IT’S time to end the culture of complacency in Surrey and fix the long-standing issues that are holding the city back, says Surrey Councillor Barinder Rasode, who officially launched her campaign for mayor on Saturday afternoon in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd at SFU Surrey.
“Complacency has built a culture of neglect in Surrey. It’s time to get our priorities straight and take decisive action to fix Surrey’s crime problem and move our city forward,” says Rasode. “If people aren’t safe, nothing else matters. So, it’s time to make public safety the number one priority in our city.”
After being introduced by former Senator Gerry St. Germain, Rasode said the upcoming election will be a choice between doing things the same old way or choosing a different approach to the problems in the city.
Rasode, who will release a comprehensive platform in the coming weeks, commits to:
* Reduce officer response times by 50 per cent
* Hire 200 community safety personnel, including new by-law and crime prevention officers
She adds that improving the coordination between Surrey’s crime fighters – police, fire services, by-laws, community safety officers – will be key to improving safety. And, she will work with senior levels of government to implement new addictions and mental health resources, as well as establish a Community Court system to help chronic offenders break the cycle of crime.
Rasode says getting people and goods moving across the city is also critically important to the economic and social success of Surrey.
As part of her plan, Rasode will:
* Deliver rapid transit to Surrey, including Light Rail, more rapid buses and enhanced community shuttle service
* Invest in roads and intersections so families, businesses, cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians and transit riders can get moving again
* Surrey is dealing with serious crime and transportation issues because investments in these areas haven’t kept up with the city’s rapid growth. She says it’s imperative the City plan and manage growth in a smart and responsible way, and now is the time for action because another 100,000 people will move to Surrey over the next 10 years.
* Make life more affordable for families and keep taxes low
* Create new employment & ensure Surrey becomes a magnet for investment
* Lead thoughtful planning, including high quality, sustainable development that respects the character of neighbourhoods
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the past decade, and we have also learned some valuable lessons. But, all the progress we have made is in jeopardy if people don’t feel safe, if our economy is stuck in traffic, and we don’t start managing our growth,” says Rasode. “But, let’s be clear – we can’t fix any of these problems until we start to control spending at City Hall.”
* Restore trust by creating the most open, accountable and transparent municipality in Canada
* Find the waste and abuse of tax dollars at City Hall and put an end to it
* Establish a Community Think Tank Team, and institute public representation on every City committee
“We need to give the community a voice and we need to start respecting tax dollars, because waste and abuse of taxes will cripple our city,” says Rasode. She adds that transparency prevents corruption and stops reckless spending.
She says that municipal governments have the power to affect change quickly and aggressively, if there is the political will to do so.
Over the coming weeks, she will outline a detailed plan on how to execute her vision, which will be realistic, affordable and measurable.
Rasode launched her campaign after an extensive community consultation process with residents and business about how to fix public safety problems and improve the economy of Surrey.