Surrey’s mayor has delivered her second State of the City address, talking up the city’s economic outlook, but also conceding its reputation for crime takes a hit with every reported gunshot.
Hepner told an audience of around 450 business people that Surrey was embracing new TV and film studios, smart technology firms, and new public safety initiatives.
Violent crime down
Hepner says “Unfortunately as good as the latest statistics or the trend might be, we all know that one single shot fired by a gang member shatters our image for public safety, and pushes any otherwise positive news or trend to the back pages of our newspaper.”
The new initiatives include hiring the city’s first Director of Public Safety, and plans to bring in an Integrated Public Safety Strategy. As well, Surrey is getting 16 more RCMP officers.
RCMP stats say that violent crime in Surrey is down 2% so far this year, compared to last.
Hollywood North expands to Surrey
Hepner revealed Skydance Studios will be building five sound stages at the old Pacific Press building in Newton, saying the studios would bring what she describes as “economic spin-off opportunities”.
“It also speaks to the creative city and reputation that I want to get out there is that we’re building on the arts and the culture in the city as well as technology and innovation within the jobs arena.”
Other fun tidbits people are getting out of this rambling speech today include to revelation that Surrey is talking to a consortium of private helicopter companies about helipad network in city. That alone drew a lot of criticism online
Hepner also mentioned today that 500 guns have been turned in… but fails to clarify if they were from legal gun owners or gang members…
This caught my ear from her speech too…
“And speaking of crime, I want to reinforce how important public safety is to all of us. But like most of you here today, I want every discussion about public safety to be based on serious thought, a robust discussion that is based on facts, and a discussion that moves us beyond the colourful but quite frankly unhelpful rhetoric of ‘shock jocks.’
Who are these shock jocks? Are they not using facts to tell stories?
are they not talking to community members about their concerns?
We were wondering who Hepner was talking about, but then we remembered this from the Drex Live archives:
“I think that “shock jock” Drex is making that an issue.”
Yeah she took a direct dig at us, for the work we’ve been doing to show that city how frustrated their citizens are, and how they feel they’re not being listened too.
All the shots this show has taken at the mayor, the city and the police we’ve always used facts. Prove me wrong.
Hepner just doesn’t like the fact that I call her out for her idiotic decisions, she also doesn’t like that I call out the people around her that also make consistent idiotic decisions.
That’s my job, to get angry for the people who can’t.
To speak up for them, and also give them a platform to express their dismay and anger at those same idiotic decision that affect their time in the city.
Because God knows the city isn’t listening to them, they’re more concerned with getting a network of helipads into the city.
Is that so gangsters can chopper the crack cocaine and heroin directly into their turf?
How kind of you! They’ll appreciate the support of local enterprise.
While we’re at it, how’s that Ferris wheel coming along?
Fair and balanced?
Jeremy Lye caught up with mayor Hepner after and asked her about what she thinks of the media coverage.
“I think the media has been by and large fair and balanced around the escalation that we saw early in the year. I think we’ve also seen good coverage over not only the four that we arrested some weeks ago, but the seven we got a couple of days ago. I’ve been watching to make sure that the recent progress that we’ve made has gotten coverage as well. But you know it’s a tough situation and it needs to be attacked at so many angles, and I think we’ve really made some progress in every single one of those. But I know how hard the guys are working to stop it in cooperation with the other police forces around the region.”
She says by and large it’s fair and balanced.
Well, I’m sorry, but all of the coverage of Surrey has been fair and balanced.
It just so happens that most of the news coming out of Surrey involves people and guns and inaction by the city itself.
The mayor also mentioned today that we need to have lengthy discussion about what to do, but you know what? The time is done for talking and it’s now time for action. It is time for the mayor of Surrey, it is time for the head of the RCMP, and the rest of that Council to start coming up with solutions.
And let me tell you, it’s not helipads.