Former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum has recruited four youthful council candidates in hopes of injecting some new blood into the civic election campaign for his newly created Safe Surrey Coalition.
McCallum stood before a small crowd Tuesday morning beside the Newton district policing station and announced his new team.
It includes Surrey Now newspaper editor Beau Simpson – who is on leave from the paper to run for council – lawyer Justin Thind, business owner Rina Gill and community advocate Laurie Guerra.
(Information about the candidates can be found at www.safesurrey.ca).
The coalition also released more details about McCallum’s election platform.
He will scrap the current city police committee in favour of a Mayor’s Integrated Public Safety Council. It will be chaired by the mayor and will be open to the public, except in legal matters or personnel issues.
McCallum also vowed to establish minimum thresholds for police service. He said he will double the number of officers on patrol on any given shift, and accelerate the hiring of 95 more officers by 2015.
He will also double the amount of bylaw officers from 24 to 48; invest $4 million per year over four years into a Crime Prevention through Social Development Strategy, which will invest money into crime fighting not-for-profit groups; and launch a program promoting more involvement with crime prevention programs, including the Surrey Crime Prevention Society.
McCallum also promised to shut down every unregulated drug recovery house in the City of Surrey.
He says his promises will costs $21 million annually and will be paid for with the elimination of the Surrey City Development Corporation ($10 million each year, with the SCDC owing Surrey $70 million in loans, etc.); 25 per cent of taxation from new residents and business ($5 million); and one per cent in budget savings ($6 million).
The savings will include putting an end to the yearly Surrey Regional Economic Summit, McCallum said.
“People are fearful in neighbourhoods across Surrey and are looking for leadership, detailed proposals, and most importantly, a plan for action on the issue of public safety,” he said. “The Safe Surrey Coalition represents a group of candidates with diverse community involvement, political affiliations and professional backgrounds that are united by one overpowering concern: Public safety.