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Surrey Police transition hijacked this entire year while other important issues were sidelined: Linda Annis, Mike Bose

Surrey, B.C. (October 16, 2023): On the one-year anniversary of the 2022 municipal election, Surrey First Councillors Linda Annis and Mike Bose say the police transition issue has hijacked the attention of city hall, sidelining other important issues that deserve the attention of mayor and council.

“Too many important issues have been waiting in the wings, all because the police transition is stalled,” said Annis. “The transition has sucked the oxygen out of the room and that means the past year has been about policing and nothing else. It doesn’t matter where I go in the city, people tell me they are frustrated that a single issue has taken up so much of council’s time and energy, while other priorities are ignored. We have a four-year mandate and we’ve already spent one entire year on a single issue. That’s not good enough, our residents expect more from mayor and council, and so they should.”

The Surrey First councillors say they have been to more than 1,000 community events since being elected last October and have racked up more than 10,000 kms as they made their way around the city to meet and hear from residents, local businesses, and community organizations.

“People appreciate the chance to meet and talk,” added Bose. “It’s given us the opportunity to connect with people and better understand their issues and priorities, and while the police transition is important, it’s not the only thing on their minds. When we were elected last October, people expected all of us on council to do more than just deal with policing and the transition. As a result, there’s growing frustration that city hall has pushed everything else to one side. Meanwhile, housing, transit, healthcare, schools, infrastructure, affordability, and the overall growth and future of the city are begging for direction and leadership.”

Annis said any sort of “performance review” of the current city council would find plenty of room for improvement.

“We’re growing by more than 1,000 new residents every month, and with that comes growing pains, particularly around infrastructure like schools, transportation, and healthcare,” noted Annis. “People are excited about Surrey’s potential, but right now they see city hall bogged down with one issue and no real vision for the future of their city. As a city council we should be able to tackle multiple issues and opportunities at once, but these days that’s not the case. You only have to look at the workload and outcomes of city councils under Dianne Watts, Linda Hepner, or Bob Bose to see what’s possible when a mayor and council roll up their sleeves and get to work and refuse to be stalled by a single issue.”

Annis and Bose say they are hoping the police transition can be completed soon, despite Mayor Brenda Locke’s decision to take the provincial government to court.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a little leadership, the right attitude, and a commitment to put Surrey first,” said Bose. “I’m hoping that city council can learn some lessons from 2023, and that we can put those lessons to work for our citizens in 2024. I want my first term on council to be about a lot more than policing, because there’s more to our city than just this one issue.”