By Bernie Florido, Civic Affairs Convenor
BC has instructed the City of Surrey to move forward with the Surrey Police Service. This decision comes in response to Surrey’s inability to prove that going back to the RCMP would be safe and wouldn’t drain officers from other regions. To help transition, BC has allocated $150 million and has designated Jessica McDonald as a strategic implementation advisor.
Wildfires in BC have caused severe property damage and displacements, while available funding for wildfire risk reduction programs remains underutilized. Minister Ralston initially criticized local governments for this, but later clarified that some communities are actively engaged and funding is accessible. Enhancing wildfire protection for communities will be a key topic at the upcoming UBCM convention with proposals for increased prevention spending and automatic funding distribution. However, experts argue that current funding levels are insufficient for meaningful progress in wildfire resilience, a viewpoint supported by wildfire ecologist Robert Gray.
Port Moody experienced stagnant population growth from 2016 to 2021 caused by an anti-development council. Mayor Meghan Lahti acknowledges that their previous resistance to development attracted unwelcome attention from the provincial government. Port Moody holds potential for growth especially around SkyTrain stations. However, disputes over projects like a proposed seniors housing tower highlight the tension between development and preserving the neighbourhood character. Port Moody seeks a delicate balance with several major developments in progress, but the challenge lies in finding the right harmony between growth and addressing community concerns.