Outlines the achievements of last 9 years
Surrey: The annual State of the City Address was held at Sheraton Guildford on May 14. Mayor Watts addressed the houseful of business leaders of Surrey. The program started with an upbeat video featuring Surrey, its present and its future.
In her speech, the Mayor listed the achievements of her team and spoke about Smart city, City speaks, Sopihe’s place initiatives that are part of transformation process of the City.
Dianne Watts outlined the success of Crime reduction policy, continued progress on economic development initiatives, sustainable community projects and major capital investments. Her entire council was present at the event. Councilor Barinder Rasode, former member of Surrey First team was seen sitting far from the Surrey First team at the event.
On the topic of crime Dianne Watts pointed out that targeted enforcement is on the rise and not the crime. Of late Mayor has been under the line of fire for rising crime and this seemed to be her answer to Barinder Rasode who has been raising the topic of increasing crime in Surrey and how people are feeling unsafe in the city.
In a post event interaction, when Mayor was asked about the tips she would give to her successor to perform the Mayoral duties perfectly, she answered that the she has never taken ‘No’ answer and always found a right way to get around it. Answering to a question by a media person as to why is decided to step down, Watts said, “When I got elected in 2005, I gave myself at the most 3 terms and with that finite amount of time; I wanted to make sure that we were putting things in place, systems and public policy was put in place. I have every confidence that in a few weeks that there will be mayoralty candidate announcement and that individual will carry on and will do extraordinary well.”
Barinder Rasode made following comment on the Mayor Watts speech, “Mayor Watts did a very good job today, outlining very fabulous record and her vision for the City and as we build on that vision one of things that is really important and what I am hearing from the community and businesses is more transparency and openness in reporting crime. Targeted enforcement is good as long as we know what’s going on. The challenge is that right now people are not reporting crime for two reasons, the amount of time it take to get through and second people don’t want their insurance rates to go up. So I think those are things we need to take into account when we talk about targeted enforcement, we need to get better understanding of the kind of crime is taking place in our community.
When asked about whether she is proud of the legacy with Surrey First, she said, “My intention moving forward is to build on the vision, we need to focus on what businesses and residents are saying. The top of mind for people is public safety, secondly we can be fearless and bold but we need to do that within the parameters of caution because we are spending tax dollars. For me public safety, spending at City Hall and transparency are things that we need to enhance.”
Commenting on the Mayor’s Luncheon speech, Linda Hepner, said we started Surrey First together, we sat down, Dianne, myself, Barbara Steele and Mary Martin and started Surrey First. This has been an amazing model, people from all political spectrums joined us and at local level we are getting something done. What worked is the commitment to get work done on ground, for me it has been jobs and business. On being asked about the elections later in the year, she said, “we are long time away from the election, we will be unveiling both new team members and mayoral candidate within the next several weeks.”
Tom Gill spoke said that today was interesting day, Mayor outlined the achievements impressively. We have been working hard to accomplish the things she spoke about, we will continue to make those investments and we are very sensitive to what’s happening into our community. One third of city’s population is under 19, we have to ensure that we have significant infrastructure in place to make sure that youth are not distracted and remain focus and away from crime.