Surrey: One Surrey announced their plan for the City. In a news release One Surrey said hat public safety is the number one priority in Surrey, but controlling spending, managing growth and improving transportation are also critical to the success of the city, as the team unveiled a comprehensive plan for creating a safe and prosperous Surrey.
One Surrey claim that only they has created the comprehensive crime plan of the election, and it’s the only plan that can be implemented immediately. It includes hiring more police officers, as well as 200 Community Safety Officers, which will be on the ground by the end of 2015 or else Council will take a 10 per cent wage cut.
“We can’t afford to wait years for new officers to arrive, our neighbourhoods need help now. Everyone in this election wants to be tough on crime. But, our plan is tough and smart. Hiring more police is part of the solution. But, it can’t be our only strategy, because we can’t continue to ignore skyrocketing crime,” says mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode.
One Surrey said that they believes the City can’t keep raising taxes and sinking into debt to cover costs, and will cut one per cent of discretionary spending and reinvest it in the public safety budget. They will also dismantle SCDC, the City’s development corporation, and redirect operational savings to fight crime.
“Surrey doesn’t have a money problem, it has a spending problem. City Hall must start thinking like a taxpayer, because waste and abuse of tax dollars will cripple our city,” says Rasode, who adds spending has increased by $75 million in the last four years, while debt has gone from zero to $245 million.
One Surrey believes the City needs to start managing growth and the economy in a smart and sustainable way. Among the new initiatives, One Surrey will implement a new Agriculture strategy, and launch PlanSurrey, a smart roadmap for growth, development and environmental protection.
“The City of Surrey has failed to manage the rapid growth we are experiencing, and bad planning affects the economy and livability of our city. From clear-cutting forests, to overcrowding schools and botching neighbourhood plans, the current approach is not working.”
One Surrey is also committed to reducing congestion and connecting all town centres with rapid transit, including fast-tracking rapid bus and community shuttle service, and examining a plan to partner with the private sector to build light rail.
“Surrey residents have waited patiently for rapid transit funding and have repeatedly been pushed from the front of the line. If we cannot count on TransLink for support, then we must look to the private sector and think outside the box to build this service our city desperately needs.”
ONE SURREY: A PLAN FOR A SAFE AND PROSPEROUS CITY
1. PUBLIC SAFETY
Cracking Down on Crime
One Surrey is the only team with a 360-degree plan to fight crime – and the only plan that can be implemented immediately.
Our plan was developed with Canada’s longest-serving Chief of Police, Delta’s Jim Cessford. Our team also includes former RCMP officer Merv Bayda and Vancouver Police Detective Kal Dosanjh. Together, they bring 60 years of law enforcement experience to the table.
To crack down on crime, One Surrey commits to:
- Hiring more police officers to maintain the ratio of one officer per 700 people.
- Cutting officer response times in half.
- Doubling the number of officers on the road and in our streets per shift.
- Creating an Office of Public Safety to manage crime fighters and develop neighbourhood-specific strategies.
- Hiring 200 Community Safety Officers, including new by-law and crime prevention officers, to act as the police’s eyes and ears on the streets.
- Getting the 200-member Community Safety Team on the ground by the end of 2015, or else Council will take a 10% wage cut.
- We are serious about this target and are putting our paycheque on the line.
The One Surrey crime plan is guided by 10 key strategies:
1)Building a community-based policing model.
2)Fostering a sense of community responsibility in our neighbourhoods.
3)Engaging community partners to make change.
4)Using problem-solving strategies to eliminate the root causes of crime.
5)Targeting high-risk, high-crime areas and properly managing chronic offenders.
6)Advocating for change in how we treat mental health, domestic violence and youth issues, while protecting our aging population.
7)Providing comprehensive care for victims of crime.
8)Establishing community courts to solve problems around mental health, addiction and domestic violence.
9)Listening to and empowering citizens through community consultations.
10)Keeping young people out of trouble by providing educational, economic, recreational and cultural opportunities.
Caring for Our Communities
A comprehensive and proactive plan to fight crime must address the underlying issues in our communities that create social disorder. One Surrey will care for our communities by:
- Determining the most effective ways to deliver drug and gang awareness education.
- Mentoring high-risk teens to prevent crime before it happens.
- Working with the provincial government to help at-risk youth access skills training and employment opportunities.
- Leveraging the Build Surrey program to create new recreational opportunities that keep youth out of trouble, including building the largest Field Hockey Hub in North America, and the first phase of a Clayton Heights recreation centre.
