Niovi Patsicakis (NDP) and Gary Hee (Independent) are candidates for the provincial election for Surrey-White Rock and Surrey South respectively

Niovi Patsicakis (NDP) and Gary Hee (Independent) are candidates for the provincial election for Surrey-White Rock and Surrey South respectively

New candidates for Surrey South and White Rock

Niovi Patsicakis and Gary Hee will be running as candidates in May's provincial election.

Two more locals are hoping to represent their communities in the upcoming provincial election: Niovi Patsicakis hopes to represent the NDP in Surrey-White Rock; and Gary Hee, has thrown his hat as an independent in the new Surrey South riding.

Patsicakis said she wants to see school-system funding reallocated.

“We need to address the way the system is funded. Right now the funding formula that’s being used is not working, that’s why we are always behind in getting new schools built in Surrey, and we spent a lot of money–  I believe it’s $4 million – to fund portables and that money comes out of the district’s operating budget,” she told Peace Arch News last week, adding that a goal is to get rid of portables in the next four years.

Patsicakis said that the money being used for portables is taking away from funding for support services, like education assistances and programs for the gifted.

“I’m outraged at what has happened to the education system under the Liberals,” she said in a press release.

Hee named removing bridge tolls from the Port Mann Bridge as a key reason behind his decision to run.

“We got the completely new Port Mann Bridge with a lot of construction-defect problems, with the way snow bombs, ice bombs were dropping on everything so, we paid a top price for a California bridge that isn’t suited for B.C. weather, so I became more active in campaigning for no bridge tolls in B.C.”

Hee said that it was the volunteer work that he was doing in the Clayton area, where he lives, that made him want to run for election.

“I became a Block Watch captain in the area I reside in… So I was a Block Watch captain for about four years since moving out here in 2012,” he said.

Hee said he started petitioning for road improvements in the area, and wasn’t pleased with the construction of the new Port Mann Bridge.

He said that to him, none of the provincial parties represented how he felt about bridge tolls.

“I want to stand up for what change needs to be done, not to just stand up and support a political party for their own agenda.”

Other key issues for Hee are the conditions of area hospitals, and homelessness. Regarding the latter, he said he would be willing to donate to the cause should he win his riding.

“If I’m elected, knowing what the existing income incumbents get, I do not have a problem to donate my old-age pension – a portion of my old-age pension – for six months to help charity.”

Patsicakis – who was acclaimed by the Surrey-White Rock Constituency Association Sunday – is also concerned about homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Surrey.

“Surrey was supposed to be an affordable place to move to, but especially in our area, it’s really difficult to own a home – even apartments or condominiums are on the rise – so it’s driving young people away… It’s just making life more and more unaffordable,” she said.

Peace Arch News