Surrey mayoral candidates (from left) John Wolanski

Election 2014: Mayors vie for business vote

City of Surrey: Board of trade hosts an all-candidates' meeting for the seven mayoral hopefuls.

Seven candidates for mayor had their chance to win over the business community on Tuesday at Eaglequest Coyote Creek Golf Club.

About 170 people packed the golf course banquet hall to hear mayoral hopefuls at an all-candidates’ meeting sponsored by the Surrey Board of Trade.

After their opening statements, candidates were asked several questions in a tightly controlled setting.

First, they were asked what their economic strategy is for this city.

Independent Vikram Bajwa said Surrey needs an international airport.

Inddependent John Edwards told the crowd Surrey needs a convention centre and a third university.

Surrey First’s Linda Hepner said there’s huge interest from business to locate in the city. She said it’s important to keep costs low for businesses while forging ahead with ideas like Innovation Boulevard (the health sector hub between SFU Surrey and Surrey Memorial Hospital). The same methods can be used for agriculture and advanced manufacturing, she said.

Safe Surrey Coalition’s Doug McCallum said a good economic strategy starts with a sound foundation, which includes a safe city and well-considered policy.

Once those things are established, he said the city would be ripe for a microchip manufacturing plant, saying that Campbell Heights in South Surrey is perfect for such a facility.

One Surrey’s Barinder Rasode said the city has to protect its industrial land base.

“I want nothing more for my three children than not to have to cross a bridge to get to work,” Rasode said.

She also said it’s crucial to support small businesses by making their communities safer and streamlining processes at city hall.

Independent Grant Rice said there needs to be a greater focus on agriculture, as it outpaces most other industries in B.C.

Rice said Surrey should work with agricultural firms to further refine their product before shipping abroad.

Independent John Wolanski said Surrey should implement apprenticeship programs.

Candidates were asked if they supported reducing the marginal effective tax rate on new business investment as a policy priority.

McCallum said he was opposed to such a notion because it would benefit new businesses while negatively affecting existing ones.

Rasode said other costs should be reduced for businesses, such as the price of permits and the time it takes to get them.

“So I think we have to look there to make sure those costs stay low,” Rasode said.

Hepner said Surrey has a single permit fee, which benefits business, and a mobile app, with which they can apply for one.

In regards the lower marginal tax rate, Hepner said the idea requires “more analysis” rather than just saying “let’s do it.

“I don’t think we can, I don’t think as a city we’re positioned to do it,” Hepner said.

Surrey’s taxes are already low, she said, adding “I don’t know where we would find those savings.

Asked to wrap up, one candidate said he could bring a divisive group together.

Rice said he’s heard the main three candidates in debate and said it wasn’t pretty.

“The big three don’t play well in the sandbox,” Rice said in one of the lighter moments of the debate. He noted that it will be extremely tough for them to lead a divided council.

He can manage it, he said.

“I work at community building, this is my background,” Rice said. “I will work with compassion and leadership.

The civic election will be held Saturday, Nov. 15.

 

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

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s COVID-19 case count exceeds 1,800

About 800 new cases in September

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, arrested last December in California in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is next due in court on Nov. 12. (File photos)
Notorious South Surrey fugitive returns to court Nov. 12

Brandon Teixeira was arrested last December in California

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Maple Meadows Station’s new Bike Parkade. TransLink photo
TransLink to remove abandoned or discarded bicycles from bike parkades

Rules at TransLink bike parkades ask customers to use facilities for single day use only

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

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

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read