DOUG Elford, who last week quit as president of the Surrey Community Alliance, and lawyer Bableen Rana will be running for council seats with former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition in the October 20 civic election.
The VOICE had reported last Sunday that Elford had decided to join McCallum. Elford’s party had reportedly run into financial problems.
McCallum in a press statement said Elford is a grassroots community activist with an established track record.
Elford said: “It’s time for strong principled leadership in Surrey and Doug McCallum will deliver that. Surrey urgently needs to focus on housing affordability, homelessness, public safety and crime reduction, improved transit, and financial responsibility. Now is the time to take strong action and address these issues. This is why Doug McCallum is clearly the best choice for Mayor in 2018.”
He added: “Surrey is at a crossroads, we can not afford to continue down the path of special favours for developers at the expense of affordable housing. There has also been too many closed-door meetings, overseas junkets, and ongoing financial mismanagement. This is the path that Tom Gill and Surrey First have been on since 2005.”
Rana has been a lawyer for 17 years and is a past president of the Surrey Newton Rotary Club.
When McCallum was first elected as mayor Rana served on Surrey’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Her experience there solidified her passion for community service, according to the press statement.
The statement added: “She knows Doug McCallum and believes in his integrity. She respects his passion, focus, and commitment to Surrey.”
Rana said: “My first priority is having Surrey citizens feel safe and secure — on their streets and in their neighbourhoods. The RCMP has done its best; however, the citizens of Surrey need more and they deserve more. The rapid growth in the city has outgrown the police resources. The structure of the RCMP as a paramilitary force is no longer a good fit for Surrey. We need a Surrey Police force that clearly focuses on local concerns and gets results.”
McCallum said: “A lot of people have asked him to run because Surrey is headed in the wrong direction. We simply can’t afford four more years of Surrey First. We need to take strong action now to protect the future of the community we share.”
The three main planks of Safe Surrey’s campaign are: starting Surrey’s own police force that will be much better able to deal with local issues; scrapping the second-rate LRT line in favour of Skytrain along the Fraser Highway; and pausing development to come up with smart community development guidelines that include affordable housing, according to the statement.
McCallum’s favourability ratings were 29% in Fleetwood-Port Kells federal riding area (Coleman’s was 21% and Gill’s was 20%); 22% in Surrey Centre (Coleman’s was 11% and Gill’s was 21%); 24% is South Surrey (Coleman’s was 22% and Gill’s was 12%); and as high as 31% in Surrey-Newton (Coleman’s was 19% and Gill’s was only 16%).
Coleman then announced that he was not going to run for mayor.