A sizeable rally is slated for city hall Monday afternoon as the city readies to give final adoption to a controversial budget.
Surrey is expected to give final adoption to a budget that calls for no new police, firefighters and a freeze on the hiring of city staff.
Former city councillor Mike Starchuk says people are agitated by the budget, which he says has galvanized the community.
“There are all kinds of people that are taking a look at what’s happening with regards to tonight’s vote on the budget, and they’re saying `this isn’t what I asked for. This isn’t what I want from my city,’” said Mike Starchuk, also a former firefighter.
He doesn’t know how many people that will show up to the rally tonight, but says social media hits have reached close to 40,000.
He anticipates between 1,000 and 5,000 will attend the pre-vote rally in the plaza beside city hall at 6 p.m.
More than 200 people packed city hall on Dec. 2 to voice opposition to the budget, many decrying the lack of investment in public safety.
Starchuk said the rally is vitally important.
“This is important because the politicians that are elected today were elected to speak on our behalf,” Starchuk told Pulse FM last Wednesday. “And so far, the only people speaking on our behalf are people that are opposed to this budget.”
He said the councillors who supported the budget failed to express to the public why they were.
“The council that is pushing this budget forward, had plenty of time in council chambers to explain to other councillors and the public why this is a good thing,” Starchuk said. “Why not having any rec centres, why not having any (new) first responders … why that’s a good thing, and they chose not to say anything in chambers.”
The planned rally is scheduled for 6 p.m beside city hall and the regular meeting of Surrey council is scheduled for 7 p.m.