Surrey Mayoral race didn’t even officially started and we already have enough material for a substantial discussion and conversation. Ruling Surrey First coalition did they job diligently and decided who is Dianne Watts successor, and who will fill three open seats. Linda Hepner, long-term bureaucrat and Councillor, will try to win mayoral race and to become second mayor from Surrey First ranks since 2005. Start of Cllr. Hepner campaign didn’t work well as she and her advisers hope. One very strange interview in with Surrey’s The Leader newspaper left most of the people in the city speechless and wondering if Cllr. Hepner is the best choice to lead this fast growing community. This is not a first time that Cllr. Hepner left community absolutely stunned and shocked.
On Monday when Surrey Leader published online some sort of conversation/interview with Cllr. Hepner in which was announced that she is Surrey First choice for the next Mayor of Surrey left everybody wondering is she really ready to become the next leader of the city. Wage and almost general thoughts regarding current issues, especially on crime about which she doesn’t have time to speak, we’re displayed in this interview. Anybody who spent more than a year could sit down in front of the microphone and tell you that we need to do something with Campbell Heights, that TransLink has problems in determination of funds distribution or that police needs to do more actual work. Following those Cllr. Hepner went on to talk about three very important issues in the city: Ferris wheel a the waterfront, beach at the Surrey Lake and removal of ice arena from the heart of Newton.
Ferris Wheel: “Why I can’t have it…”
Cllr. Hepner apparently, probably as grandmother, is concerned where the youngest Surrey population will have their fun and enjoy summer months and by some still unexplained reason she thinks that should be waterfront zone near Patullo Bridge and Fraser River.
“Why can’t I have a ferris wheel there? Why can’t I have something that brings kids to the waterfront?”, said Hepner
You must to be very attached from the reality to ask this question and even more than that delusional to think that this idea is possible. Let’s put some facts in line here. Bridgeview neighbourhood is one of the most undeveloped and most untreated communities in the city. Great amount of work expects City of Surrey and residents of the area until this community is considered suitable for future influx of population and considerable development. Area right next to the bridge is full of business which are employing people from this city and paying taxes here and to remove them to any suitable location would cost a lot and would cause great disruption in their business.
Another great, especially from security and safety point, obstacle to this idea are South Perimeter Road which was opened recently and presents one of the most busiest roads in the community and railway track. Right next to it is railway track which is constantly occupied by rails carrying freight and passengers in both directions. To bypass these and to ensure safe access to waterfront area, which now is not, would cost this City extreme amount of money which is not available and could be used for something much more important as for example is crime and public safety issue. And if Cllr. Hepner wants to have a ferris wheel she can have it but in a much smaller scale on her property or someone else’s property if will host it, but at this point City of Surrey doesn’t need it.
Beach, beach…we need beach
“Either bring in some sand, make it a beach, let somebody utilize it, or don’t call it Surrey Lake. Because it certainly isn’t”, claims Hepner.
When it comes to idea to put a beach in the Surrey Lake Park much easier and cheaper option would be to put City staff in action to promote this area and organize activities there in cooperation with partners in the community. Surrey has a Crescent Beach which is also in great need to be promoted more and presented especially to newcomers in the city, and beside that there’s also very accessible beach in White Rock which is anyways one of the most favourable place to rest to the residents of Surrey.
Newton’s biggest problem: Arena, ice arena
It seems that pimps, whores, drug paraphernalia, robberies, shootings, murders, gangs are not problem at all to Linda Hepner and Surrey First coalition. Apparently the biggest problem is ICE ARENA at the centre of the community. Cllr. Hepner claims that there’s no community which has ice arena in its centre. Another point where question regarding total attachment from reality kicks in. In the city of Surrey there’s at least another three community, at the moment, with ice arena at the centre.
“Where else do you see an ice rink in the centre of the community?”, she asks
Fleetwood, Cloverdale and City Centre has it. Any larger city in the area and in the North America has it at the centre as key element of getting community around as ice hockey and skating are national sports and greatest passions same as soccer is in Europe or football to North America in the Summer months.
It seems that some developer, maybe someone who will donate to her campaign, set their eye on the property in question so now City should remove heart of the community just to accommodate wishes and let “mixture of commercial and residential” to come in. It’s not going to happen with people of Newton who are already fed enough with City’s playing with their lives.
Credibility is what this City needs
Instead of having mayoral candidate who will speak about ferris wheels, beaches, removal of community facilities Surrey and busy to address media on issues of crime needs Mayor with hands-on approach. Dianne Watts successor must be someone who will be ready to start from day 1 working on resolution of key issues as crime and to develop comprehensive solution for long-term peace in the community and tackle gang war which is going on at the moment according to many sources. Whoever is elected to be next mayor will need to develop new ways of cooperation with City of Vancouver, BC government, TransLink and federal government on issues of transportation, because current model is not working and after 9 years of promises by Dianne Watts not much happened on this problem. In this area new mayor will need to deal with upcoming transit referendum and which could effect Surrey’s development and growth over the next decades. Economic development, education, and substantial growth (without endangerment to our environment) will also need to be addressed as soon as possible.