ZYTARUK: Surrey council talks a good game about listening, but will it walk the talk?

ZYTARUK: Surrey council talks a good game about listening, but will it walk the talk?

I guess we have the next four years to find out, but Monday night should give us a pretty good idea

homelessphoto

So let it be written…

You can fight city hall and win.

But this, of course, depends on who’s listening – or not.

Consider the wonderful story of Dane Best, a nine-year-old boy from Colorado who, on Dec. 3, stood up tall in front of his town council and persuaded the politicians to toss out a law prohibiting snowball fights in Severance, the community where he lives and attends Grade 3 at Range View Elementary School.

Bus drivers, maybe school principals and perhaps the grim old curmudgeon down the street might not be so happy about this century-old ban being lifted. Or maybe they are.

But I think it’s marvelous how this young fellow had the spine to see this through.

It happened 2,235 kilometres away, but we’ve also had people here in Surrey who’ve scored a win for the community by taking on city hall. Consider the story of James Perry. I won’t say it’s wonderful, because it began with his young son Cole being badly injured by a speeding car that hit him while he was playing street hockey with his buddies in Fraser Heights.

READ ALSO: Persistent father of injured boy finally sees speed humps built on Surrey street

But what happened after that was wonderful indeed. After two years of relentless lobbying, a fight Perry faithfully fought despite encountering dogged resistance, he got the City of Surrey to build speed bumps on his street, forcing motorists to slow down and thereby making it safer for young and old residents alike.

That was a little over a year ago. On Tuesday night, Perry was among residents who bent city council’s ear, at the finance committee meeting at city hall, concerning some controversial aspects of its first draft budget. The plan, which is up for a vote before council proper next Monday, calls for the postponement of the Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex, among other projects.

The finance committee – comprised of council itself – decided in a five-four vote to send the five-year capital budget to next Monday’s council meeting for further consideration, with Councillors Linda Annis, Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and Steven Pettigrew voting against.

READ ALSO OUR VIEW: LRT offers Surrey’s next council a lesson on listening

READ ALSO: In split vote, Surrey council gives early nod to draft budget

This is a critical test case for this new council.

Pettigrew’s road to getting elected was paved by his I might say valiant fight against the previous Surrey First-dominated council’s unwavering determination to see a road pushed through Hawthorne Park.

He was still embroiled in this struggle less than a year ago, and now, is no longer behind the petitioner’s mic but instead sitting on the decision-making side of the council table.

Doug McCallum came out of the proverbial woodwork in August 2017 to lend his support to Pettigrew and his crew in the Hawthorne road battle.

Speaking of roads, let’s take a trip down memory lane, to July 18, 2018, the day my story entitled “Doug McCallum, Tom Gill already squaring off in Surrey mayoral race” was published, containing this:

“McCallum charged Surrey First ignored community opposition to light rail and opposition to developing a road through Hawthorne Park. He added “the public was in an uproar” when Gill supported a development on the Little Campbell River.

“He hasn’t listened to the community at all.”

READ ALSO: Doug McCallum, Tom Gill already squaring off in Surrey mayoral race

McCallum and Safe Surrey undoubtedly benefited at the polls from the infamy his Surrey First rivals drew upon themselves for not listening to Surrey’s residents.

“Good government comes from having a clear focus on priorities that are important to the citizens,” reads a statement attributed to McCallum, in a pre-election Safe Surrey Coalition press release dated Sept. 25.

Will Doug McCallum and his coalition be good listeners?

I guess we have the next four years to find out, but this coming Monday night should give us a pretty good idea.

So let it be done.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

zytaruk column so let it be done

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The north lane of White Rock’s Marine Drive will be closed to traffic as a result of a decision by council, aimed at providing more table space for waterfront restaurants. (File photo)
White Rock council votes to make Marine Drive one-way route

North lane of waterfront drive to be closed to traffic, allowing for expanded restaurant patios

White Rock waterfront access ramps to be upgraded

Council uses contingency funds to set work in motion

Surrey-based entrepreneur Ekam Panesar, 19, says he’s ready to take on the big delivery apps with his Dishpal App. (Zoom meeting photo)
Surrey entrepreneur, 19, delivers Dishpal as alternative to ‘big’ food/grocery apps

Ekam Panesar got the idea to develop app as a 16-year-old enjoying a summertime meal with his father

Surrey RCMP photo
Police seize loaded gun after car speeds off in Newton

A man and woman were arrested Thursday in an underground parking lot in the 8200-block of Scott Road

Surrey students volunteer for the Cloverdale Rodeo in 2016. The Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation is again awarding scholarships to Surrey students who spend their time volunteering. The deadline for applications is May 21. (Photo submitted)
Thousands of dollars in scholarship money available to Surrey students

Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation offering scholarships, deadline is May 21

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Trina Hunt’s remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Trina Hunt’s family appeals to killer to step forward after remains found in Hope

Cousins also ask Hope residents to think back to weekend Port Moody woman was in the area

The majority of city council votes in favour of this design for a new Salmon Arm flag on Monday, May 10, 2021. (City of Salmon Arm image)
Time for a change: Salmon Arm’s ‘corporate’ city flag is on the way out

Two councillors raise concerns about logo being too corporate for a flag

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A black bear, dubbed Huckleberry by Deep Cove, B.C., residents died on July 31, 2020, after becoming conditioned to food and humans. (North Shore Black Bear Society photo)
Fewer dead bears, more fines: Advocates call for B.C. conservation officer reform

B.C. Bear Alliance wants to see body cameras on conservation officers after more than 600 black bears were killed this past year

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Drug users were shut out of Vancouver’s decriminalization proposal, critics say, demanding redo

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a 3-day supply

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

Most Read