This from Surrey Mayor, Dianne Watts, in a conversation with CBC reporter Susana da Silva, who spoke with the mayor following the on-camera tour of the Newton core we did together on Tuesday afternoon.
After contacting CBC with the story idea, Susana got in touch with me, and we met to talk about some of the areas biggest problems, as I see them, and as other residents have shared with me. I took on the role of ‘tour-guide’ for Susana and her camera man, and we drove around Newton on a revealing tour around the areas most questionable portions, including the King George corridor, the Newton bus loop, as well as the controversial proposed bingo hall expansion and the proposed Welcome Home residential rehab site. The slum-like atmosphere and appearance, as well as the threat to personal safety were starkly apparent in all areas.
Susana told me by email today, that Mayor Watts will be unveiling it’s “Newton Plan” at the June 16th council meeting, and mentioned that the plan will include moving the bus loop onto King George Highway itself, moving more RCMP officers to the Newton detachment, and graffiti removal. Also mentioned in that conversation were plans to include beautification efforts and removal of overgrown vegetation and shrubs in areas around parks and green spaces where addicts and prostitutes are congregating and in some cases, inhabiting.
It appears that there was no mention of the proposed bingo hall slot expansion , or the Welcome Home proposed facility, however I will be attending the June 16th meeting to hear the timeline for this plan, and to what extent it addresses the criminal and homeless aspect we are all dealing with firsthand.
I hope that in unveiling this new plan,the city of Surrey shows that it is, in fact, making a firm commitment to its citizens and local business owners alike, instead of placing a mere band-aid on a growing wound. This may be the first, concrete step towards taking back our streets, our parks, and our pride.
Tune in tonight at 6pm- or so I am told by the reporter- and check back here for follow-up stories, as I begin to post some telling photos of Newtons biggest hurdles, and talk to residents about their experiences and fears.
Should the story not air tonight, as I have been told, and I am not able to post new info for whatever reason- like having a baby- call CBC to find out whats going on!!