Surrey Mayor-elect Brenda Locke is heading into this next four-year term on council with a solid Surrey Connect majority. Though the players have changed, the configuration of this new council is similar to that which is being replaced.
Outgoing mayor Doug McCallum finishes his term having enjoyed the backing of four Safe Surrey Coalition councillors. Of the other four councillors who were on the outside looking in, two were with Surrey Connect, one was with Surrey First, and the fourth was an Independent.
This typically resulted in the SSC majority having its will on council, manifested in 5-4 votes.
On Nov. 7, a five-member Surrey Connect majority will be sworn in – with rookie councillors Harry Bains, Gordon Hepner, Rob Stutt and Pardeep Kooner joining Locke. The remaining four councillors to be sworn in – similar to before, on the outside looking in – are Linda Annis and Mike Bose of Surrey First, and Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra of the SSC.
Will the 5-4 voting trend continue on Surrey council?
Less acrimony and more collaboration will be welcomed by Surrey residents weary of the kind of infighting that was prevalent on council over the past four years. Locke told the Now-Leader on Monday it’s her intention to build bridges, not walls.
“They’re all elected officials and I will treat them with respect, absolutely,” Locke said. “It’s not about consensus necessarily, it’s good to have debate and respectful debate but I will not be anywhere close to what Doug McCallum is, it’s not my style. It’s not who I am, I can’t be somebody I’m not.”
For his part, Elford said, “We’ll wait and see on that.”
“It’s going to be an interesting four years. Never really a dull moment in Surrey, is there? It will be interesting sitting on the other side of the fence. A whole new dynamic, yes, that’s for sure.”
Annis said Monday it is “hard to believe four years have past,” looking back on her first term in office. “I think it has to be the fastest four years of my life.”
“The configuration is good,” Annis said of this next iteration of Surrey city council. “I think we’ve got some great talent on the council and I think people will be able to work together and do what’s best for the residents of Surrey. I’m quite thrilled with this election, of course I wish there was more Surrey First but having said that, I think it’s a group that will be cooperative.”
“It’s early days, she (Locke) said she’s going to work collaboratively with all of the council members so I’m going to hold her to account to do that but until she does something that would make me think differently, I will certainly take her on her word,” Annis said.
“The last council was very dysfunctional and not collaborative on most issues and I think it’s all well and good to disagree, in fact it’s good to have healthy debate, that’s why there’s nine of us not just two – one was an opposing view and one was a pro view – we need to hear all aspects on issues but we need to do it in a respectful way, and I think that respectful way was lacking in the last council.”