EDITORIAL: Address all ratepayers

Mayors’ state-of-the-city addresses should be open to all, without a cover charge

The Surrey Board of Trade announced last week that because of job action at the Guildford Sheraton in North Surrey, the city’s annual state-of-the-city address by the mayor – scheduled for May 24 – would be postponed until some time in September.

While the announcement serves to remind us that SBOT offers many functions beneficial to all in the city, it also serves to point out the close connection between elected officials and the business group. It’s the same in neighbouring White Rock, where the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce also hosts its respective mayor’s annual state-of-the-city address.

A state-of-the-city address – not unlike the state of the union message in the United States – typically outlines the government’s economic position and includes the leader’s legislative agenda and priorities.

Last year at a luncheon in Surrey, SBOT members and guests got to learn of Mayor Linda Hepner’s desire to attract a waterpark resort to South Surrey (since abandoned by the Canadian affiliate of Great Wolf Lodge) among projects she aimed to fast-track, and, a year earlier in White Rock, chamber members heard Mayor Wayne Baldwin tout projects that included uptown reconstruction, new plans for Memorial Park and the parkade for just off Marine Drive – all planned for fruition this year.

Baldwin notably also spent about half his speech lauding individual “community builders,” people whom he credited with helping make the city what it is today.

Certainly, the description of “community builders” can be awarded to many business people, too, particularly those founders and owners of mom-and-pop shops that helped shape and finance our cities long before the presence of our first big-box store.

However, limiting the state-of-the-city addresses to business groups and their invitees is a tradition that should be reconsidered. Residents – i.e. voters – are also hugely invested in their cities and should be among the first to be privy to any mayor’s plans.

Now that we’re in an election year, with Hepner and Baldwin about to deliver their final states-of-the-city and new soon-to-be-selected mayors destined to lead our cities through the next four, perhaps these addresses should be more inclusive for all ratepayers to be able to attend, without having to pay a cover charge to actually be part of the discussion.

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Two women injured in late-night assault outside White Rock restaurant

‘All he had to do was turn around and leave’ - victim

Surrey school district surpasses projected enrolment

Lastest student numbers as of Sept. 30

Surrey Schools reminds parents, students of cannabis restrictions

District says approach ‘similar’ to alcohol, tobacco policies

Former Surrey cop Dario Devic gets four-month ‘jail sentence to be served in the community’

Former RCMP officer will be under house arrest for two months after Creep Catchers bust in Surrey

SLIDESHOW: PAN’s week in pictures

Highlights from this week’s Peace Arch News

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

UPDATE: Murder victim was brother of slain gang leader

Mandeep Grewal gunned down Thursday in Abbotsford, brother Gavin killed in North Van in 2017

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Man who sexually assaulted teen is declared dangerous offender

Anton Foulds has more than 30 convictions, dating back to 1991

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read

l -->