- Creating more domestic violence awareness initiatives like Barinder Rasode’s Rakhi Project.
- Increasing the role of the RCMP’s Car 67 program, where mental health nurses work with police officers to respond to calls involving emotional and mental health issues.
- Securing funding and providing land to build a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Services in Surrey.
To learn more about our plan to make Surrey one of Canada’s safest cities, read our entire 360-degree plan to fight crime: www.onesurrey.ca/plan_to_fight_crime
2. SPENDING, TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY
Controlling City Spending
It is time to get serious about controlling City Hall’s spending. If the waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars continues, it will cripple our city. Out of control spending hurts our ability to invest in the basic services that reduce crime and strengthen communities.
Under Surrey First, debt has spiralled out of control. In just four years:
- City debt went from zero to $341M ($245M for City, $96M for SCDC).
- Reserve funds shrunk by $40M.
- Spending increased by $75M.
The City of Surrey does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending problem. In those same four years:
- Revenue increased by $90M to $788M.
- Surrey collected an additional $50M in taxes.
City Hall must start thinking like a taxpayer. Surrey needs to become more disciplined about how spending decisions are made and projects are managed. Continuing to raise taxes and sinking into debt to cover our costs is unacceptable.
We have to do better. One Surrey is committed to:
- Completing a core review and an independent “value for dollar” audit of each city hall department within 60 days of taking office.
- We will find the waste and put a stop to it immediately.
- The City Manager will review all purchasing requests over $50,000 until the review is complete and control measures can be implemented. Currently they only approve purchasing requests over $500,000.
- Cutting at least 1% from discretionary spending and reinvesting it in our public safety budget.
- Freezing taxes for two years, relative to the cost of inflation.
- Implementing stricter purchase authorization and contract procurement requirements, to ensure a competitive bidding process that delivers good value for Surrey taxpayers.
Tax revenue is critical for funding important community infrastructure and services; but we must ensure that Surrey’s taxpayers are getting good value and that the full costs are clearly communicated.
Ensuring the City Hall Boondoggle Never Happens Again
The new city hall fiasco is a shocking example of Surrey’s out-of-control spending:
- Project was 50% over budget.
- Taxpayers told estimated cost was $50M.
- Estimated cost was actually $97M.
- Final cost was over $150M.
- This is an abuse of tax dollars that is simply not acceptable.
One Surrey will ensure this type of budget ballooning never happens again. We commit to:
- Complete an independent audit of the new city hall project, to investigate how processes were followed and tax dollars were spent.
- Dismantle SCDC, the City’s development corporation, and incorporate it into City Hall.
Ending the Culture of Entitlement at City Hall
The culture of entitlement that has taken over City Hall has eroded the trust of taxpayers. Surrey cannot move forward until our citizens trust their government again. That means respecting tax dollars and ending the perks that only Surrey’s elected officials enjoy.
To end the culture of entitlement, One Surrey is committed to:
- Ending the overly generous severance provided to elected officials:
- Current policy provides for 3 months of salary for every year served on Council.
- This is not in line with the general practice in the private sector.
- This is a perk that elected officials have granted themselves that we will immediately revoke.
- Stopping the needless trips to foreign countries and strictly monitoring all travel:
- Trips will be publicly disclosed and approved at Council meetings.
- The Mayor spending $60,000 to travel to Puerto Rico, Colombia and Israel in one year will never happen again.
- Putting a cap on expenses for the Mayor, Council and Staff.
- Getting rid of the Mayor’s car allowance.
Enforcing Transparency and Accountability
To restore our citizens’ trust in City Hall, we must also become the most open, accountable and transparent municipality in Canada.
Transparency prevents corruption, promotes fiscal discipline and increases meaningful participation in democracy. It is your money and you deserve to know how your tax dollars are spent. Information should be easy to access and clearly communicated to the public.
One Surrey will enforce transparency and accountability by:
- Requiring the Mayor, Council and Senior Managers to post monthly expenses online.
- Creating a real lobbyist registry to help regain trust in the decision-making process at city hall.
- Posting the Mayor’s calendar online.
To put an end to backroom political decisions, Surrey’s communities need to have a real voice at City Hall.
One Surrey will listen to the community by:
- Establishing a Community Think Tank Team.
- Including public representation on every City committee.
