“Doug Paaji” Announces His New Surrey Police Should Be Ready By July 2020 While Opposition Councilor Say Who’s Gonna Pay The Unknown Extra Costs

Opposition Councillor Linda Annis said the taxpayer money spent on decalling a city vehicle to look like a police car and making a video with stock photos of American police officers digitally altered to appear to be from Surrey is an unconvincing sales pitch when the city needs real answers. Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts also took a few shots at McCallum’s new police toy, saying it’s useles without actual policemen. “You can’t change the shoulder badge and have control over a police force.” Watts said she has heard the city is exploring selling city land, taking money from a homeless and housing fund, and diverting funds from other social programs to pay for it. B.C.’s Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth said he had yet to see any hard financial information. “I guess Surrey is doing what Surrey is doing, but the reality is that we need to see a policing plan. And we’ll go from there,” Farnworth said.

By DESIBUZZCanada Staff With News Files

SURREY – In his first State of the City Address since returning to the Mayor’s Office on Nov 5, Doug McCallum, aka Doug Paaji, used the occasion to announce that the much hyped Surrey police should be up and running in just over a year by July 2020.

But opposing councillors say the Surrey police seems to be a distance pipe dream as much of the administrative work has yet to be done and there seems to be no idea of exactly how much extra it’s going to cost to operate the new police force.

Opposition Councillor Linda Annis said the taxpayer money spent on decalling a city vehicle to look like a police car and making a video with stock photos of American police officers digitally altered to appear to be from Surrey is an unconvincing sales pitch when the city needs real answers.

Annis said Citizens still don’t have specific figures on the cost of the transition from the Surrey RCMP — and costs could balloon far over Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s estimates, reported CTV News.

“This is not a good sales pitch when you’re spending other people’s money,” said Annis after the mayor’s 2019 State of the City Address.

But McCallum, who may only be at the Surrey helm for one term depending on his age if he can run again or win again, pressed on and said the city was on track to get the police force up and running.

“I am proud of what has been achieved in the six months since we took office,” said McCallum, highlighting some of his council’s initial accomplishments. “When I was elected as Mayor, I had two priorities in mind. The first was to quickly deliver on the wishes of the people of Surrey who gave us the mandate to govern, and the second was to make sure the City of Surrey is continually moving forward by having Council, on behalf of the people, do what is best for our city. The work we have done is just the beginning and we will continue to seize on the momentum we have created to ensure that Surrey is constantly advancing and flourishing.”

Two major initiatives were enacted on the evening the new Council was sworn in. Motions were introduced and unanimously passed to begin work on extending the existing SkyTrain network in Surrey from King George Station to Langley City and to begin work on the creation of a Surrey Police Department.

Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts also took a few shots at McCallum’s new police toy, saying it’s useles without actual policemen. “You can’t change the shoulder badge and have control over a police force.”

Watts said she has heard the city is exploring selling city land, taking money from a homeless and housing fund, and diverting funds from other social programs to pay for it, reported CTV News.

“It’s hundreds of millions of dollars, no doubt about it,” she said.

And Annis said the two forces may have to operate at the same time during the transition, which could increase costs even further.

McCallum said a transition plan is expected to be ready to be sent to the provincial government, which will have cost estimates.

It was supposed to be ready by the end of April. The mayor said it would be ready in a few weeks.

B.C.’s Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth said he had yet to see any hard financial information.

“I guess Surrey is doing what Surrey is doing, but the reality is that we need to see a policing plan. And we’ll go from there,” Farnworth said.

McCallum also highlighted the following items that were part of his “to do list” that have been acted upon since taking office:

  • Implement Smart Development to ensure essential services and infrastructure are part of the planning of new communities.
  • No development in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
  • Eliminate backlog in building permits.
  • Hold property tax increase to the Consumer Price Index (Oct. 2018) of 2.9%.
  • Bring the City of Surrey’s debt load under control by taking a pay as you go approach.
  • Eliminate pay parking around Surrey Memorial Hospital and at City Hall.
  • Institute Inadmissible Patrons Program and Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment Program
  • Bring transparency, accountability and fairness with the establishment of an Independent Ethics Commissioner at City Hall.
  • Create Truck Parking and Community Engagement Task Forces
  • Purchase and protect park land in Campbell Heights.
  • Begin planning of a new Track and Field facility at Bear Creek Park and a Kabaddi facility.
  • Increase discount for seniors 70 years and older from 25% to 75% on recreation passes and drop-in admissions.

The 2019 State of the City Address also saw the unveiling of a marked Surrey Police vehicle for the first time. With the Surrey Police Transition Report near completion, Mayor McCallum outlined the public engagement outreach that will be occurring once the report is handed over to the provincial government. Residents will have the opportunity to outline their priorities and what they want to see with Surrey Police in the coming weeks.

 

About the Author

DESIBUZZCanada
Raj Paul Dhillon is an award winning journalist based in Vancouver, Canada. He received his second National Best Editorial Award from the National Ethnic Media and Press Association of Canada, presented to him by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on November 21, 2010 in Toronto. Aside from an extensive writing/editing work with a number of newspapers and magazines (currently the editor of the South Asian LINK newspaper, the oldest South Asian newspaper in Canada), he has also done freelance writing for mainstream publications like The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight newspapers. He holds a degree in Communications and in Film from Simon Fraser University.

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