Former Surrey Mayor and mayoral candidate Doug McCallum unveiled on Tuesday his ‘Safe Surrey Coalition’ combined of a journalist, business owner, lawyer and community advocate. During the presentation in Surrey’s most troubling neighbourhood of Newton McCallum also unveiled his plan to improve security in the city. McCallum has a plan how to do it, how much it will cost and what would require to be done to accomplish it. McCallum’s coalition is second coalition which will try to win power on November 15th, opposite to ‘Safe Surrey Coalition” will stand Surrey First which was started by his former colleague and women who ousted him from power and who went to lead City of Surrey over the last decade.
In the battle for power in Surrey McCallum will be joined by The Now Newspaper editor (now on leave) Beau Simpson, business owner Rina Gill (run for Council in 2011 on Surrey Civic Coalition ballot), lawyer Justin Thind and community advocate Laurie Guerra.
If wins mayorship McCallum would scrap current Police Committee and would establish Mayor’s Integrated Public Safety Council which would be chaired by Mayor and open to public unless it is required by legal requirements to be closed. This is clear aim at the current situation with Police Committee which is closed for years for public with minutes not available to the public.
On the other hand this can be read as his clear shot on one of his key opponents Barinder Rasode, who’s not yet declared candidate for Mayor of Surrey but it is expected to announce soon. Rasode chaired Police Committee for years and was removed from chair once she started expressing disagreements with Mayor Watts and Council stands on public safety. Over the last few weeks McCallum is very vocal on social media in disagreement with Rasode when it comes to public safety and her record on Police Committee, while does not gives much insight to the public how Police Committee worked and worked with public in his almost decade and a half in Council and as Mayor of Surrey.
Other elements of McCallum’s election platform for upcoming election are establishing minimum thresholds for service levels in accordance with the RCMP contract accountability provisions, doubling the number of police officers on patrol and speeding up the hiring of 95 new RCMP officers to 2015. McCallum also plans to double the amount of bylaw officers from 24 to 48 and to invest $4 million per year over four years into a Crime Prevention through Social Development Strategy.
“People are fearful in neighbourhoods across Surrey and are looking for leadership, detailed proposals and most importantly a plan for action on the issue of public safety. The Safe Surrey Coalition represents a group of candidates with diverse community involvement, political affiliations and professional backgrounds that are united by one overpowering concern: public safety”, McCallum said on Tuesday.
SCDC (Surrey City Development Corporation) is another of McCallum targets. His plan is to scrap SCDC, which was proclaimed by Linda Hepner as successful project in the City, but which is as it is known to everybody in shape which needs to be examined and owes money to the City.
Another aim against Linda Hepner and her record at the City by McCallum and his team is SRES (Surrey Regional Economic Summit) started some six years ago with idea to place Surrey on the map of economic activity in the region. SRES was one of Hepner’s key projects over the last few years and certainly she will try to score some points during upcoming campaign with results achieved with this project. Once this summit was place to welcome world leaders as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George W. Bush and other but today is almost forgotten and last year was not even media covered as much as before. This summit costed City of Surrey and sponsors quite a bit of money for speaking fees and security detail.
McCallum promises will cost will cost $21 million annually though elimination of SCDC, new residents and business in Surrey will contribute with 25 per cent of taxation around $5 million and one per cent would come through City budget savings which would contribute with $6 million.
It remains to be seen what answer in form on election platform will come for Surrey First and their mayoral candidate Linda Hepner who spent last few weeks answering questions regarding her idea to place a ferris wheel to Surrey’s waterfront and how Barinder Rasode will envision her public safety strategy if she decides and when she decides to come in the mayoral race.