Surrey Civic Coalition candidate Gary Robinson watches as NDP MLA Bruce Ralston signs papers at an SCC nomination meeting in Surrey on Saturday afternoon.

Surrey Civic Coalition names candidates for council, school board

Issue of overcrowded schools will be coming up this November, Stephanie Ryan says.

The opposition party in Surrey civic politics has put some of its candidates in place for the coming fall election.

The left-leaning Surrey Civic Coalitioin (SCC) hopes to secure some seats from the Surrey First-dominated council and Surrey First Education-ruled Board of Education.

The SCC currently holds one seat on each, with veteran councillor Bob Bose and one-term school trustee Ijaz Chatha.

On Saturday, SCC nominated Gary Robinson, Rina Gill, Stephanie Ryan and Grant Rice to run for council, while Charlene Dobie, Laurence Greeff, and Moh Chelali will be SCC’s school trustee candidates.

”The SCC delegates chose a good mix of new and experienced candidates,” said Gord Savard, SCC president. ”Voters will be impressed with what these folks have to offer.”

Gill, Ryan and Rice ran with SCC in 2008, while Robinson, who served on Surrey council from 1987 to 1998, ran as an independent last time.

Greeff was an SCC candidate in the last election while Dobie and Chalali are new to civic politics. Chelali has run for the provincial NDP in Surrey-White Rock previously.

About 100 people attended the Firefighters Barge Inn nomination meeting Saturday afternoon.

Returning candidate Ryan said Monday she believes there are a number of issues that aren’t being addressed by the current council and school board.

Prime among those is the number of portables at Surrey’s overcrowded schools.

A small elementary school recently re-opened in Clayton, which Ryan said is great, but brings the city only five more classrooms.

In the 1990s, Surrey faced the same situation, and council refused to issue any more building permits. Suddenly, developers, builders and realtors were part of a lobbying force to the province that brought this city more school construction.

SCC will hold a second nomination meeting at a date to be determined later, likely near Labour Day in September.

“Having two nominations is a first for SCC,” said Savard, ”but this year, with all the political uncertainty, it made sense for us. We have candidates who couldn’t wait to get out and talk to voters, but this way we can continue to gain momentum and have a second nomination as the November election gets closer.”