Surrey 'Matters' of concern

Surrey council’s unelected opposition is already mapping plans for the 2014 municipal election, and will launch a series of public forums starting this month detailing that direction.

The Surrey Civic Coalition (SCC) was shut out from council and won only one seat on the Surrey Board of Education during the 2011 civic election, which saw Mayor Dianne Watts and her Surrey First team sweep council.

To help set its new direction going forward, the SCC  is holding a public forum called Transit Matters on June 26 at the City Centre Library.

The event is a kick-off for the reinvention of the party.

Panelists for Transit Matters include Steve Burke (Surrey Citizens Transportation Initiative), Gavin Davies (VP Canadian Auto Workers), Balbir Mann (Canadian Auto Workers), and Harry Bains, NDP MLA for Surrey-Newton.

Service providers such as TransLink or Coast Mountain Bus Company were not invited.

“TransLink and Coast Mountain could probably come and tell us what they want us to think, but we want to find out what the public thinks,” said SCC President Gary Robinson, a former veteran Surrey councillor.

To the critics who might say the forums are tilted to one side, Robinson doesn’t disagree.

“As a matter of fact it is one-sided, it’s the side that’s not represented at this point when it comes to transportation,” Robinson said. “(That side) needs a voice some place, and we’re going to provide an opportunity for a voice for the people who work and who use it and the people who need it.”

SCC will be videotaping the meeting and putting it online. From there, the group will tabulate the results of people’s comments and draft a paper, which will be forwarded to the city and province.

SCC has already identified some of the other  issues it will be tackling in the next year.

Transit Matters will be followed by Environment Matters, Education Matters and Bylaws Matters.Those four forums will be held over the next year.

“It’s about SCC getting out into the public and offering the public an opportunity to be heard.”

Transit Matters will be held in a room on the second floor of the library that seats 65 people. If the forums are a success, Robinson said future meetings will be held in a larger venue.

Robinson said SCC is reinventing itself, perhaps even considering a new name.

“If you put it under one umbrella – ‘Surrey Matters’ – that sounds like a good name,” Robinson said.

Transit Matters will be held Tuesday, June 26 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the City Centre Library, 10350 University Dr., room 418.

Twitter @diakiw



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