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Death of Democracy Protest in Surrey City Hall



United Citizens of Surrey state that DEMOCRACY HAS DIED IN SURREY and call on the Mayor and Council to listen to and address citizens’ concerns.

January 13, 2020, Surrey, B.C. – The Surrey-based group “United Citizens of Surrey” gathered for a “Death of Democracy” protest in the City Hall foyer and to attend the City Council meeting. This was a protest against democratic procedures not being followed by the Mayor at Council meetings and Councillors’ voices being silenced by the Mayor.

In the foyer, “Death of Democracy” protesters, wearing black, had a skeleton in a casket…….we will likely see their continued presence at upcoming Council meetings. (see photos) “City staff attempted to get protesters to go outside the foyer into the -7 degree weather, but they were adamant about staying as precedents exist; i.e., those supporting McCallum’s budget were allowed to keep their signs at the December 16th meeting.” according to Mahwish Yousaf of United Citizens of Surrey.

At to-night’s Council meeting of January 13th, Councillors Pettigrew, Locke, Hundial and Annis each spoke to the Council about the procedures at December 16th meeting; and, subsequently declined their support of minute approval.

McCallum cautioned crowd about clapping for these Councillors; however, in his Mayor’s report, when he spoke to proceeding to by-laws on plastic bags, he surely did not ask for clapping to desist.

According to Citizen/taxpayer Annie Kaps, “At the December 16th meeting,

  • McCallum pushed through 33 motions (#11 and #15 to 47);
  • not only did Mayor McCallum not follow correct meeting procedures—ignoring point-of-order submissions—the minutes incorrectly recorded (when video viewed) a Councillor’s vote regarding Metro representation;
  • since Mayor does not appear to count Councillors’ votes—never turning his head—it’s almostimpossible for the City Clerk to properly record hands which appear ever so briefly;
  • Mayor urged taxpayers to leave, stating budget item was finished and that other items on theagenda had to be dealt with. Media and a few attendees in the chambers knew differently, as theydidn’t leave until after final reading. Truly an undemocratic move.

The divide in City Council was visible in December 16th meeting, where separate groups rallied for and against a city police force. The meeting was delayed at several points, especially when the Mayor and the remaining four Councillors of his coalition left the chambers. The budget was passed, providing no funding for additional police officers or fire fighters, but earmarking $130 million for transition to a city police force. In August, the provincial government approved Surrey’s plan to transition to a municipal force. The Mayor has stated that the force will launch in the spring of 2020.

The United Citizens of Surrey is an advocacy group dedicated to bringing awareness of Surrey issues and the seeking of solutions through democratic means, all for the betterment of our community.


WHAT: Death of Democracy Protesters
WHEN: Monday, January 3, 2020, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
WHERE: Inside City Hall and during City Council meeting

This article was submitted by a reader from the Surrey Community. You can submit your own community story, press release, event or public notice directly to our Community Board today! We also have advertising and promotional options for businesses.


What Surrey Needs To Change In Order To Be Considered The New Downtown Of Metro Vancouver



By Esther Amankop Udoh

It’s no surprise the population of Surrey is growing at a fast rate. A city known as the suburbs for Vancouver and its downtown area might now have a chance to overtake Vancouver and become the new downtown for the Metro Vancouver Region.

With the insane cost of housing in Vancouver, many are moving to Surrey where the cost of living is a little more tolerable.

With more people relocating to Surrey, the population is on the rise and many central locations like Guildford, Newton, Surrey Central and more, are now becoming the new hub for fun.

A recent report by the Daily Hive discussed the various reasons as to why Surrey could potentially become the new downtown. Various reasons were mentioned, from the accessibility to the real estate opportunities.

While this sounds like an ideal, a new downtown with an affordable cost of living. It’s almost impossible for Surrey to attain the title of Metro Vancouver’s “downtown” without drastic changes being made to the city.

