can educate younger generations at the road of prevention and to teach them how to fight against abuse. Second really significant project which shows in the best light what is a Surrey, diverse – multiethnic – multicultural and above everything open for everybody, is annual Fusion Festival which runs for several days opening doors between different nations and cultures forging stronger relations, friendship or teaching Surrey citizens about different tastes and foods accompanying that with amazing sounds of ethnic music and poetry. For sure Surrey will need to more on ensuring better security and opening more play fields to younger generations if it wants to tackle wide spread fear of crimes and insecurity among citizens or visitors.

Candidates at Newton Library debate on Transportation in Surrey (Photo: E. Milavic)

What to say about leaving Cllr. Bob Bose and SCC results on latest elections? Everyone who knows Surrey well knows that Bob Bose is one of the longest serving public servants, accompanied with great family history and devotion to Surrey, last week results were great surprise. Cllr. Bose will sit at the bench for last time next week on last Council meeting in this term, that will be chance to say farewell to him and thank him for years of service. Knowledgeable expert on many issues especially on transportation, as we saw that during all-candaidates debates, will be missed and almost irreplaceable, but as it usually happens the generation change catch up with Cllr. Bose and opened the door of retirement, even if I’m not so sure he’ll stay away from public life. Who ever enters the politics one, doesn’t comes out so easy someone said once. When it comes to SCC candidates and their results we can easily say voters punished those candidates who come out with the most radical ideas, black pictures regarding Surrey’s future, and in some occasions [not always] lack of respect towards political rivals. Personally I’m pretty satisfied to see young candidate Stephanie Ryan placed significantly high at the scoreboard last week. Ryan’s position gives a great support and encouragement to younger generations to approach politics and take a leadership in the own hands. SCC lost their mentor Cllr. Bose, at least as active politician, but I think he’s ideas and ideals will remain as leading focal point in their future work. Maybe they should rethink some approaches and ideas in effort to made themselves more attractive to Surrey citizens prior to 2014 elections, and also we should hear more of them during this term if they want to keep public interest in their activities and stands regarding Surrey First moves.

And at the end I would like to congratulate all candidates and teams on great social media strategies implemented during these elections, those helped a lot to younger generation to engage and discuss all important  issues. Also I want to congratulate to all winning candidates and their opponents on great campaign, with hopes that Surrey in 2014 will be much better and much modern than it is now.

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