Politics must not trump public safety – It’s time for government to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to Surrey.

Keep wondering what would look different if Surrey had its own police force.

No Strings Attached: Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

After another Detroit style rolling shoot-out yesterday in Newton,the last thing Surrey residents wanted to wake up to was news of more gun violence this morning- this time in North Surrey.

It is little solace to anyone that todays shooting appears not to have been linked to the ‘low-level turf war’ some of the 26 shootings in the last 9 weeks. The victims are known to police and while the RCMP again say there is no risk to the public – ( Phew, don’t worry folks,it’s not connected to the ongoing turf war, it’s just one of those regular old, run of the mill shootings…) – this doesn’t give the neighbours any reasonable expectation of feeling safe knowing the people next door were all shooting at each other.

When I saw the footage this morning of what appeared to be nearly a dozen police vehicles dedicated to this investigation, instantly…

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Where does the buck stop?

It is incumbent upon all of us to do something to improve this sad and unfortunate situation in our city.
Make a call, send a letter. Take 5 minutes out of your day and just do it. Let’s get all levels of government and the community together and talk. No blame. Just talking and more importantly, listening.

No Strings Attached: Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

There is a quiet,angry sadness growing over Surrey this morning and the silence speaks volumes as a family grieves and a community is left reeling.

The young man murdered early Sunday was the nephew of MLA Harry Bains. And while death on the street is not new to a city that has been home to many infamous examples of how it ends for those connected to gangs and drugs,it’s hit home hard for many today that this can and does happen in anyone’s family because of the connection.

I felt sick when I first heard Sunday evening before media had confirmed it.Local residents already knew. Harry and I had just spoken via twitter early yesterday morning as I reached out asking for his help in setting up a meeting between all three levels of government and the community that was agreed to, but never arranged by the city.

He agreed,saying…

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Pre-1900s pictures of giant trees in Surrey

A reminder of what we lose when we develop without the long term vision in mind. The tree in the bottom photo was estimated to be 1000 years old. Those can’t be replaced.
Trees help clean the air and help slow rainfall. Without trees we get overflowing storm drains and flooding. We get eroded creek banks. Come to my neighbourhood, I’ll show you what the loss of trees and the dramatic increase in storm water run-off has done to the banks of Henry Bose Creek in my back yard. Trees are falling into the water at an alarming rate.
Development is inevitable. That’s not my point. We need to develop our city in a smarter, more sustainable way. People, it’s not rocket science. We need to plan and develop Surrey for its citizens and their quality of life, or we risk losing it all in the name of greed.

Save Sunnyside Trees

All (?) the giant trees are gone from Surrey, but there are some pictures of them. I searched Surrey Archives for “tree” and here are some of the neat pictures of ancient trees in the PNW! The captions are from their database.

View of Martin Saarela (faller) standing next to tree. Lived on Bose Road east of the Bose Farm. Tree felled on Bose Farm, 74" in diameter. pre-1960 View of Martin Saarela (faller) standing next to tree. Lived on Bose Road east of the Bose Farm. Tree felled on Bose Farm, 74″ in diameter. pre-1960

Jimmie Dicil, Bert McIntyre and Joe Ralph stand next to stump of fallen tree at Pike and Townline Road. 1895 Jimmie Dicil, Bert McIntyre and Joe Ralph stand next to stump of fallen tree at Pike and Townline Road. 1895

Jimmie Dicil, Bert McIntyre and Joe Ralph sit atop stump of fallen tree at Pike and Townline Road. 1895 Jimmie Dicil, Bert McIntyre and Joe Ralph sit atop stump of fallen tree at Pike and Townline Road. 1895

Mr. I. Donald standing beside felled giant tree. 196_ Mr. I. Donald standing beside felled giant tree. 196_

 Felling a tree - South Surrey. 1906 Felling a tree – South Surrey. 1906

Loggers stand in front of large cedar tree near the Duckabush River. pre-1930 Loggers stand in front of large cedar tree near the Duckabush River. pre-1930

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Gangsta’s Paradise? Hardly….

Here we go again. Our city is in the midst of a drug war. Police say the participants are involved in “low level” gang activity. They are young men, most of them just 20 years old, barely out of high school one assumes.  The promise of easy money, fast cars and the dangerous, but oh so seductive and celebrated gangster lifestyle is too hard to resist.  When guns are used on busy streets, in broad daylight ( again) there’s nothing low level about it. This is serious business. The soldiers in these spats aren’t concerned about civilians getting hurt. The old ‘honour’ code of conduct is dead. It doesn’t matter that the hits are “targeted”. How accurate can a shot be when it’s fired into a moving vehicle from a moving vehicle? Sheer luck has prevented an innocent bystander from getting hurt. But luck has a way of running out. And if someone, heaven forbid a child gets caught in the crossfire, there will be hell to pay.

“Gangsta’s Paradise”
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left
Cause I’ve been blasting and laughing so long,
That even my mama thinks that my mind is gone
But I ain’t never crossed a man that didn’t deserve it
Me be treated like a punk you know that’s unheard of
You better watch how you’re talking and where you’re walking
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk
I really hate to trip but I gotta loc
As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke, fool
I’m the kinda G the little homies wanna be like
On my knees in the night saying prayers in the streetlight

And so it goes…

Why Bullying Won’t End Anytime Soon

Today is Pink Shirt Day, the annual Anti-Bullying event to  raise awareness to the ongoing issue of bullying in our schools. It’s a noble cause  that I support. Anything that helps those who are harmed harassed,and humiliated is a  good thing.

But… how can we really expect our kids to change their behaviour when adults aren’t changing their own?  We ” grownups”  are among the worst  perpetrators of intimidation and bullying. We see it everywhere.  In politics, name calling and just plain  in-your-face rudeness is the norm. If you disagree on issues or challenge the status quo, be prepared to be snubbed.  It’s grade nine all over again.

The entertainment industry thrives on bullying as a spectator sport. Think of all the reality shows where bitching and putdowns aren’t just tolerated, they’re encouraged. We the viewers salivate and beg for more. We are a society that loves the one-liner gotchas.  Just last weekend an Academy Award was bestowed upon actor JK Simmons for his portrayal of a brutal  and malicious music teacher in the movie Whiplash. Don’t get me wrong-it was an excellent performance, but it shows that we still love to see the big, bad bullies on our screens.

So why should we be surprised that children are mean to one another, in person and on social media?  We have made bullying in all its permutations “normal”.  Until we, the ones who should know better take a look in the mirror and become kinder and more accepting of others who have opinions and beliefs that are not our own,  all the pink shirts in the world aren’t going to change one single thing.

How much water goes into the river?

Ever wondered why the streams in your neighbourhood have gotten so wide so quickly? Read this. Something we don’t think about much.

Save Sunnyside Trees

Before gabbing about how I did this and why, I’ll put the answer first (this is for a development area about 500m long and 500m wide):

liters of rain on a rainy day 2005 is pre-development, 2014 is after building five townhouse complexes (over 400 units) and over 150 single family homes. Over 1 million liters of rain falls on the roads on a really rainy day.

I’ve been watching the rain collect on my narrow streets and run down the drain into fish habitat.

SONY DSC

Every time it rains, I wonder how development has affected the amount of road runoff that ends up in rivers and streams.

I did some basic analyses to get a general idea. I chose a recently-developed area, about 256,000 square meters (thanks COSMOS mapping program!), and highlighted the roads (not rooftops or driveways…let’s say that developers have used sub-soil gravel diversions and other techniques to divert that runoff into soil).

glenmore et al road runoff 2005 and 2014, developments east of Grandview Corners (24th Ave…

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