A recent decision by Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke and Surrey Connect to reduce public hearing times at council meetings from five minutes to just three minutes has been met with strong opposition from concerned citizens and local councillors. The decision has been widely criticized as an attempt by Locke to limit public participation at Surrey City Hall.
Safe Surrey Coalition spokesperson Laurie Guerra said on Tuesday: “Mayor Brenda Locke’s decision to reduce public hearing times is a direct attack on democracy and the fundamental rights of law-abiding citizens. This arbitrary limit on citizens’ ability to voice their opinions and concerns on civic matters effectively silences their voices and dismisses the fundamental right of free speech. Mayor Locke’s actions send a message that she is not interested in hearing the perspectives and needs of the citizens she was elected to serve.”
SSC pointed out that Locke campaigned on transparency, accountability, and public trust in elected officials, yet she is doing the exact opposite by limiting public participation at public hearings.
SSC also noted that Locke has stacked all committee appointments with her Surrey Connect team to avoid accountability and transparency, this lack of representation from other councillors will leave constituents underrepresented and their voices unheard.