The mayoral candidates wait for the all-candidates meeting to begin on Tuesday (Sept. 25). (Samantha Anderson)

The mayoral candidates wait for the all-candidates meeting to begin on Tuesday (Sept. 25). (Samantha Anderson)

Mayoral candidates weigh in on Cloverdale concerns at first all-candidates meeting

Public consultation processes, future of fairgrounds discussed

Surrey mayoral candidates weighed in on Cloverdale concerns Tuesday night, kicking off the all-candidates meetings for the 2018 municipal election.

The meeting was hosted by the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce and the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Tech Campus in Cloverdale. Attendees had to pre-register, and attendance was capped at 70 people. The evening was sponsored by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and KPU.

Another all-candidates meeting, for council candidates, was held simultaneously across Surrey by the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Task Force.

All eight mayoral candidates were present: Proudly Surrey candidate Pauline Greaves, Surrey First candidate Tom Gill, Surrey Integrity Now candidate Bruce Hayne, People First Surrey candidate Rajesh Jayaprakash, Safe Surrey Coalition candidate Doug McCallum, Progressive Sustainable Surrey candidate Imtiaz Popat, and independent candidates Francois Nantel and John Wolanski.

In the wake of the recent proposal and withdrawal of a major supportive housing project in downtown Cloverdale, candidates were asked what they considered to be proper public consultation, and how they proposed development be determined in the future.

Francois Nantel proposed that each consultation process should begin with public gatherings, and that online voting should be an option for Surrey residents. For larger questions, he would like to see referendums with each election.

Rajesh Jayaprakash agreed with the idea of an “e-vote platform,” and emphasized that “the consultation should be made before the decision is made.” For Imtiaz Popat, the supportive housing issue in Cloverdale was handled “very badly” and it was “very sad” when the process was abruptly ended.

The supportive housing project “is a perfect example of where there simply hasn’t been enough public consultation,” said Bruce Hayne, pointing to the three information sessions held before the scheduled open house, which were capped at 25 people each. Two of those three sessions were held during work hours. “That to me, is simply not consultation,” he said.

Pauline Greaves made a distinction between consultation and community engagement. “Community engagement is the more dynamic way to meet, in the community, with the interest group with all the stakeholders that are in the community before it goes to council.”

Doug McCallum would like the current process in Surrey to be reversed, so that public hearings are held before a proposal goes to council. Wolanksi did not offer a solution to the public consultation question, instead maintaining that “all the housing should have gone down on Colebrook Road” as the alternative would have “screw[ed] up the town centre.”

(Colebrook Road is, notably, the location for the Bill Reid Memorial Shelter, which opened in May of this year.)

Gill emphasized the importance of effective public information meetings, and he said, in this particular case, there was a lot of misinformation that circulated in the Cloverdale community, and that there is an opportunity to “tighten up the controls, tighten up some of the process, to make sure that the information that is being conveyed the community is accurate.”

When candidates were asked about how they would develop arts and culture in Surrey, some offered Cloverdale-centric plans.

Hayne said he would like to see an events centre or a performing arts centre on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, as did McCallum. Popat proposed developing the film industry in Cloverdale, perhaps by creating a film studio. He also pointed to the fairgrounds as an opportunity for arts and culture, and said it would be a great location for a week-long Vaisakhi celebration.

Wolanski said he would like to see more gallery spaces in Surrey, to showcase local talent; Jayaprakash proposed “strategic investment” in programming to support the city’s young and developing artists; Nantel said artists should be featured in local festivals and events.

Gill reflected on Surrey First’s work in the arts community since the last election. He proposed that developers contribute 0.5 per cent of total build costs to the arts in Surrey — an increase of 0.25 per cent over current practice.

Later in the evening, the conversation turned to what candidates planned to do with the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

McCallum mentioned that the “lease is coming up with Great Canadian Casino [Great Canadian Gaming Corporation], giving us the opportunity to consider redeveloping the fairgrounds.” He also spoke out against the city’s current project of building a $2.2-million road through the fairgrounds.

Hayne also pushed for redevelopment of the fairgrounds, and also noted a possibility of developing the lands currently used for harness racing. “I think we really need to take a close look at the long-term future of harness racing, because that’s going to dictate the land use on the fairgrounds for years to come,” he said.

The harness racing track at Cloverdale’s Fraser Downs is the last standardbred racing track in the province. It has been an industry in Cloverdale for more than 40 years.

Popat reiterated his earlier idea of a Vaisakhi festival on the fairgrounds, and said Surrey should make the fairgrounds a “PNE.”

Greaves said that the fairgrounds gave the option of redevelopment, and that, as well as entertainment space and space for community and youth activities, the city should look at mixed-use buildings for the land as a way to increase housing availability.

Over the course of the evening, candidates were also asked for their positions on transit solutions for Surrey, and how to prevent youth from becoming involved in drugs and gangs. For more on their positions:



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Municipal election

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

Just Posted

Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘immediate’ government help for businesses shut down

‘Don’t punish all businesses for the sins of a few,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

The 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography machine, new to the Surrey Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (submitted photo)
New 3D breast-cancer technology in Surrey ‘has already helped so many women’

Digital breast tomosynthesis new to Surrey Breast Health Clinic

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
South Surrey Spanish Flu survivor marks 105 years

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

Gurdawara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar in Surrey is warning the public of a possible COVID-19 exposure at the temple between Nov. 18 and 20. (Photo: Google Street View)
Surrey gurdwara warns of possible COVID-19 exposure

Facebook post says individual was at the temple Nov. 18 to 20

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

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

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

Most Read