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Decision to sell land in Surrey astounds MLAs Gentner, Ralston say move is short sighted but Falcon calls their criticisms ‘ridiculous’ Tom Zytaruk

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SURREY – The provincial Liberal government’s plan to sell off 15 acres of prime land in Sullivan that could have been home to a new hospital is like selling the family’s gold jewelry to buy groceries, NDP Finance Critic Bruce Ralston charged. The land, at the corner of Highway 10 and 152nd Street, had been earmarked for health care development under the Surrey Official Community Plan’s South Newton Neighbourhood Concept Plan. See also REACTION › page 4 See also HIGHLIGHTS › online See also VIEWPOINT › page 12

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White Rock It’s not the $3 pay parking that’s the problem, says Coun. Larry Robinson – it’s the overly zealous ticketing policy. Story on page 5.

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the taxpayer? I guess all the forestry on Crown land is costing the taxpayer and will be sold next.” Falcon said the land is costing taxpayers in the form of property tax and other “liabilities.” “It doesn’t generate any revenue,” he said. Ralston, NDP MLA for SurreyWhalley, noted that the Sullivan land sits at the geographic heart of Surrey. “Surely having valuable land centrally located would be good to have for public purposes in the future. This is just for their own short-term purposes. It’s a bit like selling the family gold jewelry to buy groceries.” Falcon disagrees. “That’s a ridiculous analogy,” he said. Falcon noted that since the Sullivan land was earmarked for health care purposes Surrey Memorial Hospital has undergone expansion; with an improved emergency ward to open next year, as well as an eight-storey critical care tower in 2014 – not to mention the hospital’s satellite Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre on 140th Street in Whalley. That, Falcon said, represents the “best value.” “It made more sense to keep all of it in one location,” said Falcon, Liberal MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale. tzytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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A Bangla group performs Wednesday during Surrey’s International Mother Language Day celebrations at Newton Cultural Centre. The day has been marked as the day when all mother languages throughout the world are celebrated. Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, and in India, Bangla is the second most commonly spoken language, right behind Hindi. (Photo: KEVIN HILL)

It was a project dear to Delta North NDP MLA Guy Gentner, who served as director of the North Delta Public Hospital Society before being elected. In 1990 the society had collected 4,000 signatures from people who wanted a new hospital built in North Delta. The Newton property was later recognized as an ideal site. Gentner, now serving as the public health critic for the NDP, laments the Liberal’s decision to sell off the land. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon says it’s surplus land that is costing taxpayers money. Gentner is aghast at Falcon’s reasoning. “How does an asset, already paid for, owned by government, cost

Kevin Falcon

Surrey Now February 23 2012  

Surrey Now February 23 2012

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