The Town Hall tour continued on Wednesday night this time visiting Guildford area and opening chance to the citizens to meet and ask some very though questions regarding the most important issues for this city centre. As that was a case on previous Town Halls The City of Surrey was represented by two Councillors Barbara Steele and Barinder Rasode, Planning & Development General Manager Jean Lamontagne, Engineering GM Vince Lalonde and several administrative officials. As we saw on one of the previous Town Halls, the Newton one, discussion focus was on crime, community facilities and transportation, Guildford meeting was focused on some different areas. Focus on Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, eternal issue of illegal suites, sustainable energy, community pool and electoral reform which could reintroduce ward system. 

Kinder Morgan expansion

Kinder Morgan recently announced their wish to expand current pipeline in effort to accommodate customer needs mainly from Asia. Investment in this expansion, around $5-billion, would create possibility to the company to ship enough crude oil from Alberta to fill 25 to 30 tankers a month through the company’s Burnaby terminal. According to some calculations this new pipeline, proposed completion date 2017, would attract approximately 400 Super tankers to the Burrard inlet, and one of it’s parts goes through Surrey territory.

Engineering GM Lalonde acknowledge citizens concerns about these issue, adding that the City is still collecting all necessary data and will gave it’s opinion upon completion of that process. On the other side SCC (Surrey Civic Coalition) Council candidate, and community activist, Grant Rice issued strong call to the Council to send strong message to the Harper government that Surrey doesn’t want this expansion and more over to express City’s concerns about safety and health issues. I must to say that I’m supporting Grant’s idea and call to the Council to urge Harper government to pay more attention to this, why not to say that, controversial issue. Citizens security, health and living standards must to be protected and doesn’t matter how important our business relations with Asia are, citizens should be at the first place.

Community pool and it’s size

Completion date, size and project details for the new community pool for this city area were almost the top of the priority list to be asked on this Town Hall. Quick response come from Planning General Manager, Jean Lamontagne, who said pool completion date is sometimes in 2014. According to his words pool length will be 50 meters, will have 8 lanes and will be accompanied by a leisure pool.

Second part of the question was why pool is not designed to have 10 instead of 8 lines? Apparently available space and the City wish to add as many as possible amenities in designated area. More concrete, details should be known in soon future, and I can assure you there will be posted here as soon as they’re available.

Ward system and electoral reform

On almost every single event in the past and that was a case on this Town Hall question of ward system emerged as one of the important and interesting to the voters. Incumbent councillors, in this case Steele and Rasode, recreate their well known previous stand that ward system is not suitable for Surrey and if we reintroduce it would cause more harm than good. Councillor Rasode rememberd everybody what happen when Ward 7 in previous organization come in dispute with other parts and Mayor made decision to leave Surrey and then they formed new municipal organization today known as The City of White Rock. In her opinion this issue should be part of the larger discussion which will be focused on the overall electoral reform process, which intention should be on the strengthening of our democracy and more fair electoral system.

Some citizens in Surrey, especially in the social media world, expressed very sharp opinions about these issues claiming that only ward system could improve situation in the city and it’s abilities to fulfill citizens needs. As I said in a response to one of tweets directed to me regarding this eternal issue, ward system is functioning very well in some areas, in some it doesn’t. Every proposal, including ward system, should be and must be discussed if there’s enough evidence that it would be the best option for Surrey I’ll be first to support it. When it comes to electoral reforms and propositions like this I’m always cautious because I experienced so many experiments without proper discussion and preparation during last two decades in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and those are not allowing me to be hardcore partisan to either of them.

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings: 

North Surrey Town Hall
Mon. April 30, 7:00 pm
City Centre Library

Fleetwood Town Hall
Tue. May 1, 7:00 pm
Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex