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Only the Province Can Do the Right Thing: Councillor Linda Annis

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Peter German’s commentary on cost of a proposed Surrey
Police Department raises even more red flags

Surrey, B.C. After reading the editorial by Peter German, a former RCMP Lower Mainland commander and the author of the recent report on money laundering in B.C., Councillor Linda Annis wants the provincial government to “step up and do the right thing” and shut down Doug McCallum’s plans for a Surrey Police Department until the city’s taxpayers have their say in a referendum.

“Peter German is one of Canada’s most respected former police officers, something the provincial government counted on when they asked him to look into money laundering in British Columbia,” noted Annis. “Mr. German’s editorial in today’s Vancouver Sun reinforces what I said a year ago about taxpayers facing ‘sticker shock’ when it comes to losing the RCMP in favour of a local police department.

His comments and point-by-point assessment of switching from the RCMP to a Surrey Police Department are at the heart of the growing opposition we’re seeing in Surrey to Doug McCallum’s pet project.

The costs are mounting and in the end we will get fewer officers, but pay more. Even more troubling is the fact that nothing about the SPD will make us safer. At the same time there is absolutely no transparency and no one at city hall will stand behind the numbers.”

Annis said Surrey residents should have the final say, not Doug McCallum or his four remaining Safe Surrey councillors. “Only the provincial government can fix this,” said Annis. “The mayor isn’t listening to Surrey residents, even though more than 43,500 people signed a petition to keep the RCMP and thousands of lawn signs are now popping up across the city urging city council to keep the RCMP.

I haven’t seen a grassroots movement like this anywhere in the Lower Mainland before, but the mayor just won’t listen. As a result, only the province can step up and do the right thing here. The provincial government needs to give Surrey residents the final say about policing in our city and that means a referendum.”

In his editorial, German said the quality of policing won’t change with a city force, and that good policing “boils down to having sufficient street resources and specialized units to deliver the level of policing” communities need. German added that Surrey residents should make their own choice about policing, “but with their eyes open” particularly when it comes to costs.

“Trading the yellow stripe of Canada’s national police for the blue stripe of a municipal force must not be a knee-jerk decision taken with blinders on,” explained German. “Taxpayers will endure the consequences for a generation.” Annis said costs are mounting by the day noting at least $129 million in transition costs, 15-20 per cent higher salaries for municipal officers, and a loss of the federal government’s 10 per cent subsidy for the RCMP in Surrey.

“By now, Victoria has heard loud and clear from the citizens of Surrey,” said Annis. “The provincial government needs to be the adult in the room and give our citizens a voice in deciding their police force, which is the single biggest cost in the city’s budget.”

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Over 30 years since major rapid transit investment made in Surrey

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Surrey, BC – March 1990 was when the Expo Line of Sky Train crossed the Fraser River into Surrey. 30 years later there has not been any major rapid transit expansion for BC’s fastest growing city with a population that is fast approaching 600,000 people.

“To say that Surrey has been left behind when it comes to mass transit is a gross understatement,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “The growth that Surrey has experienced in 30 years has been exponential and we are well on track to be the largest city in the province. Families continue to choose Surrey as the place to call home and businesses are setting up shop at a rate of 2,400 new businesses per year.”

In the most recent Council-Land Use meeting, more than $1.7 billion dollars in building projects were given approval to proceed by Surrey City Council, with the majority of new developments slated along the Surrey-Langley Sky Train extension. “Since the introduction of the Expo Line, Vancouver has been served with the Millennium Line, Canada Line, Evergreen Line and now the new Broadway Subway, while Surrey has received nothing,” said Mayor Doug McCallum.

“The people of Surrey are fed up with waiting while other jurisdictions that are growing at a far slower rate receive the lion share of transit funds. On behalf of the citizens of Surrey, the time for new rapid transit in our city is long overdue. Let’s get this done, now.”

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Civic Distinction Awards 2020 Nominations Are Now Open

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The Surrey Civic Distinction Awards 2020 nominations are now open.

The 2020 Civic Distinction Awards (formerly City Awards) are awards of excellence that acknowledge business and community leaders who have made a major contribution to the City of Surrey in their respective fields. By recognizing their work, these awards foster a culture of excellence in Surrey and highlight the people and projects that are leading the way. The award recipients will be announced in early December 2020.

These awards are held every four years and include the following Award Categories: Beautification and Enhancement Award, Design Award, Environmental Award, Heart Award, Arts and Heritage Award, Mayor’s Choice Award and Sport Tourism Award.

Nominate a Surrey resident, organization, group or business at surrey.ca/awards for an award of excellence and demonstrate your civic pride by recognizing outstanding projects that positively impact the City of Surrey.

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City of Surrey launches new website at surrey.ca

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Surrey, BC – The City of Surrey has launched its new website at www.surrey.ca with many enhanced customer features, including easier to find content, better connections to MySurrey accounts, and improved navigation and menu with a vibrant new look.

“This is an exciting next step for the City of Surrey as we continue our focus on providing exceptional services online,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “The new website enables us to provide engaging and dynamic content to inform and better serve our residents. I invite you to explore and make full use of the services, features, and content at the new www.surrey.ca.”

Surrey.ca is the City’s primary digital channel and source of information, receiving over 4 million visits in 2019. During COVID-19, www.surrey.ca has been an especially valued source of information, providing access to services for residents and businesses and demonstrating the importance of a continued shift and emphasis on digital communication and service delivery.

Key features of the new www.surrey.ca website include:

  • Citizens will be more easily able to access website information and content, through a new, user-focused website menu and filters created in consultation with over 1,400 internal and external stakeholders.
  • New vibrant site design, focused on improving usability, including a focus on accessible design.
  • Connecting MySurrey Account into surrey.ca, enabling quicker access to MySurrey online services.

The project moves the City’s website onto a modern open-source Content Management System used by both public and private agencies globally. In 2018, staff commenced developing a new website featuring a new design and changing systems, laying the foundation for future website improvements.

For more information on the City’s new website and to give your feedback on the site’s new design, structure or features, visit https://www.surrey.ca/contact/using-surrey-ca/about-citys-new-website.

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Surrey Libraries Reopening All Branches With Limited Services

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Surrey, BC – Beginning Wednesday, September 9, eight Surrey Libraries branches (City Centre, Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, Ocean Park, Semiahmoo, and Strawberry Hill) will reopen to the public for borrowing and returning materials, computer access, and picking upholds. Port Kells branch will offer curbside holds pick-up service, returns during library hours, and other staff-assisted services. Access inside the building is not available due to limited capacity.

Safety precautions in line with directions of the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC regulations have been implemented at all branches such as access to hand sanitizer, physical distancing signs, enforcing occupancy limits, erecting plexiglass barriers at service counters, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and enforcing a 72-hour quarantine for all returned library materials. To help contribute to a safe environment for everyone, visitors to the library are encouraged to wear a mask and are also asked to stay home if they have any symptoms of illness.

“The measured approach we have taken in reopening our public facilities has been done to ensure the health and safety for our library patrons and staff,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “I would like to thank all of our Surrey Libraries patrons for their patience and our staff for their due diligence and care as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“While Surrey Libraries was able to quickly shift its focus to digital services and offer takeout service with the closure of the branches to help stop the spread of COVID-19, our community has been eager for the library branches to reopen,” said Neelam Sahota, chair of the Board of Trustees of Surrey Libraries. “We’re also eager to welcome our community back to the branches but with new guidelines and precautions to ensure the health and safety of our patrons and staff.”

Services available at all branches except Port Kells include: picking upholds and brief browsing of shelves to select material, computer access (45-minute limit), printing, self-checkout, washroom access, and book drops.

The following services will not be available: in-branch programming, reading or studying in the branch, scanning, booking meeting rooms, and toys and games for children. Patrons are asked to limit their time in the library (up to an hour) and for parents to remain with their children at all times.

Opening Hours at the Branches:

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 10 am to 6 pm
Wednesday: 10 am to 8 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 4 pm
Branches will be closed Sundays and Mondays

Port Kells hours will be the same as they were pre-pandemic:

Tuesday: 10 am to 12 pm
Wednesday: 1 pm to 5 pm, 6 pm to 8 pm
Thursdays & Fridays: 1 pm to 5 pm
Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm

More information can be found on Surrey Libraries’ website, www.surreylibraries.ca.

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We Need to Open Surrey’s Aquatic Centres Now, Not Later: Councillor Linda Annis

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Surrey, B.C. (August 11, 2020) | Councillor Linda Annis wants city hall to reopen Surrey’s pools and aquatic centres this month, rather than waiting until October which is the current plan.

“The mayor is keeping pools and aquatic centres closed to reduce the city’s deficit coming out of COVID-19, meanwhile the $129 million police transition budget remains untouched,” explained Annis.

“There is absolutely no reason not to get on with reopening our pools and aquatic centres. We can meet every COVID-19 requirement today. Instead, the mayor is keeping things closed and those savings are being used to help fund the police transition bill.”

Annis said that after pressure from the community the city recently moved to open more sheets of ice faster than originally planned, and she wants the same approach taken to Surrey’s pools.

“COVID cannot be an excuse any longer, there is no provincial health regulation prohibiting reopening with the right rules in place,” noted Annis. “So, staying closed isn’t a health decision, it’s a political decision by the mayor and his four councillors to save money and then spend those savings on the costly police transition bill.”

Annis said families, children, seniors and swimming and diving teams are all being left out in the cold, something that isn’t necessary.

“No city has better aquatic facilities than Surrey,” Said Annis. “We also have the staff and expertise to open our public facilities and keep them open safely. Community facilities are important to our quality of life and so we should get on with reopening them without delay. If city staff were given instructions to open we could be up and running in days, rather than waiting until October.”

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