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Surrey Town Hall: Security, Infrastructure & Bylaws

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The Surrey Town Hall series organized by the City of Surrey as part of the commitment to establish better communication and cooperation with citizens, visited Fleetwood for their final meeting. A group of approximately 45 people gathered at the Surrey Sports and Leisure Complex with a rare opportunity to meet the Mayor and members of the Council and discuss the current state of the community. In attendance were Mayor Dianne Watts and Councillors Barinder Rasode and Marvin Hunt. They were joined by Planning and Engineering GM’s, Jean Lamontagne and GM Engineering, Vince Lalonde.

Security, bylaw enforcement and a the clean up of Fleetwood were the most interesting areas of discussion on Tuesday evening. Tuesday’s Town Hall confirmed that each of our communities are unique within the City, with differences in prioritization of problems and needs.

Residents express concerns to the Mayor and Council

BYLAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS

Municipal government is introducing bylaws to prevent future illegal activities in Surrey due to the high costs of dealing with law breakers. This element of governmental functioning still presents one of the biggest problems for local authorities. Enforcement of bylaws is crucial to help the local government deal with offenders without getting involved in lengthy court processes and placing a strain on resources.

Speaking on behalf of Council, Mayor Watts clearly expressed her wish to see new branch of judicial authority – bylaw courts. These will allow for accelerated proceedings and faster decisions,  followed by an increased rate of implementation of bylaws in Surrey. Utilizing more power from the provincial level would increase the abilities for the municipal governments to fight against those who don’t follow the letter of the law. Currently, a simple legal process could take 3 to 4 years, including numerous possible appeals. According to Mayor Watts, the introduction of bylaw courts could shorten legal battles for up to several years.

This is not the only issue where local government is attempting to move forward despite intergovernmental relations and authority divides. A group of citizens from Newton asked the Mayor and Councillors how they can permit the transformation of a community bingo hall into a potential casino facility in their community. The answer: the City doesn’t have any authority over bingo/casino halls and all regulations are in hands of the Provincial government (BCLC). Community halls are a valuable resource of revenue for the province of British Columbia through gambling, bingo and slot machines. Funds gathered through these activities are used to support amateur sports, arts and community organizations across the Province. However, there’s significant fear among Surrey residents regarding the proposed facility in Newton. The possibilities of addiction, poverty, and financial issues for the most vulnerable populations were of concern. Residents could call on the Mayor and Council to send a letter to the Provincial government, but in my opinion Newton citizens could also write to the local MLA and ask for help in resolving this issue. It is valuable for citizens to learn more about the differences and division of responsibilities of each branch of government in Canada. This understanding helps to clarify the roles of the City and the Province, especially when discussing issues that involve the conflict between the rights and duties of each.

Mayor Watts and Councillor Rasode respond to the issues

CLAYTON – SECURITY, COMFORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE

A group of Clayton area residents  expressed their concerns in hopes to hear more from the elected officials regarding future plans for their community. Coach houses, usually built on the far side of properties, are bringing in a big number of new residents than was anticipated when the area was in development. Those who call Clayton home described that due to a lack of parking space, cars are parked on both sides of some streets. This could potentially compromise security and safety if emergency responders or other essential services providers were unable to access the scene in a timely manner due to the lack of space on the streets. There is a rising fear and concern from the residents that the current state of their streets could lead to an unfortunate incident. A strong promise was given by the City officials that these and similar issues will be looked at and required action will follow as soon as possible.

This group also asked the Mayor and Council to invest more in infrastructure projects, new schools (due to rising population) and for further planning for this vibrant and proud community. I’m not sure when these wishes will be fulfilled,  but I am sure that the City will add them to the list of all other areas in need for more infrastructure, schools and planning.

DRUGS, RCMP AND BLOCK WATCH

Problems with drug dealers and buyers around parks and community buildings in the the city is a battle. Recently we heard some concerns from residents in the Newton area. The residents asked for some important advice on this issue: what to do, how to contact police and what they need to be able to act. We learned from RCMP representative at the meeting that the best solution is a simple phone call providing details on location, car plate numbers or any other suspicious activity without endangering your own safety. A tip from this discussion: a simple pair of household binoculars can be a good tool if you witness suspicious activity in your neighbourhood. Residents being aware and providing information will help the police to combat the drug sellers and other forms of criminal activity.

The City and RCMP, gave kudos to the Block Watch groups and stressed the importance of their activities in the fight against crime at the micro level. Councillor Marvin Hunt discovered the importance of Block Watch when he was searching for the best option for home insurance. He learned that  he could save $200/year on the insurance if  his neighbourhood had a Block Watch. At the time, the neighbourhood did not have one, so Councillor Hunt moved forward with a proposal and became the first leader of the newly – formed Block Watch in his neighbourhood.  Forming a Block Watch is not only beneficial for crime prevention, but also offers incentives for your property’s insurance.

