Currently, Surrey residents can’t speak at council meetings except about land use, that needs to change
Surrey, B.C. (September 22, 2021): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis wants to give residents a regular time slot to speak and ask questions about local issues during every council meeting, something that doesn’t exist today.
“Right now, if you’re a resident in Surrey you only get to address council over land use issues,” said Annis. “We spend hours and hours at every council meeting dealing with land use issues and developments, but we never give our residents the chance to talk about anything else, it just doesn’t make sense and I think we need to change things and give people the chance to talk to their mayor and council about any local issues.”
Annis said she will put forward a notice of motion at the next council meeting that would ask staff to find one hour at every council meeting where residents could speak to any local issue of interest to them, including asking questions of mayor and council.
“All of us were elected to listen to our citizens. Giving people an hour to step up and give their perspective on any civic issue is a good way to hear from our residents,” said Annis. “We sit through countless hours involving developments, but our city has more issues in front of it than just rezoning or development applications, and I’d like to hear what else is on the minds of our fellow citizens.”
Annis said the recent decision by Mayor Doug McCallum to ban pro-RCMP supporters from being at council meetings reinforced how hard it is for Surrey residents to speak to their elected representatives about issues that are important to them.
“People should not be ignored. They think politicians aren’t listening, and for good reason,” said Annis. “If we can’t find one hour at each council meeting for our citizens to speak about things that are of interest or important to them, then we really need to ask ourselves what we’re doing here in the first place. I grew up believing that we have two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we talk. I’d love to hear what concerns or interests my fellow citizens have. Who knows, maybe we’ll all learn a thing or two.”
Councillor Linda Annis