EDITORIAL: Looking back on year in South Surrey/White Rock

Reflecting on the last 12 months

This time of year – with New Year’s Eve hours away and Christmas already in the rearview– often serves as a time of reflection.

It’s a chance to look back on the last 12 months and revel in our accomplishments and, perhaps more importantly, review our missteps.

It’s been a tumultuous year on the world front – led by terror attacks, natural disasters and a U.S. president with an itchy Twitter finger – and locally there has also been much to take note of and debate.

For instance, longtime Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordie Hogg retired from provincial political office in spring, only to pop up a few months later as the area’s newest South Surrey-White Rock MP, the first local Liberal elected federally since 1949.

In the City of White Rock, work began to improve the quality of the city’s water supply and, at long last, a price for purchasing the utility in 2015 was publicly discussed. Midway through 2017, the city took the bizarre step of launching a “rumours and misconceptions” web page meant to debunk “fake news”, which, perhaps predictably, attracted plenty of fake news itself. The summer ended on a somewhat hostile note, when Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Semiahmoo First Nation officials went head-to-head over the planned renovation of Memorial Park, and the year ended in similarly strange fashion, when Baldwin lashed out at the prime minister’s office admonishing Justin Trudeau for a “breach of protocol” when the city was not informed of a byelection visit.

The City of Surrey was certainly not without issues, either – from the battle over Hawthorne Park to the ever-expanding problem of gang violence and drive-by shootings and the never-ending fight to curb the fentanyl crisis that has gripped the city and beyond.

Of course, there was much to celebrate, too – highlighted best, perhaps, by the late-summer success on the ball diamond of the White Rock-South Surrey All-Stars, who marched all the way to the Little League World Series.

And, as we approach 2018, residents continue to grapple with the ongoing housing crisis, be it trying to find a place with affordable rent, to finding a way to buy a home in a red-hot market.

With that in mind, let’s hope that the year ahead not only only brings steps toward solutions for the aforementioned issues, but also fosters a spirit of co-operation and friendliness, rather than hostility among residents and public officials, alike.

Then, perhaps, we’ll have an even longer list of positive news to document in this space a year from now.

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