Now that the civic election is around the corner, here is my top 10 wish list of everything I dream of having for my hometown of Surrey. Let's see if our political leaders can actually work with all levels of government to make it happen.
Public transportation - I would like all the town centres of Surrey such as Whalley, Guildford, Newton, Fleetwood, Cloverdale, South Surrey, as well as Strawberry Hill, Langley, and White Rock to be connected with light rail or Skytrain.
Poverty elimination - I would like to see any resident of Surrey who falls in the bottom 25 per cent of income earners to receive an automatic monthly financial top up.
Crime reduction - I would like to see a 1,000-person strong community police force to patrol the streets. This would be a volunteer reserve force. Any new police officer for the Surrey RCMP would be recruited from this community police force first as a priority.
Pedestrian park routes - I would like to see Surrey connected with pedestrian park routes which would be nature trails, bicycle routes, and walking paths in an extensive network throughout the city. These routes would open up into green space, parks, and civic recreation and leisure centres.
Outdoor swimming pool - I would like to see a world-class outdoor and indoor lap pool and recreation centre built to replace and relocate the North Surrey Recreation Centre to provide more space and open up the Surrey Civic Plaza area.
Street beautification - I would like to see streets lined with beautiful trees, well-maintained grass, and cobblestones that are not grey in colour, as well as nice street lamps and benches.
Voting age - I would like to reduce the voting age to 16 to give youth more of a voice at City Hall and to ensure their interests are considered with decision making.
Supporting new arrivals - About 1,000 people move to Surrey every month. I would like to see a short-term housing and resource centre built for new arrivals, including immigrants to help them successfully transition to our city.
Universal hot lunch program - I would send the cafeteria chefs from the Surrey School District to France to learn how that country provides fresh, daily, nutritious meals to all of its school kids. Obesity and related health risks are an epidemic in our younger generation. Providing delicious, healthy eating options is a good start while children are still in school.
Seniors visitation and mentorship program - I would have the City to develop a new program where they would screen volunteers with a criminal record check. The volunteers would go and visit seniors in the community to ensure they are managing well, for social support, and mutual mentorship and guidance.
There you go! This is my top 10 dream wish list for my beautiful hometown of Surrey.
Did I miss anything? What's your wish list?
Alex Sangha is an award-winning social worker and author based in Surrey, B.C.
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