Now that two of Safe Surrey Coalition’s major campaign promises have made it into the council chamber, the city’s members of Parliament had their first sit-down with the newly elected council to lay out the framework for the future.
South Surrey-White Rock MP Gordie Hogg attended the followup meeting Tuesday. Although he said what was discussed was “not for public consumption,” he did offer to Peace Arch News some context as to what was on the agenda.
“We’re just looking at how we can co-ordinate and work more effectively together, both at a federal level and working with the City of Surrey. We want to ensure that we have a good working relationship around all of the issues that they’re dealing with,” Hogg said the next day.
Hogg said that they “didn’t go into details of major issues” but instead laid out the a communications plan, including quarterly meetings, looking forward.
The two issues at the forefront right now, Hogg said, was light-rail transit project and RCMP, with the new council voting last week to abandon both, with SkyTrain to replace LRT and a municipal police force to replace the RCMP in two years.
Asked for his opinion on Surrey’s transition from RCMP, Hogg said it’s a decision that should be made by the city.
“They should be responsible for making their decisions locally. I know that they have done a fair amount of work. They looked at what Richmond did, and Richmond did a fairly exhaustive study and made the decision not to go ahead with (a municipal force). Surrey has decided to go ahead with it, it’s certainly their right and we will support them,” Hogg said.
Surrey’s transition to a municipal force has raised questions on how it will affect the White Rock RCMP, as some resources, such as manpower, are shared between the detachments. For example, at least one Surrey RCMP-marked cruiser was in White Rock in the early hours Sunday after an 18-year-old was shot.
“I spoke with some former RCMP officers that worked in White Rock and they tell me that the (identification) section and the dog section, Surrey has covered White Rock for both of those. Obviously there will need to be some type of discussion with respect to that,” Hogg said.
City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi had told PAN last week that the city is not anticipating any change if Surrey gets a municipal force, however both White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker and White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Daryl Creighton told PAN this week that they want to discuss the issue privately before commenting publicly. A meeting originally scheduled this week has since been pushed back to next week.