Surrey resident Nicole Gonzalez Filos spoke about her excitement at the thought of Surrey turning into a downtown hotspot.

Filos mentioned her excitement for the growing city and how she looked forward to not having to travel all the way to Vancouver in order to go out and [have fun].

“Many things [can] happen here. The new SkyTrain can be built, because we really do need a new SkyTrain from King George to Newton,” she said. “It would be very helpful for everyone,” she added.

The growth of Surrey also comes with more job opportunities. Filos spoke about the job opportunities that could open up for the residents of Surrey.

“If the city keeps on growing it’ll mean … more jobs for people in Surrey and that will be very good, because they won’t have to go to Vancouver for their job and instead they can do everything right where they live,” she said.

Along with the changes that could bring more job opportunities, and a possible train expansion- a topic which is still up in the air, the changes can also bring a higher cost of living for the residents.

Regardless of the potential rising cost of living. It’s apparent that Surrey would be a suitable place for a new downtown core.

With the new modern buildings, parks, and budding restaurants. Many people can begin walking along the busy streets of Newton and Surrey Central.

However, before any of this can happen, the obvious change for a SkyTrain extension to other parts of Surrey, like a Newton to King George extension needs to be made or at least be a topic for discussion.

Like the Surrey to Langley SkyTrain extension. Which, as of Jan.30th, had its business case approved, with a final approval anticipated to come by the summer.

If all goes accordingly, the construction for the train is expected to start next year, with the train extension running by 2025.

This change is something Surrey residents can expect in the next five years, and something that could further push Surrey to contending for a chance at Metro Vancouver’s new Downtown.

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Surrey residents want Uber and Lyft immediately: Councillor Linda Annis



Surrey, B.C: Councillor Linda Annis wants Surrey residents to have immediate access to Uber and Lyft, just like residents of Vancouver. Annis is calling on the mayor and city staff to ensure ride hailing is available in Surrey and that going forward there are “no obstacles or political games being played” that would restrict or hinder Uber and Lyft from serving Surrey customers.

“We’ve all waited long enough, it’s time to get on with it,” said Annis. “The monopoly of the tax owners is over and Surrey residents should have the same access to Uber and Lyft as Vancouverites. I want assurances from the mayor and our city staff that there will be no more obstacles and that our residents can access this new transportation option immediately. I’m hoping the mayor will stand up for 550,000 Surrey residents, rather than a handful of tax company owners who have had a monopoly for decades.”

Annis said she supports the proposed regional license that would allow Uber and Lyft to operate right across the region. At the same time, Annis says taxi boundaries should be a thing of the past and that taxis should be allowed to pick-up and drop-off anywhere in metro Vancouver.

“The old rules do nothing but protect the monopoly of a handful of taxi owners, and do nothing for the drivers or Surrey residents,” said Annis. “Frankly, governments should get out of the way and let the market and consumers decide what’s best. The times are changing and riders want more choices, so let’s try and catch up with the rest of the world.”

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CARP Seeking Petition Signatures – Gobsmacked at Surrey Mayor’s Disregard for Seniors



The community chapter of Canada’s largest advocacy organization representing 330,000 members has joined forces with the KEEP THE RCMP IN SURREY B.C. CAMPAIGN & will be seeking petition signatures.

Surrey, B.C. (January 29, 2020): The White Rock Surrey chapter of CARP, Canada’s largest advocacy association for older Canadians, is once again gobsmacked by Mayor Doug McCallum’s total disregard for seniors in the City of Surrey.

“First he put a freeze on new RCMP officers and firefighters, then he passed a budget in a matter of minutes that funnelled much needed funds into a Surrey Police Department that few taxpayers want,” said chapter president Ramona Kaptyn. “Now he is restricting and hindering Uber and Lyft from serving Surrey customers.”

