Once again, public safety has emerged as a key issue for Surrey residents as a civic election looms this fall.
More than half (55 per cent) of Surrey residents say public safety is worse in this city than other Metro Vancouver municipalities, according to a Research Co. poll released July 2. It comes in the wake of yet more gun violence in the city, including the murders of two Surrey teenagers in early June and a Clayton nurse, father and hockey coach being shot dead on June 23.
“There are certainly issues where Surrey residents believe they are luckier than their neighbours in adjacent areas. But public safety is definitely not one of them,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. that conducted the online survey of a representative sample of 401 Surrey adults from June 24 to 28.
Canseco noted the survey wasn’t commissioned and the company “did it on our own.”
More than half of survey respondents (56 per cent) said Surrey should have its own municipal police force, while 27 per cent disagreed.
Many of those surveyed said they are unhappy with actions taken by the provincial government (49 per cent), the federal government (51 per cent) and the municipal government (53 per cent) to deal with crime in Surrey, and almost half (48 per cent) disagree with the notion that the legalization of marijuana will ultimately lead to lower crime rates in their city.
Crime was identified as the top issue facing the City of Surrey (with 45 per cent of respondents selecting it as the number one issue), but in Newton, that climbed to 58 per cent.
Housing was second on the list of municipal concerns (26 per cent), followed by transportation (10 per cent) and poverty (seven per cent).
More than a third of respondents (35 per cent) said they believe the influence of developers is worse in Surrey than in other areas of Metro Vancouver, while one-in-four (25 per cent) think Surrey is better on housing affordability.
The survey also delved into transporataion.
More than half of respondents (53 per cent) said the proposed Surrey–Newton– Guildford Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is a “great idea.”
Civic candidates in Surrey
More than half of survey respondents (52 per cent) said they would like to see Dianne Watts as the city’s mayor again, including 60 per cent of men and 74 per cent of South Surrey residents. Although, she has told the Now-Leader she’s not interested in running again.
Tom Gill, recently named as the Surrey First candidate for mayor, is seen as a good choice to lead the city by 15 per cent of residents, and a bad choice by 14 per cent, according to the survey results. The rating is similar for former interim BC Liberals leader and Langley East MLA minister Rich Coleman (20 per cent good, 19 per cent bad), who is considering a mayoral run in Surrey this fall.
Doug Elford of the Surrey Community Alliance was regarded as a good choice for mayor by 17 per cent of respondents, and 15 per cent felt the same way about former Surrey First councillor Bruce Hayne, who now sits as an independent after splitting from Surrey First last month.
According to the poll, more than a third of residents (36 per cent) have a “positive opinion of the governing Surrey First party,” while 21 per cent hold negative views.
Three opposition parties hold similar positivity ratings, according to the survey results (28 per cent for Surrey Community Alliance, 27 per cent for both Proudly Surrey and People First Surrey).
Just over 100,000 people cast a ballot in Surrey in the 2014 civic election, up from 70,253 in 2011. Out of 287,940 eligible Surrey voters, the city said 101,558 cast a ballot – a 35.3 per cent voter turnout. That is up from 2008 and 2011 elections, which saw a 24.1 per cent and 25 per cent turnout respectively.
Surrey voters head to the polls on Oct. 20, 2018.