TOLLING, FUNDS AND PROPERTY TAXES

Mayor Dianne Watts, absent from previous meetings due to a trip to Geneva, Switzerland and an unforeseen circumstance when she was back in Surrey, was very open and talkative with attendees. Mayor Watts attempted to answer all questions and addressed issues related to tolling, funds for infrastructure and property tax increases. Mayor Watts explained that her and the Council’s vision is to have fair tolling on all bridges and a fair share of funds collected and distributed. Mayor Watts’ stand is strong on the possibility of an increase in property taxes, expressing that The City of Surrey doesn’t want to burden its residents if they will not get a fair share of projects and investment for their communities.


Mayor Watts addresses Surrey residents at the Town Hall meeting in Fleetwood on Tuesday, May 1st.

Born in Bosnia, Esmir’s interests are in journalism, politics, communications, history, culture, sports, books and technology. He has contributed to some of the most innovative independent media projects to come out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the earliest members of Surrey604, Esmir now resides in Sarajevo working with Bosnian FACE TV.

Community Board

Newton Days is bringing back the Summer Fun!

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Let’s kick-off summer in Newton! The Newton BIA is bringing back Newton days with events all summer. Complete with a farms’ market, kid fun zone, face painting, food trucks, henna and Science World demonstrations, Newton Days has something for everyone.

Throughout July and August, Newton Days will be taking over the Newton Grove on Saturdays from 12-4pm. Open to the community, everything will be free! Each Saturday will feature something different, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook events for more details.

Newton Days is a push to create a more vibrant community within the Newton Town Centre. Get out, enjoy the weather, enjoy the activities, and get to know your neighborhood! Positive events like these in the community are key to the success of Newton and will be more successful with your support!

View All Events Marketing Kit Website

Activities

Farmer’s Market
Face painting
Henna
Food Trucks
Science World demonstrations
Crafts
Live Music
Karate Demonstrations
Re-enactors

Event Partners

Vancity
Friends of the Grove
Surrey RCMP
Surrey Fire Prevention
Science World
Zaklan Farms
Black Belt Academy
North Surrey Minor Football
Studio 73
Ranj Singh
Surrey Re-enactors
Newton Recreation Centre
Surrey Parks and Rec
City of Surrey

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Arts and Entertainment

3rd Annual Groundhog Day in Newton!

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Groundhog Day in Newton returns for the third year of fun. Prepare for a chilling day filled with activities, treats, and live entertainment! Groundhog Day will be taking place in the Newton Grove, next to the Bus loop. Start the day with a free pancake breakfast courtesy by the Surrey RCMP; visit the crafts and games section for some fun activities provided by the Newton Community Centre. And right beside there is the Friends of the Grove tent with free hot chocolate and cupcakes, and while there why not learn a little more about these active community change-makers!

What’s an event without music right? Join Lou Jack and Ginalina as we dance away the cold; and end the day with a special Groundhog themed performance by the Surrey Dance Company and Lou Jack’s prediction! Will we have 6 more weeks of winter, or an early spring?

Groundhog Day is back for another day not to be missed. The event takes place on Saturday, January 28th from 10am-12pm. Come in your pajamas and bring the whole family out for a morning filled with free activities, treats, pancakes, and entertainment.

See you there! And take a look back at Groundhog Day 2016!

About Ginalina
Ginalina is a Juno nominated and bilingual folk singer-songwriter for children and families. She is passionate about finding beauty in the ordinary moments and connecting people, one fun song at a time. Her music and videos can be found on CBC Kids’ Radio stream and Knowledge Network Television.

Her music is energetic and fun, sweet and sentimental, with an array of bluegrass, country, zydeco, modern folk, and west coast styles. Ginalina’s live shows are playful and musically entertaining and engaging, and her catchy songs and actions get children and adults of all ages laughing, roaring, singing, jumping, and clapping! For more info, visit www.ginalina.com.

About Surrey Dance Company
The Surrey Dance Company was originally assembled as a partnership between the City of Surrey and the Arts Council of Surrey as the “Surrey Celebration Dance Team”.

Beginning its artistic journey in celebration of the 2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES at Holland Park, The SCDT has since performed for hundreds of audiences across BC.

Each unique dancer performs at a professional level in their chosen dance aesthetic. As artists in residence at the Thrive Dance Studio and Dance Xpressions, the organization is able to foster diversity in dance as a performing art-Bringing together the community and industry professionals in Surrey and across the lower mainland. For more info, visit http://www.surreydancecompany.com.

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Community Board

Merchant Shoutout: Community Thrift Store

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For Donna Chubb, the Manager of Community Thrift Store, it has always been in her nature to give back. She credits her giving nature to her parents who were passionate about community. Through a combination of passion for volunteering and experience in retail management, Donna and the staff are responsible for the success and growth of the store. Store profits support the Surrey Hospice Society and the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society.community-thrift-store

Newton plays a large role in both the business and Donna’s life. Newton is Community Thrift Store’s only location and is where they have thrived for over 11 years. Donna believes there is a need in Newton for this type of store specializing in quality and affordable thrift goods. Also, Donna connects to Newton at a personal level as her grandparents lived in Newton and her mother grew up here. Newton continues to be a part of her life.

