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

Through his lens, Doug Cook captured this picture of the Fraser River, Mount Baker, an eagle, and even the Golden Ears Bridge on a sunny fall afternoon. The photo was taken from the wooden walkway leading down to the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport float plane dock. (Contributed photo)
Friends of Semiahmoo Bay to host virtual World Wetland Day event

Webinar event to feature six speakers, to be held Feb. 2

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

One of the Choices Lottery grand prize packages includes a home located at 16730 19 Ave., Surrey. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey homes featured in Choices Lottery

Tickets on sale now for BC Children’s Hospital lottery

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read