Funny, I was just in the local RCMP detachment yesterday reading that theft from vehicles in Surrey is on the rise. This little tidbit was found in the Block Watch newsletter.( As is all crime, I suspect – wait until the next bunch of stats come out) I’ve been writing about this for some time , only to be told that I’m full of it. ‘Crime stats are down’ is the mantra from Surrey city hall and woe to anyone who says differently.
But, let us go back to the news that I now live in the 9th most dangerous city in Canada. http://blog.macleans.ca/2009/03/04/the-most-dangerous-cities-in-canada-overall-crime-score—by-rank/
The mayor is sure to have an issue with this piece, but this is nothing new. Yet another shooting here last night. http://www.theprovince.com/news/Three+hospitalized+separate+shootings+east+Vancouver+Surrey/1354329/story.html
Has she ever stopped to wonder where all these criminals live?
They live here, in Surrey. They live and work and play and get gas and then get shot, all here in Surrey. Many in Newton. I can show you a few homes with closed circuit cameras on every corner and some high end SUVs in the driveway. But there are far more street level criminals on the poor side of the tracks living near Newton core.
And to add fuel to the fire, Dianne Watts would like to put slot machines into Newton, smack dab in the epicentre of Newton Town Core.
Now wait, I know you are wondering why she would do that, but it does get even better.
She is so intent on ramming this through as a ‘gentrification effort’ in this neck of the woods that she is doing so in apparent violation of the city’s own gaming policy, which states: “Gaming in Surrey is to remain restricted and is only to be considered if it is part of a ‘cluster of tourism’ type facility, which is regional/provincial in scope.”
Direct violation of her own gaming policy. Now what would be good enough to contravene her own directive? Read on.
News flash. The proposal is not, and never will be, part of a tourism type facility as indicated by the cities own policy.
It is located right in front of a BC Housing development where the majority of residents are on welfare. There are plans for an addiction and rehab centre right down the street, as well as a shelter for women and children.
There is a homeless shelter on the next block and a Cocaine addicts recovery club further along the street. And don’t let me forget all the seedy hotels where homeless are often housed by the ministry when their time is up in the shelter.
Yes, I can see what an inviting area it will be for tourists to come to…… NOT. Good grief. What is she thinking?
I understand that the developer is trying to sweeten the deal with the city by offering 25 million in improvements, including a tie into the Newton bus loop which will be transplanted from its current location to a property across from the proposed facility , and will even throw in a community policing station while they are at it. I’m sure there are more goodies to sweeten the deal we don’t know about.
This story in the Leader tells it all : http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/40734113.html
This will never be a facility that will clean up the area and to even suggest that it will is foolish and speaks to how little the mayor cares for the residents in this area. We need slot machines here like we need another load of addicts and drug dealers.
The area around Newton Town Centre has the highest concentration of rental social housing in the city, as well as the lowest incomes.The neighbourhood surrounding the bingo hall has three times the number of people on welfare that Whalley has. It is one of the cities poorest neighbourhoods.
Not even the inclusion of a community police station will make a difference. The current one is one block from the bus loop which is a hotbed for street level drug trafficking. Prostitutes freely roam the area. There are so many social service agencies in this area , and yet they seems to be unable to make a dent in what is going on here…. and yet this mayor is still talking about slots to gentrify the area.
It seems to be all part and parcel of the The Newton Rejuvenation plan.
A plan that will not work as it stands, and let me tell you why. I am not the only one privy to the minutes of ongoing meetings who has an issue, although I am the only one who will come forward and speak openly about it.
The murals, banners and planters did nothing to address the real issues.
The crime continues unabated, and the worst part is that so many of these addicts, dealers and criminals live among us. Get to know your neighbour? When they are smoking drugs outside all the time? Or turning tricks? Or dealing out of their car? No thanks.
The illegal secondary suites in the area are full of them because the combination of unscrupulous landlords and a city that turns a blind eye leads to ”prime rental property for those who don’t want to put a name on a rental agreement”. All the residents here know at least one mega home that is renting to at least one street level addict or dealer or prostitute in their illegal suites. This area is known to be a criminal hotspot by the RCMP and the mayor knows this. She is counting on the fact that either no one will speak up, and that those that do will not be listened to because they are not powerful business owners with sway.
But those who live here have strong voices, and one of them is Len Freisen.
At 83, this man has been beating the street getting signatures on a petition. He has spoken to the city, the councillors, the churches and anyone else who will listen, and his intent is clear. Stop this ridiculous notion before it even begins. This story in the Now speaks to the determination and drive men half his age would kill to have: http://www2.canada.com/surreynow/news/story.html?id=f9f062b0-4a74-4fb7-9a33-c1b05074cae2
Councillor Bob Bose is staunchly against the plan, as is Marvin Hunt, but the councillors who are known around city hall to be closest to her are all for it. Linda Hepner has even bragged that she has received stacks of letters from social service agencies that are for it.
Sure Linda,but let’s speak honestly about this. It is not because it will make the area better, but because they get funding from the proceeds through gaming grants.
I worked as a not for profit housing director, and I know all about those gaming grants. I would ask that Linda find out why those agencies don’t seem to be able to help all the homeless, addicts and otherwise disadvantaged that are roaming about Newton. No amount of funding will change this, it will only save their own jobs.
The city will also get a portion of the revenue, as all cities do from the gaming places located in their municipalities.
So, in essence, the city will be making money from the very people they claim to want to help – along with those working in the poverty industry. The agencies count on these funds to provide services to their clients, some of which will be cashing in their nickels in those very slots and end up back in another agency for more help.
What a tragic circle of events.
If you care about these people, if you care about these residents, if you really want to clean up this area, you will vote no to this proposal. You will find the money to address the issues, and stop inviting developers with their own agenda to town.
Gentrification comes at a cost, but the costs associated with this proposal far outweigh the cosmetic benefit. Speak up and say no now.
All City of Surrey Council Members can be contacted by telephone at the following locals:
Mayor Dianne L. Watts : 604.591.4126
Councillor Robert Bose: 604.591.4624
Councillor Tom S. Gill : 604.591.4634
Councillor Linda Hepner :604.591.4626
Councillor J. Marvin Hunt: 604.591.4635
Councillor Mary Martin : 604.591.4622
Councillor Barinder Rasode: 604.591.4410
Councillor H. Barbara Steele : 604.591.4623
Councillor Judy A. Villeneuve: 604.591.4625
Or email them through this form: http://www.surrey.ca/_Utility/Contact_Council.htm