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Friday November 5, 2010 (Vol. 35 No. 89)

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Going the distance: After dreaming for 20 years of joining a medical mission trip, Lisa Bruhm is preparing to volunteer in the Philippines a second time.  see page 11

Request made last July

East Beach landscaping jeopardizes safety: BNSF Tracy Holmes Staff Reporter

Watts up? Or a Falcon quest? Surrey mayor, MLA won’t rule out premiership run Jeff Nagel, Tom Fletcher, Kevin Diakiw & Alex Browne Black Press

Minutes after Premier Gordon Campbell stunned colleagues Wednesday morning by announcing he’s stepping down, two highprofile South Surrey residents said they haven’t ruled out campaigning for his job. Health Minister Kevin Falcon contacted Black Press to discuss Campbell’s legacy but would not say whether he will seek the BC Liberal party leadership at an upcoming convention, which Campbell said should be held “as quickly as possible.” “I haven’t ruled anything out or in,” Falcon said. “That’s not a discussion I’m prepared to have right now.” And while Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts as recently as September had dismissed a possible run for the premiership, she did not take the

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same stance this week. “I think right now it’s important to focus on the good things that have occurred in this province,” Watts said. “I think it’s really premature to have any discussion for anybody about leadership.” Asked if she would confirm her previous claim that she would not run for the leadership position, Watts declined. “I’m not going to say anything further on that. I think now is the time to look at the Gordon Campbell legacies we’ve seen in the city stepping down and in the province,” said Watts, a resident of Falcon’s Surrey-Cloverdale riding. Falcon – who lives in Ocean Park, in the neighbouring Surrey-White Rock riding – said

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he has done nothing to organize a bid for the premier’s job and that he would have to consult his family before considering the possibility. “Anyone who is seriously thinking about that job would never make that decision lightly,” Falcon said. (Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, a former cabinet minister, is on government business in Israel and could not be reached for comment. Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux – Campbell’s most recent appointment to cabinet as minister of sports and culture – also could not be reached by Peace Arch News press time Thursday.) In his announcement, Campbell acknowledged the fallout from the introduction of the harmonized sales tax in July. He said recent efforts to cut taxes, create jobs and improve the education system have not been accepted, and  see page 10

Landscaping installed by the city two years ago along White Rock’s East Beach is being ripped up this week, after BNSF officials expressed concern the grass, trees and shrubbery created safety issues. “They feel that the existing landscaping encourages people to linger in close proximity to the railway tracks,” Rob Thompson, the city’s director of engineer❝Just ing and municipal operations, said recently, a Wednesday. “This small child is not discretionary was within work. This has been requested by the feet of the railway specifically tracks.❞ for safety reasons.” Gus Melonas The work, which BNSF began by the city Tuesday and is to end next week, is on a strip of BNSF land approximately 1½ metres wide, stretching for about 400 m from the totem poles to the east end of the promenade. BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas said the work was requested after numerous close calls were reported by railway staff. The vegetation obstructs sight lines and the grass draws picnickers – a dangerous combination, he said. “There were far too many incidents occurring with the public that jeopardized their safety,” Melonas said. “Just recently, a small child was within feet of the tracks.” Shrubbery between the rear of the Balsam Street washrooms and  see page 4

Brian Giebelhaus photo

A train passes ‘picnic’ area.

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