The White Rock and South Surrey chapter of the seniors’ advocacy group CARP has come out strongly against Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s move to create a new Surrey police force – and his attempts to ban ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft.
“Now he is restricting and hindering Uber and Lyft from serving Surrey customers,” she added.
Saying that CARP is “once again gobsmacked by (McCallum’s) total disregard for seniors in the City of Surrey,” Kaptyn said the chapter has joined forces with the Keep The RCMP in Surrey, B.C. campaign.
And they will actively participate in gathering signatures for the campaign’s petition – which currently stands at more than 39,000 signees – this Saturday (Feb. 1) and Friday, Feb. 7 in the vicinity of Semiahmoo Centre.
“I don’t know what he’s doing,” Kaptyn told Peace Arch News, noting that she had opposed the move to establish a Surrey force since learning of it in November, and had spoken against it in early December at a public meeting in council chambers.
A South Surrey resident, Kaptyn said she shares the fear that many seniors have about the lack of safety for those venturing out after dark, particularly after the stabbing death of Paul Prestbakmo near Semiahmoo Centre on Aug. 16 .
“We don’t have enough officers as it is, and the mayor won’t hire any more. And it’s going to take a long time to train the ones he does get. As far as CARP is concerned it’s a disaster – and he’s a senior himself.”
Kaptyn said that once the petition reaches 40,000 signatures it will exceed the total of those who voted for the four councillors remaining in McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition – and when it reaches 50,000 it will eclipse the number of voters who put McCallum in office; numbers she hopes will sway the provincial government into putting brakes on the move to a new police force.
“It was not a coronation – it was a split vote,” she said of McCallum’s mandate.
Compounding problems for seniors in the area, she added, are McCallum’s attempts to use bylaw officers to shut down ride hailing services.
Kaptyn said these are one of the few viable and efficient transportation options for seniors, who spend too much time waiting for cabs.
“It’s not as if we have a good transit system,” she said.
“When I shop at Semiahmoo Centre, I see them outside with their shopping bags, waiting for their cab. And often, when I come out of the store, they’re still there – and I’m not a fast shopper.”
McCallum did not respond to a request for comment.