Who is really planning Surrey’s future? Concord Pacific? Surrey Mayor Diane Watts already supports their plans. But what about citizens?

This is mainly written to remind Surrey citizens that the deadline for public input on the 30-year Official Community Plan for the City of Surrey is on July 11. Did you even know about the consultation process? See our separate post on the topic here, with links to official information.

It appears the media have been completely silent on this consultation process. Not a single media story has been written on it. Not a line of text in the media, as far as we can tell. We wrote to Surrey Leader‘s Jeff Nagel, one of the region’s topic civic-issues reporters, asking about this and encouraging him to cover the story. No reply yet. And the City of Surrey, it seems, has done run this process very quietly as well. These patterns are consistent throughout the Metro Vancouver region.

Meanwhile, it has come to our attention that on June 18, Surrey’s The Now Newspaper carried a story proclaiming.

Big plans unveiled for Surrey city centre

In the photo, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts gazes over Concord Pacific’s “state-of-the-art interactive Surrey city centre model.  The article begins, “The future of Surrey’s city centre was unveiled in a beautiful and interactive 3D model and presentation Tuesday morning. Over one hundred people arrived at Concord Pacific’s new community presentation centre in Whalley to witness their grand plan for the city.” As written, that seems almost final.

The article goes on to say that “Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts attended and showed her support for Concord Pacific’s new developments.”

MetroVanWatch has noticed a consistent overemphasis on the development industry’s voices in influencing urban planning for the future of our cities. We have noticed what appears to be an intentional muting of public involvement in designing the future of our region.

We encourage citizens in every municipality to look hard at political campaign contributions, call for election finance reform, demand more transparency and accountability of local governments, watch their City Halls more carefully, and get active in their civic affairs. For example, for a proper understanding of relationships, Surrey citizens should be asking if Concord Pacific directly or through other channels contributed to Mayor Watts’ Surrey First party before, during, or after recent civic elections. People have a right to ask and know the answers. But legislation does not support adequate information disclosure.

Some municipalities have powerful civic political parties where power  is concentrated, and elected officials vote as a block, similar to what the “Whipped+ The Secret World of Party Disclipine” documentary by Sean Holman revealed at the provincial level. This phenomenon is exactly what happens in the City of Vancouver. Who has done the analysis for Surrey?

What kind of future to you envision for YOUR community?

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