We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~ Herman Melville

68th avenue blocked off to traffic as police investigate reports of shots fired near the scene of Friday nights shootout

A major Surrey avenue blocked to traffic follow a past,non-fatal shooting in Newton

A wise man once said that as soon as you see a mistake and don’t fix it, it becomes your mistake.

Surrey city mayor and councillors would do well to hold this proverb close to their hearts.

Never could that be more true than when looking at the ongoing state of affairs in the community of Newton.

Surrey RCMP asked the public for help yesterday( March 18th, 2014), after a brazen, horrific beating and theft against a 72 year old senior in Newton Athletic park took place….last Thursday, ( March 13th, 2013)

This latest announcement, is both a joke and an insult to the people of Newton, and to both the city of Surrey’s and Surrey RCMP commitment to improving the situation in the community. A wait of 5 days between the horrific incident and the time the RCMP advised the public,is unacceptable. Families use that park. Kids use that park. Knowledge is not only power, it’s crucial to safe communities.

As the old proverb states: ‘Better a thousand times careful than once dead.’

I’ve heard the shots of rifles and shotguns, seen prostitutes beaten while everyone turned their face and taken the brunt of those past posts personally.

At the first public meeting in January, it was identified by residents  that  increased communication between the RCMP and the community was essential.. yet at a later, February council meeting, Mayor Watts stated that in order to free up RCMP resources, she would be reducing the amount of RCMP officers attending community meetings, events and crime reduction meetings.

Ironically at the followup February meeting hosted by the Newton Community Association but quickly overtaken by the city of Surrey- it was Bill Fordy himself that stated neither the mayor or city staff had any ability to direct or deploy RCMP resources.

One thing is clear. With the announcement that the Harper Conservatives were getting rid of the Community Safety officer Program, the city is left holding the bag for how to deal with that loss. Their solution seems to be to look to hiring security guards to fill those  positions  as reported by several media outlets, as their own pseudo-police force.

Give me a break. The last thing Surrey needs is more security guards. I might not be popular for saying it, but we need more RCMP, and right now. Why? Because as fast as the city approves them, townhouses, new developments and mega homes are going up all over south Newton, which includes the Sullivan Heights and Panorama Ridge area.

It’s insanity in action  – we won’t even talk about the new Grandview, ‘Area 4′ new development out in the middle of rural south Surrey, currently unserved by sewer,water or transit! We are building out areas with intense densification that have no business being built out until the rest of Surrey is appropriately taken care of.

That means ensuring  municipal development and population increase is on par with the provincial timelines for schools, healthcare provisions and other services that are vital to the livelihood of every community. You can’t cut down all the trees to make a park,plant small trees that offer no shade as replacement and put a tiny playground in and call that servicing a family driven neighbourhood! Nor can you build out 3500 townhouses knowing full well the schools in the area are already overloaded and no new school is planned.

Those decisions are fully and completely under city jurisdiction. And why they are knowingly outpacing a provincial and federal  government that has been claiming austerity for some time, is a question every Surrey resident should be asking. When someone invests in buying a home in this city, it is in essence, an unofficial contract between them and the city. And when the city fails to provide essentials like sidewalks, usable parks and a sense of safety, everyone suffers.

Safety is a cornerstone to a successful community, as is access to education, recreation and healthcare. Sadly in Surrey, many communities have been overdeveloped to the point that they are now revolting, hence the ongoing creation of many community associations. In Newton, the commitment from the city to move forward has produced cosmetic changes, as shown by the planting of new trees along King George Blvd south of 72nd ave, but not much else.

We still have an influx of residents both at the poverty line and above. We still have a growing population that is outpaced by the number of RCMP on staff. We still have  an RCMP force that cannot keep up with the willingly promoted growth of Surrey!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you something has to give. At what point do we look back to the city that is pointing to the province, and the feds, and say:  “Hey, you approved all this development! Hey, you know how long it takes the province to approve a school! Hey, you know we need to put the brakes on for a bit to play catch up!”

I don’t think I am alone in saying I am appalled at this latest assault in Newton. Not because I expect crime to suddenly disappear in this area, but because I, like many Newton residents, expected more from the city and the RCMP in terms of policing following the early meetings in January and February.  Prostitutes still hold reign around the Newton Gaming Centre. Crimes are still occurring in central Newton.

I am happy to report seeing the RCMP bike team in action on a crime in progress, but its not enough. With over 1000 new residents coming to Surrey each month, we must keep Surrey RCMP levels at par with the population. Particularly because we as a city, as a community, owe that to the residents who make Surrey their home.

This isn’t about who can get the most press, and this isn’t about a political agenda. I have no interest in running a campaign, or running for council, despite what some with vested interests have been saying to negate the stark truth that exists for all with access to Google. To pull a Bertuzzi, it is, what it is.

