BY RATTAN MALL
• ‘Surrey First really means “South Surrey First” – no one speaks for North Surrey’
•Asian Journal had warned about crime being pushed south to Newton last March
Dianne Watts (Photo by Chandra Bodalia)
LAST March, Asian Journal had warned about crime being pushed south to Newton and other areas from Whalley.
Yet Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Surrey RCMP seemed to have been sleeping at the wheel until the horrific beating death of 53-year-old Julie Paskall on December 29 at a parking lot just outside Surrey’s Newton Recreation Centre at 7120 136b.
This week, Bruce Ralston, the MLA for Surrey-Whalley who was a Surrey Councillor from 1988 to 1993, slammed Marvin Hunt, who’s the MLA for Surrey-Panorama as well as a Surrey Councillor, and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.
Ralston told Asian Journal on Wednesday (when I called him up after hearing a rumour that he might run for the mayor’s post in Surrey – and which rumour he firmly denied): “Marvin Hunt who represents the area south of 72nd where actually technically the murder of Julie Paskall occurred said absolutely nothing on this issue – NOTHING!”
He added: “And he’s also refusing to resign as a City Councillor. So he’s staying on. He’s uniquely placed to be a liaison between the provincial government and the City Council since he sits on both, but he doesn’t seem to be doing anything. And he’s not prepared to resign the one job; maybe he should resign both jobs and give it over to someone who’s prepared to speak up for the citizens.”
Ralston also lashed out at Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and her “Surrey First” Councillors.
Ralston said: “I follow what goes on in Surrey very keenly and I am not too very happy with events that are taking place in Surrey and I think it’s been a real failure of leadership at the city level, certainly coming from the mayor and the council that she controls and she has all the seats.”
He told me: “It’s pretty clear that Surrey First really means “South Surrey First” – that’s the mayor’s organization. No one really speaks for North Surrey at all and that’s where most of the people in Surrey live and that’s where many of the problems are at the moment; so, whether it’s in my riding in Surrey-Whalley or Sue Hammell’s riding in Surrey-Green Timbers or Harry Bains’ riding in Surrey-Newton.”
Ralston pointed out that he along with Bains and Hammell met with Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy on December 31 to hear his views on what resources he might need in order to begin to tackle some of these problems.
He said: “Of course there are provincial causations as well. I have spoken out against unregulated recovery houses for at least the last six or seven years as have my colleagues and the provincial government has still to act on those.”
He added: “I’ve lived in Surrey a long time. I feel strongly about the community. My kids have grown up in Surrey and participated in local sports and I am quite concerned about what’s going on in Surrey and with the political energy and the support of my colleagues we are going to do our part to make things better in Surrey.”
Ralston also noted that he is acutely aware of crime problems on his own street in North Surrey alone. Just this Monday a body was found and police said it was a suspicious death. Three or four weeks ago a car which belongs to someone who was murdered off Scott Road was dumped on that street.
He added: “So these are issues that touch all of us in Surrey and certainly I along with most other citizens in Surrey feel that concern. So I am going to do what I can to make things better.”
LAST March, Asian Journal had warned about the deteriorating crime situation in Newton.
I wrote: “Some citizens are worried that the Surrey RCMP’s crime strategy in Whalley, where the new fancy City offices are to be located and where the interests of big money developers are being allegedly facilitated, is pushing crime south to Newton, Guildford and Cloverdale.
“Figures gleaned from the RCMP website itself by a concerned citizen who forwarded them to Asian Journal show that in Guildford, Newton and Cloverdale the sexual assault numbers are up 34%, 49% and 59% respectively comparing 2012 to 2011. In the fourth quarter alone, the incidence of sexual assault in Newton jumped 109% – it more than doubled!
The stats for South Surrey for the fourth quarter: Property Crime up 30%, Business B and E up 29%, Residential B and E up 30%, Theft motor vehicle up 43%, theft from vehicle up 40%.”
This week, I was terribly amused to read that Surrey Police Chief Fordy told the media that he “didn’t realize the significance of the bike patrol, how favourable that was with the community.”
Fordy should ask the Vancouver Police about that!