Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin reveal their 2015 goals.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin reveal their 2015 goals.

Surrey, White Rock mayors set bar high for 2015

City leaders reveal hopes and goals for their respective cities in the new year

The mayors of White Rock and Surrey say they don’t want to be overly ambitious when it comes to making new year’s resolutions for 2015, both for themselves and for the cities they serve.

But both say they would be happy to make some progress in key areas that would promote the livability of their communities.

“I’ve given up making resolutions for myself – they start really well but they don’t end well,” chuckled White Rock’s Mayor Wayne Baldwin this week. “Although I think I will be making an effort to continue yoga.”

As far as his city is concerned, Baldwin said he wants to launch his second term concentrating on the priorities he discussed during the election campaign leading up to November’s vote.

Top of the list is lobbying the BNSF and federal transportation authorities to rerouting train traffic – particularly coal trains and dangerous goods – off the waterfront, with the eventual goal of removing the railway altogether, he said.

“I hope we can realize this, ultimately, although it may take a number of years,” he said. “Obviously, it can’t all be done in 2015, but I hope we can, at least, take the first steps toward this.”

Other priorities, Baldwin said, include continuing the city’s move toward acquiring White Rock’s water utility from Epcor, and updating the city’s Official Community Plan.

“We need to deal with a couple of issues including the Everall neighbourhood – Oxford to Martin, north of Thrift – and a couple of other areas that need to be tidied up a bit. Once we get through with that, we need to focus on Johnston Road.”

Former longtime Surrey councillor Linda Hepner said Tuesday that, after seven months of successfully campaigning for the mayor’s chair, coming down with a bad cold “the moment I got a minute to relax,” has told her she needs to focus on creating a balance between her working and personal lives.

“I’m a very task-focused person, and while my resolution is to be the best mayor I can be for the city, that means establishing the balance that is necessary for my personal life as a mother, a grandma and a wife,” she said.

But she added she sees nothing wrong with being ambitious at the onset of a new year.

“It’s good to set the mark high right at the beginning,” she said.

Some areas Hepner believes the city can make progress on in 2015 include moving forward with Surrey’s community plan, beginning the process of establishing a community court to help reduce case backlogs and make the decision process easier and faster, and creating a greater emphasis on mental-health issues and addiction counselling.

“I also want some of the work we’re doing with Innovation Boulevard in the city centre (to) get the international attention it deserves,” she said.

“The first part has been focused on health technology, but I want to see us expand that to include mental health and also agriculture, food security, cultural and creative industries, as well,” she said.

 

 

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