I haven’t just taken my children to preschool in Newton, I shop there, I support businesses there, and unlike many, I pay attention to the people that have been there for years on the streets. Have you met Eric? Did you walk by and turn your cheek like many do to avoid this very real part of your community?

We can’t just continue the way we have in Surrey. It isn’t working. In fact, it’s failing. Since I moved to Surrey, I have been an advocate of a cohesive effort to move all town centres forward in a synchronized effort that doesn’t leave one area behind others. It just makes sense. The cities method to move one area forward at the degradation of another, doesn’t work.

To build a community, you can’t avoid conflict, you need to address it, and welcome, head on, the conflicts that come with it, whether you are neighbours, politicians, police or social service agencies.

Those who do not feel safe, are evidence of your failings. You want to be real? Then join those less privileged on a day in their life.

Making decisions from an office in the sky, protected from those who you are deemed to serve,  is nothing like making decisions based on experience in the streets. This is what separates the good leaders, from the great.

And this difference, is what has defined Newton, more than anything else.

http://lailayuile.com/tag/newton/

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Too many companies taking advantage of desperate students

The winner of last week’s duel on the teachers’ strike vote was Laila with 86%.

This week’s topic:

Are unpaid internships exploitation or a good opportunity for young people entering the job market?

Back in the ‘good old days’ when I first entered the workforce, it was common for university students to take on an internship position with a company over summer break — or even in conjunction with their studies. Back then, the unpaid and temporary positions often did get your foot in the door, in addition to acquiring valuable experience and references. A few of my friends are still with the same corporations or organizations they interned with, proof that at one time these kind of experiences were successful.

Fast forward to 2014 and you’ll find an entirely different economy and job market. With thousands of university students facing stiff competition, the perfect conditions have been created for unpaid internships to be abused across Canada.

In B.C., the law says unpaid interns should only be observing and assisting, and for limited hours each week. If an intern is performing real work, they must be paid for it. The law does differentiate, however, between an internship and a practicum, which is done in conjunction with a learning institution in exchange for student credits.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

Even a brief look back through national news coverage shows a multitude of stories about internships gone wrong…

Read the rest of this weeks column, vote and leave your comments at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/03/16/too-many-companies-taking-advantage-of-desperate-students

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Politics, Federal politics, Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Everything old is new again…

RCMP investigation raising questions 

“Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit” asking about Liberal party membership and online voting -

See more at: http://www.burnabynow.com/rcmp-investigation-raising-questions-1.887976#sthash.pPt9yPsC.dpuf

fortheloveofmoney

http://blogborgcollective.blogspot.ca/2012/04/harry-bloy-you-look-more-like-one-who.html

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, crime, Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Teachers should be praised for trying to fix broken classrooms

The winner of last week’s duel on civil disobedience was Laila with 67%.

This week’s topic:

Did the strike vote by B.C. teachers help or hurt their cause?

As results came in last week for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation strike vote, I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would take for the pro-government supporters to start spinning the news on social media. Within seconds of the live-streamed announcement the first anti-teacher tweets began, calling out those dreadful teachers for using our children as political pawns.

What they would like parents to forget is that the government calling out the BCTF for holding a “premature” strike vote is the same government that was recently criticized by a B.C. Supreme Court justice for failing to negotiate in good faith. For years, while the government has been pointing fingers at teachers, the only people using our children as political pawns have been those with the Liberal government.

As a parent of four, this strike vote didn’t fill me with sadness or gloom at all. In fact, like many other parents I know who were appalled by the court’s ruling in January — declaring the government tried to provoke a strike with teachers — I was buoyed by hope the results would show the government these negotiations need to be taken seriously.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

It hasn’t been the teachers who have been in the wrong all this time, it’s been the government. Teachers in this province used to have a collective agreement that ensured smaller class sizes and guaranteed crucial classroom supports that are essential to education — supports like special education assistants, counsellors and teacher-librarians. When the government stripped those rights out of the agreement, all kids suffered from a lack of access to the supports they need, with children who require special education support impacted the most.

The thing that’s bewildering to me in all of this is why the government refuses to see the direct impact of their failed education agenda in the classroom…

Read the rest of this weeks duel, comment and vote at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/03/09/bc-teachers-should-be-praised-for-trying-to-fix-broken-classrooms

 

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

This weeks column for 24hrs Vancouver: Battle over Clayoquot Sound shows the power of peaceful protests

Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on Russia was Brent at 65%.

This week’s topic:

Is civil disobedience an acceptable way to stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline?


Growing up in a rural area just north of Prince George — in a family that relied on both the land and the forestry industry to survive — was a precious gift from my parents. Admittedly, I didn’t fully realize this until I was an adult with children of my own, and felt an immense pressure to leave them with the ability to enjoy as much of the province as I did growing up.

