Battleground Surrey: Council might be open and transparent but apparently Mayor not so

City of Surrey Council meeting on Monday brought to us another example how this city elected officials are dealing with different issues and situations related to public safety and community relations. Towards the end of the meeting Councillor Mary Martin brought to Council attention information which she received at the Take Back Surrey Rally held on September 28th, 2014 at the Newton Seniors Centre. As per Cllr. Martin community association asked nine months ago, yes you read it properly, nine months ago for a meeting between representatives of all levels of government but it didn’t happened. 

Based on discussion which was presented to you in video above we can conclude that Cllr. Martin is quite right that Council did not knew anything about this request but Mayor and her office did. Cllr. Martin is clearly wrong in conclusion that Mayor was not aware of any requests because that is not true and misinformed public. In the future while addressing Council and Surrey public Cllr. Martin should speak in her own name because her knowledge on particular issue or request does not need to be similar to those of other councillors or Mayor of Surrey. I had a chance to review some of email from trail between Mayor of Surrey, OIC of Surrey RCMP, CEO of Board of Trade and SASC leader Darlene Bowyer and those confirm words of Cllr. Barinder Rasode in video above. As per those emails Mayor Dianne Watts was informed in December of 2013 that SASC (Surrey Association of Sustainable Communities) requested and worked very hard to realize meeting between all levels of government on issues of public safety.

If Mayor didn’t stopped community liaison, at the moment Cllr. Rasode, to organize this meeting and inform public of it content once its held we might even prevent some of the recent events against public safety in Surrey. Knowing that Mayor is not a fan of facing public when it comes to open and frank discussion on many issues particularly not public safety there is not space to be surprised that Council nor public were inform that community ask her and other for meeting.

If we go back to 2012 Mayor Watts, due to other duties, did not attend most of the Town Halls organized by the City and Cllr. Rasode, she almost unwillingly attended second meeting on Newton public safety during which some of her answers were not properly articulated and toned which brought public to wonder if she was really there because wants to have a discussion or to shut down their disagreements with her views of current situation. Also Mayor Watts was no show at the latest Rally on which public clearly expressed their views on public safety in Surrey and asked for quick and efficient solution of numerous problems.

Cllr. Hepner, acting mayor and one of mayoral hopefuls, brought to the discussion issues of hiring “Community Liaison”. If this title and position was properly understood by those who follow municipal government should represent person who will replace councillors and current liaison in contacts with community associations. Many in the community asked on Monday night, mostly on social media, why we need community liaison when there Cllr. Rasode, doing that as part of her regular duties, and when every single Councillor should be all time involved with community and work with as key link between City administration and residents. Very notable notion in few conversations on Monday night was that some Councillors at the City of Surrey should replace this call with more activity and visibility in public out of elections season. It is widely noted that some Councillors are mostly absent from public events or show at the only for opening/closing ceremonies and after that are non-existent to public.

And to show how unimportant this issue to her and probably to others in the chambers just minutes after she learned that Mayor of Surrey clearly hide informations from them Cllr. Hepner went to to speak about of her favourite stories last few days. That is story about potential coming of Vancouver Whitecaps farm team to Surrey. If you remember well Cllr. Hepner went to Twitter to inform public about a great meeting with Whitecaps just hours after this community learned about another horrific murder this time one of Serena Vermeersch. Instead to ask what Council can go how it can start dialogue with higher levels of government Cllr. Hepner and Cllr. Martin were more interested to learn where we stand with hiring another staffer, which is not necessity at the moment, and how we can get farm team involving youngest residents of the region in situation when we deal with great problems in area of public safety.

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