Elections are just few weeks away and all mayoral candidates in Surrey are in search for easy points and more sympathies from potential voters, while ensuring those who already lock their votes that they are the best choice for Surrey. Former Mayor and mayoral candidate Doug McCallum unveiled his platform on Tuesday calling for two year tax-freeze while one of his key opponents Councillor Linda Hepner celebrates results of Vital Signs survey which as per some shows great results achieved by current administration.
In the press statement which was released on Tuesday McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition are calling for “a philosophy that the City of Surrey must return to focussing on services that fall within a tight fiscal framework”.
Safe Surrey released 8-point platform which key element is tax-freeze on period of two years, Reverse Growing Debt Through An Aggressive Repayment Plan, Shut Down The Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC), Eliminate Plans To Build A District Energy Heating System, Cut The City of Surrey Operating Budget By 3 Per Cent, Establish Fixed Cost Public Tenders, Discontinue The Surrey Regional Economic Summit, Reprioritize and Increase Funding For The Parks, Recreation And Culture Strategic Plan.
Tax-freeze which was proposed by McCallum’s team is similar policy which was in place over the eight years of his mayoral term and many are scared that results from this freeze will be similar to those before. McCallum critics are pointing out that tax-freeze would create shortage of service and would cause more problems to Surrey which is already under the heavy burden of problems. But it will remain to be seen if voters in Surrey would support his platform.
Call for discontinuation of Surrey Regional Economic Summit is clear hit on Linda Hepner‘s legacy in the City of Surrey. Surrey Regional Economic Summit it one of her key projects over the last five or six years and was one of the most prominent presentations of Surrey’s “power” and “influence” in regional politics and economics.
“Years of out of control spending, waste and involvement in speculative business ventures have moved the city away from meeting the needs of Surrey residents. This plan puts the taxpayer first, both in terms of allowing the city to address pressing issues and priorities, and by having greater respect for taxpayer dollars”, said McCallum on Tuesday.
McCallum and his team are pointing out that Surrey needs different model of investment of taxpayers money which would benefit all citizens and overhaul of City Hall and their interaction with residents of Surrey.
On the other side Surrey First and their mayoral candidate released statement in which mayoral candidate and councilor Linda Hepner stated that Vital Signs report shows reasons for celebration. This report which was prepared by Surrey Cares and the Surrey Board of Trade as per Surrey First “shows the City of Surrey is on the right track in managing its growth, and also serves to reinforce the very issues Surrey First candidates have pointed to as priorities as the city grows.”
Despite claims by experts and public that situation with crime and public safety is declining, especially in light of recent events and murder of Serena Vermeersch, Surrey First supported by this report claims drop in crime rates in Surrey.
Report states that drop in crime is “11 per cent over the past five years, especially in the areas of violent crime (down 37 per cent), youth crime (down 37 percent) and vehicle theft (down 20 per cent).”
Somehow this report came with satisfactory results among Surrey residents in areas of transportation, public safety and economic development. It would be interesting to hear residents to speak about undelivered promise of LRT, years of waiting on 96B lines, lack of bus stops in area of transportation. If residents of Surrey, especially those in Whalley and Newton, are that much satisfied with level of their safety why then they organized rally last with attended by hundreds of people calling on municipal government to react and start changing situation? If public safety is that great in Surrey why Mayor, as residents learned that on last Council meeting, never informed her colleagues about request for meeting of all three levels of government on public safety?
“The report shows we have a lot to celebrate in Surrey, but we’ve still got work to do. We’re definitely making progress, but a growing city is also going to have to address important issues such as transit and public safety. While the statistics show crime is down in Surrey, the report notes that public safety remains top of mind among our residents”, said Surrey First mayoral candidate Linda Hepner.
It seems that residents of Surrey will have a lot of questions for these two political bodies and their respective candidates, while their strongest opponent Barinder Rasode who recently unveiled her plan to tackle crimes issues in Surrey will need to answer questions related to financial structure of her plan. Rasode who at the moment sits as independent councilor promised last week that financial structure of her crime strategy will be released once her platform is released.
Surrey Municipal elections are on November 15 and first debates between candidates will be held later this month.