When we don’t have enough police and firefighters, we put Surrey families at risk: Gordie Hogg, Surrey First candidate for mayor
Surrey, B.C. (September 21, 2022): Surrey First mayoral candidate Gordie Hogg says the city is short 60 firefighters, with just 10 new hires since 2018.
“Families are at risk when Surrey doesn’t have the firefighters and police it needs,” explained Hogg. “Vancouver has about 800 firefighters while Surrey has just 400. Even more concerning is the ratio of residents to firefighters. Vancouver has one firefighter for every 850 residents, while Surrey has one for every 1600. We need to take that shortfall seriously and I want to start by hiring 15 new firefighters each of the next four years.”
Hogg said Doug McCallum has “shortchanged” taxpayers when it comes to core services because he has been “distracted by his police transition and has forgotten about boots on the ground when it comes to both police and firefighters.”
“The fact is he has not been paying attention to the core services that a big city needs,” noted Hogg. “Instead, his attention has only been on his costly police transition that is over budget and already two years late, and ridiculous announcements such as his 60,000-seat fantasy stadium. Meanwhile, Surrey hasn’t hired a new police officer in four years, and the need for more firefighters grows each and every year as Surrey’s population grows.”
Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis said the city is growing by at least a thousand new residents every month, and Surrey should have plans in place that ensure there are enough police, firefighters and public amenities like parks, pools and rinks in order to keep up.
“I’ve watched Doug McCallum deliver four budgets and he’s failed to deliver the police and firefighters we actually need,” said Annis. “Having the right number of first responders, as well as the parks, pools, rinks and community centres needed for a growing population, should be built into five and 10-year plans so that we keep pace and don’t have to play catch up down the road. Falling behind and being forced to catch up is costly and more expensive than having services that expand with our growth.”
Hogg added that running a big city like Surrey “demands that city hall and city council get the core services right, because if we don’t, our residents pay the price down the road.”
“Surrey’s police and firefighters are priorities for me and our council candidates and hiring the people we need will be built into our four-year term,” noted Hogg. “With an annual budget of $1.2 billion, Surrey deserves an open, honest and competent city council that makes sure the services people pay for are there when they need them, and that includes police and firefighters.”