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Province 'supportive' of Surrey community-court plan: Watts

Surrey NDP MLAs speak out regarding a recently launched Surrey Accord, which includes the call for a community court, something Mayor Dianne Watts (right) has been advocating for since 2006.  - File photos
Surrey NDP MLAs speak out regarding a recently launched Surrey Accord, which includes the call for a community court, something Mayor Dianne Watts (right) has been advocating for since 2006.
— image credit: File photos

The mayor of Surrey said she is hopeful leading up to a meeting with the justice minister next week that the province will move forward with creating a long-awaited community court in the city.

Dianne Watts told Peace Arch News Monday she is feeling “encouraged” ahead of her meeting with Justice Minister Suzanne Anton set for Feb. 5.

“The minister has been very supportive of the initiative throughout the last number of months,” she said.

While the projected cost is still being analyzed, Watts confirmed the model she presented to Anton proposed the use of council’s current chambers, which will be vacated when the new city hall is officially opened next month.

Watts  began advocating for the new system with the launch of the city’s Crime Reduction Strategy in 2006. The court would be designed to deal with “low-level crime” – including people with addiction problems, offending youth and domestic issues, Watts said.

The call for a community court was echoed by  NDP MLAs Harry Bains (Surrey-Newton), Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers) and Bruce Ralston (Surrey-Whalley), who made a public appeal Sunday for the BC Liberal government to move forward with the initiative.

The court is one facet of the NDP’s proposed Surrey Accord, designed to address reports of increasing violence in the city.

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