My New Year’s Resolution is to find ways to get our residents and taxpayers engaged again, even if Doug McCallum is opposed to listening: Councillor Linda Annis
Surrey, B.C. (January 11, 2022): With the next municipal election just nine months away, Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says every controversy in Surrey over the past three years stems from Doug McCallum’s mistaken belief that winning the 2018 election meant he had a right to completely ignore taxpayers and Surrey residents.
“In fact, the exact opposite is true,” said Annis. “Whether it’s the secrecy and ballooning costs surrounding the Surrey Police Service, pushing a road through Bear Creek Park, banning people from City Hall, using “in camera” meetings to keep discussion from the community, closing the Surrey City Development Corporation that protected city-owned land for the future, or being criminally charged with mischief - every issue has its roots in the mayor’s autocratic approach to governing. He seems to have forgotten we are in a democracy. What’s been missing for the past three years is a complete lack of consultation and community engagement, and that has to change in 2022.”
Annis has promoted a more open, transparent and engaged city hall with recommendations for a policing referendum, 300 new police officers, an independent auditor general, zero tolerance for school portables, a public question period at each council meeting, more public advisory committees, a timely city budget process with real community consultation, and modern opening hours at city hall. Her single biggest priority for 2022 is working to find ways to get residents engaged again after Doug McCallum sidelined them. “The mayor has hidden decision making, and distanced city hall from Surrey families and taxpayers,” said Annis.
“Dianne Watts, Linda Hepner and Bob Bose went out of their way as mayors to engage and involve the people of our city, and that completely disappeared in 2018 when Doug McCallum and his seven councillors were elected. They somehow believed that winning an election gave them permission to stop listening to people,” added Annis.
“The fact is, city council makes better decisions when our residents are part of the process, and I’m going to spend 2022 reaching out. This means holding public meetings on my own to reach out and hear what people have to say. I really believe that input from the public allows government to understand its impact and make better decisions.”
Annis said resolving “big and small issues” across the city must start with a change at city hall that puts residents and taxpayers first, ahead of vested interests.
“Until we change that approach, our residents are going to continue to feel disconnected and ignored by the mayor and his councillors. Listening has to start in the mayor’s office and permeate the entire building including the council chamber. This needs to change to get our city back on track. It may be that the election on October 15 will be our first opportunity to make a change for the better.”
Councillor Linda Annis