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.

 

Just Posted

Psychiatric interview with Batstone ‘raised red flags,’ court hears

Doctor testifies that mother knew actions the day her daughter died were legally wrong

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

Surrey RCMP damage ‘sophisticated’ criminal enterprise, seizing ‘Super buff’ and 60,000 doses of meth

Police believe the criminal operation was supplying drugs beyond Surrey’s borders. No arrests yet

SBOT CEO ‘disappointed’ as Surrey council moves to cut $30K from proposed grant

Council has proposed a Surrey Board of Trade grant be reduced to $10,000, after staff recommended a $40,000 grant

Teen writing workshop planned for Cloverdale Library

Free workshop part of library’s teen writing program

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

Coal power in Canada must disappear by the end of 2029, new regulations say

Canada has significantly cut its dependence on coal largely due to the closure of all coal plants in Ontario.

‘Naive approach’ to China at fault in Meng mess: Scheer

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on the Trudeau government to “unequivocally denounce any type of repercussions to Canadians on foreign soil.”

Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr is back in court today to seek changes to bail conditions.

B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

B.C. man linked to human remains probe gets absolute discharge on unrelated mischief count

Curtis Sagmoen was in Vernon Law Courts Dec. 13 for a mischief trial

Supreme Court upholds Canada’s right to reargue facts in assisted-dying case

Julia Lamb and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association are spearheading a challenge of the law

B.C. company facing several charges in 2017 chicken abuse case

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

Most Read