A major force in Surrey politics has formed, a group of 50 community leaders that will be pushing for local issues to be addressed in a meaningful way.
Panorama Ridge resident Bob Campbell has been forming the group for weeks, and says the group will be issue-based and will keep any political interests to the side.
Surrey’s Citizen Leaders (SCL), Campbell said, is extremely well positioned to address issues facing this city.
Many of them have been fighting battles in Surrey for years.
“Crime is obviously an overriding thing,” Campbell said in an interview Wednesday. “But at the community level, we all see bylaw enforcement and bylaws as huge to running our communities.”
He said it’s not so much the number of bylaw officers, it’s the way they are dispatched.
“A bylaw officer will drive by a dead-obvious infraction hundreds of times and won’t do anything,” Campbell said.
Unlike typical Surrey residents, the members of SCL are going to bat for their community on an ongoing basis, and know well what is occurring in their area on any given day.
From the meeting on Tuesday night, the group resolved that the status quo is not working.
In that respect alone, the group’s creation and their vocal position does not work for Surrey First, which dominates council, Campbell acknowledges.
That said, the group is going to try to stay politically neutral.
The issues, Campbell said are extremely varied.
“Start with crime, but bylaw is almost bigger than crime,” Campbell said. “People are saying `in my community, people can get away with secondary suites, etc.’ “
Failed community consultation came up at the meeting, with people saying they are frustrated with the lack of their involvement in community plans.
“That process is broken,” Campbell said.
Members of the SCL say there are huge problems with the environment that aren’t being held in check.
“Most people think that the (city’s) tree canopy study is being delayed because nobody wants to get it out before the election because it shows we’re losing trees like crazy, development rules,” Campbell said.
The group is also concerned about the lack of infrastructure that’s not following the pace of development, Campbell said.
Myriad issues will be brought forward in the coming days in the mainstream media and on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
The message will be to advise people to get educated, and avoid voting for slates.
“Look for candidates that are going to solve these problems, and are going to have creative ideas,” Campbell said. “Look for independent candidates, so we can have vigorous debate at council on these issues.”
The group’s Facebook site is at: https://www.facebook.com/SurreyCitizenLeaders