COLUMN: Santa’s sack brimming with gifts for council

Usually when Christmas approaches, Santa Claus sits down with me to discuss some of the gifts he is bringing to Surrey and White Rock news makers.

This year, our contact was limited to a fairly brief cellphone call, largely because he is so distressed at the state of affairs at Surrey council. It has thrown his plans off, in terms of gifts. He and the elves had to do some retooling in the workshop as a result.

Nonetheless, Santa is above politics and is bringing gifts for all, whether they have been naughty or nice. He will be the judge of what type of behaviour people have engaged in.

Here’s some of the gifts he is planning to give. For Mayor Doug McCallum, a set of hearing aids and a good pair of glasses – he needs to be able to see and hear much better when council members indicate they wish to speak.

For Couns. Allison Patton and Mandeep Nagra – free use of moving trucks, so they can once again live in Surrey, the city whose citizens they represent and whose affairs they govern.

For Couns. Linda Annis and Jack Hundial, whose experience with Crime Stoppers and the Surrey RCMP means they have much to offer in the discussion of a new police force, an extra dose of patience and persistence as they try to offer their contributions.

For Coun. Brenda Locke, who served in Victoria as a BC Liberal MLA from 2001-05, a bound copy of Hansard from those days. It will be such calm and relaxing reading, she should easily be able to go to sleep.

For Couns. Doug Elford and Laurie Guerra, some other night-time reading – Surrey’s bylaws and procedures on how council meetings are supposed to operate. It is to their benefit (and all other councillors’) that they understand how a meeting should be run, what abilities councillors have to speak and contribute to the final resolution of a matter before them, and how fairness for one is fairness for all.

For Coun. Steven Pettigrew, (and this won’t be hard), more instances of potential tree removal and environmental degradation that he can bring forward so the citizens of the city are fully aware of them. Santa appreciates a councillor with a strong environmental conscience.

Even though much of the Lower Mainland media has focused on Surrey in the past few weeks, Santa has a much broader view. He has some special gifts for White Rock council members, too.

First he wants to thank them for the gift to all of us of free parking during weekdays. Santa plans to bring the elves to a post-Christmas de-stressing party, and now he can do so in White Rock. He hasn’t yet noticed any special parking areas for sleighs, but hopes bylaw officials will cut him some slack.

For Mayor Darryl Walker, he has a gift of some relaxation time. It has been an incredibly busy first year for the mayor, dealing not only with pledges made during the 2018 election but also the challenges of rebuilding the pier.

He does have gifts for all the councillors, but he has a special gift for Coun. Scott Kristjanson – a box of rubber gloves and another of plastic bags, in case he is called to dog debris duty on the promenade again.

A Merry Christmas to all.

Frank Bucholtz writes Wednesdays for Peace Arch News, as well as at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca – email frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

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