CARP is calling on the Mayor, who is a senior himself, to try being a senior without a car who needs a ride home after shopping for groceries, or who needs to go to the doctor unexpectedly, or who has to go somewhere when it’s too cold or rainy to be taking a bus or sky train. Waiting for a taxi can take forever.

But it’s not only the ride sharing debacle that has CARP rattled. Canada’s largest non-profit association representing more than 330,000 older Canadians has joined forces with the KEEP THE RCMP IN SURREY B.C. CAMPAIGN. It is actively seeking more signatures to add to the current petition which already has more than 39,000 signees.

CARP White Rock Surrey feels the Mayor’s new budget will lead to higher taxes which many, especially low-income seniors, will not be able to afford.

“Money is being diverted from many other worthy causes, including new sports facilities, to pay for a new police force. Families, including grandmothers, must get up as early as 4 a.m. to take youngsters to hockey practice because there are not enough rinks,” said Kaptyn.

Some CARP members have also said they are afraid to go out after dark because they do not feel safe. This is going to lead to isolationism, which leads to health problems, which become a needless burden to our already overtaxed health-care system.

CARP National stands with its White Rock Surrey Chapter in demanding that Mayor Doug McCallum reverse his devastating budget, which undercuts a variety of services for seniors, their children and grandchildren. The budget also imposes a hiring freeze on new RCMP officers and firefighters. It’s critical that seniors are safe in their communities in order to reap the considerable benefits of social inclusion in healthy aging.

The Chapter is also supporting initiatives of four Surrey city councillors who are opposing the budget which was passed in a matter of minutes on December 16 amidst loud protests from many Surrey residents in attendance. They are Councillors Linda Annis, Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and Steven Pettigrew. It particularly applauds the recent motion by councillor Brenda Locke calling that “The existing process being followed to consider transition from the RCMP to a Surrey Police Force be immediately suspended until a sufficient, respectful and transparent consultation process that meets the federal, provincial and municipal obligations to consult with our First Nations peoples affected by the proposed changes has been adopted.”

CARP’s reasons for joining forces with those opposing the budget and a new Surrey Police Force are as follows:

  • A new Surrey Police Department (SPD) means fewer officers than we have today: 805 SPD vs 843 RCMP.
  • RCMP guarantee a full contingent of officers, even when officers are off sick or on vacation, while the SPD model cannot back-fill vacancies.
  • RCMP have one officer per car. The SPD model mirrors That of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) which has two officers in a car, reducing overall policing capacity and fewer cars on the road.
  • Car 67, the specialized unit which pairs an officer and mental health professional, will be discontinued under the SPD, all when the need is climbing.
  • Sophie’s Place, which supports children who are victims of abuse and neglect, will have fewer officers.
  • The VPD has more than 1,400 members; the SPD will have barely 800, yet Surrey’s population is growing faster than Vancouver’s and will soon exceed it.
  • The “11 per cent” cost increase of the SPD vs. RCMP cost cannot be verified by anyone at Surrey city hall because the numbers do not appear to be real and don’t add up.
  • With no corporals, staff sergeants, or superintendents, the SPD model offers few, if any, chances for promotion, making SPD less attractive than other forces to career officers.
  • The Mayor proposes running “two” police forces during transition, a costly and chaotic proposition.
  • Surrey doesn’t need the SPD to have a community police board, that can be done now with the RCMP.
  • Training prospective SPD officers will be a serious challenge because the Justice Institute is already at capacity in terms of the officers they can train each year.
  • Changing the badges of the officers will not solve gang crime.

Here is a partial statement from Surrey Councillor Linda Annis “I think the idea of the SPD and the way the Mayor is dealing with it deserves a failing grade. There’s nothing about the transition report that gives anyone any confidence that we’re spending money wisely, or even solving a policing or public safety problem. The Mayor and his four supporting councillors have ignored the community, ignored taxpayers, and are trying to ram through the SPD at any cost. You only must look at the new city budget to see that the transition to the SPD is swallowing up every available dollar, which means no new RCMP police, no new firefighters, and no new rinks, parks or community centres. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to grow, but cutting back on police and firefighters.”