3. SMART & RESPONSIBLE GROWTH
Planning for the Future
Surrey is a rapidly growing city. In the next decade, another 100,000 people will move here. We need to build a sustainable economy that protects our environment, while continuing to create a high quality of life for our citizens.
That means taking action today to ensure we are managing our growth in a smart and responsible way.
One Surrey commits to:
- Making life more affordable for families and keeping taxes low.
- Creating new jobs and ensuring Surrey becomes a magnet for investment.
- Cutting unnecessary regulations so that businesses are not bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.
- Protecting and enhancing our industrial and agricultural land.
- Ensuring Surrey becomes one of the most desirable locations for business in BC:
- Supporting small businesses.
- Enhancing our growing technology, cultural and sport tourism sectors.
- Leading thoughtful planning and building high-quality, sustainable developments that respect the character of our neighbourhoods.
- Establishing full-service counters at our City facilities so residents can pay their taxes and get the services they need without having to travel to City Hall.
Strengthening our Economy
By capitalizing on our assets and getting our finances in order, Surrey can become the economic powerhouse of British Columbia.
One Surrey will strengthen our economy by:
- Freezing taxes for two years, relative to the cost of inflation.
- Launching new business development initiatives, including a StartUp Surrey program to support young entrepreneurs.
- Hiring a General Manager of Economic Development and Investment to fill this position that has been vacated for too long.
- Redeveloping the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, as well as building a Trade Centre and a new sporting facility, to transform the area into an economic and recreational hub.
- Extensive consultation with residents will determine if either a pool or an arena is built.
A third of Surrey’s land base is agricultural and most of it underutilized. We need to stop wasting this valuable resource, which has great economic, food security and quality of life benefits.
The One Surrey agricultural strategy has four major components:
1) Attracting food processing and packaging businesses to Surrey.
2) Creating incubator farms on City-owned land to attract new farmers to the industry:
- Access to land and markets are the biggest impediments to expanding the industry.
- Incubator farms will provide affordable land for new farmers to use for up to 5 years, to hone their skills and develop a concrete business plans.
3) Partnering with educational institutions and local farmers to provide mentorship to new famers, to fill the knowledge gap and provide local expertise.
4) Building a permanent farmer’s market, similar to Granville Island, where the community would have access to local food, arts and culture.
Creating a Smart Roadmap for Growth
The City of Surrey has failed to manage the rapid growth we are experiencing. From clear-cutting forests, to overcrowding schools and botching neighbourhood plans, the current approach is not working. Bad planning affects the economy and livability of our city.
We must consider the long-term consequences of the decisions we make. Too much, too fast is the mistake being made today.
Surrey will welcome 300,000 new residents and 150,000 new jobs over the next 30 years. It is time we developed a smart and balanced growth strategy. One Surrey will work with our community and industry partners to create PlanSurrey – a smart roadmap for growth, development and environmental protection.
PlanSurrey will embody these core principles:
- Refocusing and linking the City’s current strategic plans to achieve our goal of smart, responsible growth.
- Rebalancing the relationship between development and the environment.
- Strengthening our economy and environment by making it easier for the development community to do “the right thing.”
- Prioritizing protection of our natural spaces and tree canopy.
- Creating new and measurable benchmarks for effective land-use planning.
- Ensuring greater opportunity for community input at the outset of neighbourhood planning.
4. TRANSPORTATION & TRANSIT
In today’s world, mobility is essential. Congestion is a real problem in Surrey – it is damaging our economy and quality of life. Families and businesses are fed up with traffic jams and inadequate public transit. We need to get Surrey moving again.
One Surrey will improve transportation by:
- Fast-tracking rapid bus and community shuttle services to connect all town centres.
- Investing in road and intersection improvements, so that families, businesses, cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians and transit riders can get moving.
- Improving traffic flow, including solving parking issues in neighbourhoods and for truck operators.
- Fighting for a fair and equitable regional tolling strategy for Surrey residents.
- Advocating for a six-lane Pattullo bridge.
Delivering Light Rail
Our city has waited patiently for rapid transit funding for too many years. Surrey has been pushed from the front of the twice. If we cannot count on Translink for support, then we must think outside the box to deliver this service our citizens desperately need.
Building a light rail system will improve public transit and air quality, while cutting down congestion.
One Surrey is committed to:
- Delivering light rail transit by partnering with the private sector and coming to the table, as we do with road improvement projects.
- Launching a light rail pilot project down 104th avenue, because Surrey must have rapid transit to move forward.