The Community Thrift Store prides themselves on their “consignment quality” products which is evident in the Boutique Section. They look for items that are good quality and items in nearly every category can be found in the store. As a result, this allows them to stay competitive with other thrift stores in the area while simultaneously offering affordable pricing.
Donna attributes much of the business’s growth to her employees and volunteers who consistently provide excellent customer service. The store’s small size allows them to build relationships with customers, knowing many on a first-name basis.  Donna’s staff and volunteers are “caring, honest and fun people who enjoy giving back.” These are only some of the qualities that she believes a volunteer requires and this is why the Community Thrift Store has a diverse group of volunteers from the ages of 16-86. As a result, they have jobs for everyone regardless of their physical or mental abilities, as Donna states, “Volunteers are the greatest asset”.

community-thrift-store-6Contributing to the local community is a huge part of the Community Thrift Store. In addition to supporting the Surrey Hospice Society and the Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society, they also help community members. They offer free items for the homeless providing them with a safe place free of judgement. And community agencies can find practicum placements for clients and students can earn volunteer hours at the store.

Donna and the store have high hopes for Newton. They hope to see it become a vibrant location where people can feel comfortable shopping. Newton is a great location for the store and the community here supports them. Although they may open another location in the future, Donna maintains that this store will always be here in Newton.

The Community Thrift Store is holding their most anticipated event of the year, ‘Night on the Town’ on November 25th from 6-9 pm. The event is extremely popular with customers and their ninth one this year. Christmas decorations fill the store and the best holiday wear is on display for the event. Because Night on the Town has large ques, be sure to line up early! Donna, staff, and volunteers can’t wait to see you come by and have a look at this little gem of a store. You will be amazed at what they have.

Merchant Shout-Out is a monthly Newton BIA program highlighting one business per month within the Newton Town Centre. Tune in every month to hear a new business story! And visit our website for past stories. 

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Community Board

Newton Community Walk – November 4

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Every movement starts with a passionate few that drive change in their neighborhood. It is Newton’s time to take back its streets and galvanize the community by taking ownership of the future to ensure long term vibrancy and optimism for the area. The Newton BIA has adopted streets through the Surrey Adopt-A-Street program within the BIA boundary in part to take back the streets. Taking ownership of our streets within the town centre is a step towards the revitalization and success of Newton. This monthly walk is a positive event bringing the community together from residents, businesses, stakeholders, and government. Collaboration is vital to the success of any community.

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Join us Friday, November 4 at McDonald’s located on 72 Ave near King George at 9 am and get involved in your community! We will be walking the streets, picking up garbage, and conversing about all things Newton. Join us for some community building and end off with treats provided by McDonald’s. Be the change in your community!

RSVP here: info@newtonbia.com

Location:

McDonald’s

13565 72 Ave, Surrey, BC V3W 2N9

Time:

Friday, November 4

9 AM – 11 AM

Attire is based on weather. Closed toe shoes are recommended.

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Events

Spooktacular Newton Returns!

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Spooktacular Newton returns this year for another spook filled day. Prepare for a chilling day filled with activities, trick-or-treating, and entertainment! In its inaugural year, Spooktacular was a great success with an attendance of 3000 trick-or-treaters! The event was received with great enthusiasm, so continuing the event was only natural. Newton lacks great marquee events and Spooktacular can fill that void as an event residents can look forward to annually.

Spooktacular will be taking place along 137th street in the Newton Town Centre with trick-or-treating along the street and dsc_0809many activities to stop by at along your way. Take a pic at the photo booth for a free souvenir of the event and definitely take advantage of the props to spookify your photo. Then take a stroll over to the crafts and games section for some fun activities provided by the Newton Community Centre. And right beside there is the spook theatre if you dare to be frightened, be sure not to spill all your popcorn when you’re jolted with fear! What’s an event without music? Not so good, so make sure to stop by the DJ booth for some Halloween tunes to shake to, and be aware of surprise thriller dance offs throughout the day! Sounds like enough? We think not! Take a ride on the haunted train and walk on over to the dsc_0761petting zoo! Hungry? Stop by one of the food trucks or by some of the many nearby restaurants for a bite. And before going home, take a walk through the pumpkin patch! Pick out a pumpkin, but be sure to choose one that will make the best Jack-o-Lantern, and drop a small donation off at the Surrey Food Bank tent!

Spooktacular Newton is back for another day not to be missed. The event takes place on Saturday, October 22nd from 12pm-4pm. Dress up in your finest costume and bring the whole family out for a day filled with many free activities, trick-or-treating, pumpkins, and entertainment. See you there!

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