Locations where people can sign the KEEP THE RCMP IN SURREY B.C. petition are as follows:

  1. Art Knapp, 4391 King George Blvd.
  2. Ethical Addictions, 1558 128 St., Ocean Park
  3. Surrey New and Used Building Materials, 17861 64 Ave.
  4. Instant Imprints, 15292 Croydon Dr. , South Surrey
  5. Aquarius Dental, 19390 68 Ave.
  6. Vlassis Greek Taverna, 10026 King George Blvd.
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Misinformation by City Exposed by Surrey Resident



Flaws in the City of Surreys Own Consultation Process Revealed by Local Resident
Qualitative Review Of The Policing Transition Citizen Engagement Survey

SURREY: “The entire Corporate Report CR2019 – R164 with the accompanying Final Policing Transition Citizen Engagement Strategy report is “UNSUBSTANTIATED GARBAGE! The “Strategy” Report provides a minuscule collection of survey respondents’ inputs, amounting to some 2,306 unique tabulations in the supporting excel
spreadsheets to this review. Where are the other 9,977 survey respondents’ inputs / comments which would add up to 12,283? I advise the reader of this review to question every single number stated and presented in this review. To draw his/her own conclusion of the validity, honesty and disingenuousness of both the Corporate Report and the “Strategy” Report, the lack of transparency and correlations between surveys, results and why are their such discrepancies between the excel spreadsheet tabulations and the corporate report.”

Long-time Surrey resident Richard Landale challenges the City of Surrey to defend the errors and omissions in its own reports and states that the city misrepresented the facts to the public on the level of public support for a police transition.

“Of the 2,306 comments tabulated, categorized and totaled there is absolutely no correlation to the assertion that 93% of the population surveyed support the proposal for an SPD. At best of the Commentary Cards gave 43.9% varying degrees of support.”

Councillor Brenda Locke from Surrey Connect highlights the lack of credible evidence in having public support for this police transition. “Despite the Mayor trying to force his agenda and direct how this report was conducted, Surrey citizens have risen up and are seeing the folly of this report and consultation process. Citizens are demanding the facts and honest engagement in this process. As a former Minister, in the provincial government it is shocking to me that the process to date has been so obviously manipulated. Surrey residents deserve better.”

As the process is now in the hands of the Provincial Government, it is their responsibility to ensure that the process moving forward is fair, transparent and truthful. The Minister has the responsibility to ensure that public safety in Surrey and in all of Metro Vancouver is not compromised by this transition. It would serve all parties, especially the public, to hold a proper third party feasibility study, similar to that done in every other community.

Deliberately in an attempt to hide the raw data from the public, the report was quietly released at 4:23 pm on December 23, 2019 and buried in the City of Surreys website without any explanation.

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Single-use plastic shopping bag ban in the works for Surrey



The City of Surrey has led the way on many of the green initiatives in the Metro region. Our Biofuel Facility is the only closed loop operation in North America where 100% of our curbside green bin organic waste is converted into renewable natural gas and high-quality compost. 115,000 tonnes of organic waste is diverted annually from the landfill as a result of Surrey Biofuel.

The next logical step for Surrey is to ban single-use plastic shopping bags.

“This is a simple and effective step that will have an immediate beneficial impact on our city,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “In this day and age where we all can play a role in curbing waste and consumption, there is no reason not to have a reusable shopping bag close at hand for bagging groceries or other goods. I have asked City staff to immediately begin work on developing the proper bylaws so such a ban can be enacted by January 2021.

My Council colleagues are fully in support of this initiative and a Corporate Report will be brought forward within the next month for Council action. I want to encourage Surrey businesses, and some of have already done so, to take the initiative to eliminate single-use plastic shopping bags before the city-wide ban comes into effect on January 1, 2021.”

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