Surrey: Surrey First mayoral candidate Linda Hepner wants the city to become Canada’s most age-friendly community by 2018. Hepner, and Surrey First councillor Barbara Steele, chair of the Seniors Advisory and Accessibility Committee, made the pledge as Surrey, and cities across the country marked October 1st as National Seniors Day.
“Today, more than 62,000 seniors call Surrey home, and in just seven years, that number will grow to more than 100,000,” noted Hepner. “We’re all living longer, so the key is how to enjoy those years and live them to the fullest. Frankly, I think it starts by staying connected to your community.”
Over the past two years, Steele and her committee have hosted 18 community forums across the city in English, Punjabi, Korean and Mandarin, and regardless of the neighborhood, seniors have plenty in common.
Hepner said she wants the city’s age-friendly approach to be “long on practical solutions and short on bureaucracy.” She said, “Our seniors are very practical when it comes to making our city even more livable for seniors,” Hepner said. “They’ve got practical ideas and plenty of experience. Our job at city hall will be to listen carefully and get to work.”
“Surrey seniors want to lead active, healthy lives that matter,” explained Steele. “They don’t want to be sidelined. They really want to stay connected to each other, their families and their neighborhoods. There are a lot of practical things we can do to make the lives of our seniors better as Surrey becomes more and more age-friendly.”
Surrey First’s age-friendly make commitment that they will organize a Surrey Seniors Summit in March, 2015, that will bring seniors, city staff, aging experts and other stakeholders and community leaders together to map out a four-year plan that sets the benchmarks that will make Surrey Canada’s most age-friendly city by 2018. Surrey First will appoint a seniors advocate inside city hall to work with council and staff to ensure seniors issues and perspectives are part of every decision.
They will get increase in the print size of key city signs, making them easier to read and launch a multilingual elder abuse hotline and community awareness campaign. About 17 per cent of Surrey seniors cannot speak English, compared to 15 per cent in metro Vancouver.
The Surrey First committed that more low-cost seniors programming to local community centres will be introduced after their government will be formed. About 45 per cent of seniors live with activity limitations. That number increases to 66 per cent for those over 75. Community centres need to take those numbers into consideration when planning programs that fit seniors.
Surrey First promised that they will include seniors in the planning and design of every new city building, park and community recreation centre.
Work with local developers to ensure an ongoing supply of seniors housing is included in new developments and neighborhoods.
Create a seniors volunteer corps that will reach out to seniors with visits, outings and additional programs designed to keep them connected to their neighborhood and community. Nearly 20 per cent of Surrey seniors live alone.
Ramp up existing RCMP and Surrey Fire Department programs that keep seniors safe, and ensure every Surrey senior has a working smoke detector in their house or apartment.
“Surrey will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the province, with 30 per cent of Surrey residents being under 19,” noted Steele. “But, the number of seniors is increasing every year and baby boomers are living longer than their parents. In fact, in 2021, just seven years from now, more than 17 per cent of our population in Surrey will be seniors, compared to 12 per cent in 2011.”
Barinder Rasode launches 360 degree plan to fight crime
Surrey: Mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode released her ten point plan to crack down on crime and make Surrey one of the safest cities in Canada. The 360-degree plan was developed in collaboration with senior law enforcement professionals and includes new investments in policing and crime prevention, as well as a new Office of Public Safety to coordinate the efforts of Surrey’s crime fighters.
“The wait-and-see approach hasn’t worked – it’s time for action. Both my opponents seem to believe that doing things the same old way will lead to different outcomes, but it is clear to me that only a real change in approach will work. For too long the City has muzzled police and ignored the community’s safety concerns. And, money that should’ve gone into public safety went elsewhere,” says Rasode. “We need to hire more police, and get them out of their cars and into the streets. We need to keep our children out of trouble and on the right track. We need to empower our community leaders to address their concerns. And, we need to crack down on crime when it happens.”
Leading public safety experts agree with Rasode.
“Barinder’s public safety plan is excellent and it will help make Surrey one of the safest cities in Canada,” says Chief Constable Jim Cessford of the Delta Police Department, who helped Rasode develop the action plan. “Her community-based policing model, which incorporates best practices from around the country, is tailor-made for the City of Surrey and will be an effective strategy to reduce crime and improve safety.”
