I recently read an article regarding Surrey in it’s role as Cultural Capital of Canada, and how it is losing it’s rough reputation.
HA! What a joke. Surrey is no closer to overcoming it’s municipal issues of crime , prostitution and over-population than it was 10 years ago – they are simple re-locating them.
Surrey has been trying to overcome the reputation that has haunted the community for years. Whalley, located in north Surrey, was the epicentre for the majority of the cities drug and prostitution trade, and a “crack-down” in recent years resulted in marginal improvement in the area. What the news articles often do not reflect , is that the problem was simply re-located to other neigbourhoods, such as Newton. Newton is a large community within Surrey, stretching along highway 10, long the Ridge, all the way up to about 76th ave or so. While RCMP and the city are hailing the success of the rehabilitation of Whalley, they are ignoring the rapid degeneration of Newton and Panorama Ridge.
While on a drive through the Ridge and southwest Newton area yesterday, I witnessed a dozen hookers or so plying their trade on the streets, needles and condoms everywhere around a prominent community park filled with children, sexual activity in the bushes, and my car was approached twice, aggressively, for anything I could spare. This isn’t new, and it’s getting worse as time goes on. Residents recently held a protest in Newton about these same issues with the mayor and MLA’s in attendance, which resulted in no changes whatsoever.
As my drive continued through an area filled with “mega-homes”, some with 3 or 4 illegal suites, I noticed the number of druggies that seem to be inhabiting them. In this neighbourhood, it is well known that an illegal suite can be rented cheaply, and the landlords love welfare cheques because they can arrange to have the money deposited directly, forgoing any chance that rent won’t be paid. So, in a sense, this is contributing to the increase of the drug and prostitution trade here. Landlords don’t care if the tenant is a criminal, a hooker, or an addict, as long as the rent gets paid. No lease, agreement or hassle for them – as long as the mortgage is paid it’s all good.
City hall knows the problem with “illegal” suites,( ironically , they are prohibited by their own bylaws) but they keep approving building plans for 9,000sq ft houses with 5 kitchens, that must be inspected and approved by building inspectors. As a result, they have schools that are over-crowded, streets that cant be driven down because of all the extra cars parked outside, increase in hookers ,drugs……. the list goes on and on.
All I see is a re-location of the municipal eyesore known as Whalley to Newton, and a municipal system whose home builders approval process is rife with flaws as well as a direct contradiction to their own bylaws.
Wake up , citizens of Surrey. Muster up some civic pride and hold politicians accountable for the embarressment that continues to haunt the streets of your neighbourhoods.