Following recent tragic events in Surrey, BC New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix and a handful of MLAs gathered in Newton this morning to propose their Surrey Accord, which would help create a “safer, healthier community.”
Dix along with Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains, Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell and Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston said the accord would help combat some of the challenges the neighbourhoods are facing – crime, mental health and addictions and homelessness.
This five-point plan comes on the heels of the violent beating death of Surrey resident Julie Paskall, which sparked a high amount of concern and outrage. The accord the NDP are proposing would include all levels of government – local, provincial and federal, and the purpose would be to tackle some of the crime and public safety issues.
It would include investing in community policing and community courts, committing to a mental health strategy similar to Vancouver’s, creating more accessible social housing and regulating recovery homes.
According to the NDP, there are 67 unregulated recovery homes in Surrey.
“Recovery houses were de-regulated under the Liberals during the first core review of 2002,” Hammell said.
“And the results have been unsavory operators opening homes and preying on the vulnerable and creating havoc in our neighbourhoods. Anyone with any knowledge of the unregulated system has criticized the consequences.”
The NDP also indicated there were 25 murders in Surrey last year, while in comparison to Vancouver there were six. Out of those 25 murders, 18 were related to drugs.
The MLAs will be inviting input from the public and other community leaders in Surrey at a forum that will be held in the next two weeks. They then will be pressing the adoption of the accord when the legislature’s spring session begins on February 11.