“Surrey is facing a number of public safety challenges and it’s important that new strategies to tackle the issues are based on evidence and can be measured to ensure the highest level of effectiveness. The plan Barinder has developed is comprised of collaborative and innovative solutions that will help reduce crime and set new standards for public safety in Surrey,” says Professor Curt Taylor Griffiths, from the SFU Police Studies Program, who also provided input into the strategy.
The action plan includes 10 key strategies:
- Building a community-based policing model.
- Fostering a sense of community responsibility in our neighbourhoods.
- Engaging community partners to make change.
- Using problem-solving strategies to eliminate the root causes of crime.
- Targeting high-risk and high-crime areas and properly managing chronic offenders.
- Advocating for change in how we treat mental health, domestic violence and youth issues, while protecting our aging population.
- Providing comprehensive care for victims of crime.
- Establishing community courts to solve problems around mental health, addiction and domestic violence.
- Listening to and empowering citizens through community consultations.
10. Keeping young people out of trouble by providing educational, economic, recreational and cultural opportunities.
To help implement the new plan, Rasode will create an Office of Public Safety for the City of Surrey, which will manage policing, fire, by-law services and a new Community Safety Team. The Office will work for the citizens of Surrey to reduce crime and improve public safety.
Each neighbourhood in Surrey has problems unique to that area. To address these issues, the new Office of Public Safety will be responsible for:
- Establishing a funding model to get more officers on our streets.
- Holding neighbourhood meetings to understand concerns.
- Identifying problems and implementing strategies to eliminate the root causes of crime.
- Assigning city staff to assume responsibility of a neighbourhood and be accountable to its residents through an effective reporting structure.
- Researching, hiring and training the new Community Safety Team.
- Building a policing model where community safety personnel respond to non-priority, low-risk calls, so that our police can focus on fighting crime.
Rasode is committed to acting on a number of new safety strategies, including:
- Collaborating with the Surrey School District to determine the most effective ways to deliver drug and gang awareness education.
- Identifying, assisting and 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.
- Dealing with unsightly properties and problem residences. The “broken window theory” proves that addressing petty crimes such as graffiti, fare evasion and broken windows has an effect on reducing violent crime overall.
- Creating an enforceable strategy to hold corrupt or neglectful landlords accountable.
- Using working groups to address the needs of our youth and elderly, families suffering from mental illness, and victims of domestic violence. Working groups on traffic and transportation safety will also be established.
- Providing oversight of halfway and recovery houses in Surrey.
- Curfew checks of offenders with court conditions to ensure compliance.
- Holding interdepartmental public safety meetings to identify problems, develop collaborative strategies, assign tasks and establish a reporting structure that ensures accountability.
“This is a critical time for our city, and we need a public safety model that is based on trust, accountability and community partnerships,” says Rasode. “We have made a lot of progress in our city, but safety is the foundation of happiness and prosperity. When communities live in fear, health suffers and opportunities are lost.”
from 5 Surrey taxi companies,
promises to ban Uber in Surrey
Surrey: Surrey Mayoral candidate Doug McCallum received the endorsement of 5 Surrey taxi companies following a meeting with representatives and executive members. A press release from Doug says that Newton Whalley HiWay Taxi, Surdell Kennedy Taxi, Delta Sunshine Taxi, Guildford Cab Ltd and Pacific Cabs Ltd are the companies who attended the meeting and now offering public support to him.
McCallum received the endorsement after expressing his staunch opinions on fighting the entry of Uber into the Surrey market. The statement quoted spokesperson for the 5 companies Mohan Kang as saying that McCallum’s strong record on transportation issues when serving as the Chair of Translink helped to secure the endorsement.
“Our companies are at a very critical point in history, and it is vital that we have a strong advocate in the Mayor’s chair to fight for our industry’s future. Doug had great success in working with other governments and external partners as Translink Chair, and our group is confident that this experience will be very important in the coming years,” Kang quoted as saying.
The ride sharing service Uber is now attempting to enter the Metro Vancouver market for the second time in 2 years. The unregulated service provides a direct threat to the safety offered by cabs that are legally licensed by both the Passenger Transportation Board and their respective host cities.
This is an issue that McCallum intends to be very vocal about as Mayor.
“I understand the current threat to the Surrey taxi companies from Uber, and the city can no longer sit back and serve as a silent observer while such issues arise,” adds McCallum. “As Mayor, I will be speaking directly to the Passenger Transportation Board in regards to stopping Uber from operating in the City of Surrey.”