Surrey's mayoral race: Dhaliwal, Hogg and Sims share their visions for the city
In B.C.’s fastest growing city, the race is on for the top job.
There are eight candidates in the crowded campaign for the mayor’s chair.
The candidates include Gordie Hogg with Surrey First, Sukh Dhaliwal with United Surrey and Jinny Sims from Surrey Forward.
All three have extensive political experience, and all three promise to make things better for the people of Surrey.
“I’m running to make sure that we’re able to clean the mess created by this mayor and council over the last four years,” said Dhaliwal.
Sims said she’s running because “city hall is broken. Over the last four years, we’ve seen a mayor who’s not been focused on serving the people of Surrey, too busy fighting.”
Hogg said Surrey has enormous potential that is yet to be realized.
“We’re growing faster, we have more land than Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby combined. We have enormous potential and just to have the chance to help and be a part of that potential and that growth is too darned exciting to stay away from,” said Hogg.
Hogg said he wants a city hall that gives residents more opportunity to have their say.
“The current council has stopped its engagement with the citizens. People aren’t allowed to speak at the meetings,” he said. “The advisory committees, many of them have been discontinued.”
Meanwhile, Dhaliwal claims those close to the incumbent mayor are being given priority when applying for building permits, and he vows to put an end to it if elected.
“If someone is building a single-family residence, we will issue the permit in three weeks. And if it’s a multi-storey or multi-family building, then we will take three months,” he said.
Sims believes one of the big issues in the election is making sure the city is “fair to everyone.”
“Every corner of Surrey needs investment, not just certain areas. But for the last four years, we have not seen that much.”
She said the city needs more seniors’ centre, childcare centres and buses.
Sims and Dhaliwal both support the expansion of SkyTrain.
Hogg said he wants rapid transit in “the best, most effective way possible.”
When it comes to the divisive issue of policing, the candidates’ views vary.
Sims would suspend the transition to a city police force.
“Get all the data (first),” she said. “You need information. For example, how much is it going to cost to stay with the RCMP and go forward?”
Dhaliwal pledged to “make sure that this transition (from RCMP to city police) is completed in a timely, in an open and transparent way.”
He also said public safety is the number one priority among voters.
Hogg said that for him, the issue is not whether it is RCMP or a city police force but “how they’re going to respond to the needs and what the costs are in terms of doing that.”
He said once this information is known, perhaps a referendum is the best way to reach a decision.
Sims says one of the top concerns for voters in the issue of fairness.
“There is a feeling right across Surrey that things are not fair at city hall. The council has not been fair in the way it’s treated people,” she said.
Dhaliwal also believes residents are calling for a local government that is more open.
“If you look at the mayor and council now, they’re pitting one group against the other,” he said.
“This has been very divisive politics…it’s been destructive,” he said.
Just 33 per cent of eligible voters cast a vote in the last election in Surrey. Voters go the polls October 15.
Mayoral candidate Brenda Locke and incumbent mayor Doug McCallum will be profiled in an upcoming story.
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