We spent summers exploring wild country filled with hidden lakes, fishing, hunting and gathering in tune with the seasons — a way of life many still live today in many areas of B.C.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

However, on a visit home during the early 1990s while the “War in the Woods” of Clayoquot Sound played out for the world to see, my dad and I argued over “those bloody tree-huggers.” He defended logging, while I was adamant that trees as old as time should not be cut. It was a sticky point for us until years later, faced with the results of mismanaged and poorly crafted forest policies, he began to see the writing on the wall.

Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

The Clayoquot Sound battle was an epic example of lasting change that was a direct result of civil disobedience. Faced with the prospect of ancient coastal rainforests being logged, hundreds of protesters blocked logging trucks. In the end, they prevented the forest from being cut….

Read the rest of this weeks duel, vote and comment at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/03/02/battle-over-clayoquot-sound-shows-the-power-of-peaceful-protests

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Enbridge, Federal politics, Laila Yuile, The China Connection, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

A must read, watch and share: W5 brings us Pipeline Wars, a story of unreported spills, alarmed communities and a promise to do ‘better’

“On the eve of W5’s reporting about the issue, the company sent an e-mail to mayors and councillors in dozens of Ontario communities located along the line, advising of the broadcast, offering links to the company’s website to provide its own view and warning that those opposed to reversing the flow had been interviewed.

“We anticipate this story will not be presented in a balanced manner despite our efforts and full cooperation with CTV,” wrote Ken Hall, Enbridge’s Senior Advisor, Public Affairs, even though he had no advance knowledge of the W5 report’s contents.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/enbridge-record-questioned-company-vows-to-do-better-as-line-9-pipeline-decision-nears-1.1698491#ixzz2u7FWVwB0Other

Other coverage:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontopipeline/2014/02/22/enbridge_line_9_w5_uncovers_unreported_spills_alarming_communities_along_830km_pipe.html

Posted in BC Liberals, BC Politics, Enbridge, Federal politics, Laila Yuile, The China Connection, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Coming soon

The third installment of Playing with the Dragon has been delayed to follow-up on some new and relevant information that came in – there is no sense in releasing it without doing this because it directly impacts the story itself.

As well, some interesting info has come in relating to a relatively new provincial contract involving one of my favourite contractors that requires some investigation. Hope to have more on that shortly!

If you have any info relating to the awarding of the contract for the John Hart Generating Station project, or to the project itself, please get in contact with me via the confidential contact form  on the contact page. Discretion is assured.

Posted in BC Liberals, BC Politics | 4 Comments

And the total cost of the new Surrey city hall/civic plaza/ parkade is….. ( drumroll please…) $138 million plus.

Much more than the $97 million dollars borrowed by the city to build the city hall :

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/BYL_17231.pdf

What no one from the city has mentioned yet, is that the building cost of the parkade that services the City Hall and Library, was an additional cost of $32 million, as per this bylaw that authorized the city to borrow that money in July of 2010: http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/BYL-17180-D473.pdf

In addition, the cost of the Civic Centre plaza is not included in the cost of the city hall, it was set aside as a separate project, and is estimated to be in the range of $9 million dollars, which is said to have been budgeted  for out of regular revenues. It is included in this list of Build Surrey projects, many of which have not been completed, such as the improvments to Newton. http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/R174-1802.pdf

The grand total for the City hall, parkade and civic centre plaza? Not including the new furnishings etc?

Approximately $138 million dollars, most of borrowed, not including carrying costs and interest.

While the city might rely on the partial rental of the old city hall to offset the costs of the new one, what exactly is going to offset the costs of this other loan? Why aren’t these other costs included in the total being presented to the public?

While city staff have justified the build out by stating that it has brought over $3 billion dollars of  investment into the city centre, residents who have been told there is no money for the required amount of RCMP officers the city needs to keep pace with its growth find the amount of money borrowed for this project, staggering.

 

Posted in BC Politics | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Things that matter.

The Newton Community Association held a public forum today to follow-up the public meeting from January. Great dialogue from the community and I’ll have more observations on that soon, but tonight I have some writing to do for a deadline, hopefully before my power goes out!

However, often I find the smaller moments at events like this are the ones that really make it all worth it. Moments when guards are dropped and two people just connect for a moment as humans. Today tears, more than a few hugs, funny moments and endearing ones were shared, between and around the timeline and agenda of a public forum. And for each of you who shared those moments, thank you. :) Pushing mountains is hard to do on your own, but together, anything is possible.

thingsthatmatter

 

 

 

 

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Dear Enbridge. What part of ‘We don’t want your pipeline’ do you not understand? Best regards, Laila

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Enbridge+Northern+Gateway+video+attacks+Justason+Market/9491884/story.html

 

 

Posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Enbridge, Federal politics, Laila Yuile, The China Connection, The Environment | Tagged , , , , | 39 Comments