There is one very controversial Corporate Report (CR) which will get some attention at Monday night’s (June 15, 2020) Surrey Council meeting.  ‘Corporate Report (CR) R089 COVID-19: Emergency Operations Centre Update‘ identifies how the City has been impacted in all areas and what options there are to consider.  There isn’t any good news in this. The $42 million dollar deficit is clear.  To solve this, there are some very crappy things coming forward and I’ve taken the liberty to cut and paste them here for reference.

Surrey City Council - Corporate Report - $42M Budget Deficit - MikeStarchuk.com

General Managers have been tasked with reducing their current expenditures relative to budget and contribute a minimum of $8.0M toward mitigating the budgeted shortfall. This will be done by deferring capital expenditures (no new fire apparatus) use of consulting services, travel & training budgets, and utilization of overtime. Potential $8 million savings.

Most major civic facilities including Parks, Recreation & Culture and Library facilities remain closed until early September and possibly longer. Potential $6 million savings.

Staff are deferring the opening of Clayton Community Center until the first quarter of 2021. Potential $2.5 million in savings.

Cloverdale got shafted with the cancellation of the ice arenas and now this.  Can you hear the chants from Mayor and his crew? Screw Cloverdale, screw Cloverdale!

Vacant positions across all departments will remain unfilled until 2021 with the only exception being critical roles required to deliver essential services. This “gapping” of positions will put additional workload on current staff, service levels to the public will be moderately impacted in the short term; however, this will not be sustainable in the longer term.

Staff is asked to do way more with less and get used to it. Just what staff needs, to be added to the pandemic stressors. Potential savings on the backs of City staff is $2 million. 

Staff are eliminating the general funding associated with the downtown YMCA project, and utilizing these funds as a mitigating measure to minimize the forecasted budget shortfall. Potential $8.3 million savings.

Every aspect of Downtown Surrey with respect to recreation was anchored around the YMCA. The closure of the North Surrey Rec Center was based on a partnership with YMCA and now it’s vanished.  Can you hear the chants from Mayor and his crew? Screw City Centre, screw City Centre.

Staff are differing (sic) the Newton Athletic Fieldhouse project to a future year. This project can be reconsidered as part of the 2021-2025 Capital Budgeting process. Potential $2 million saving.

Staff are eliminating of the budgeted (their words) Newton Urban Park. This project can be reconsidered as part of the 2021-2025 Capital Budgeting process. Potential $1 million saving. 

Can you hear the chants from Mayor and his crew? Screw Newton, screw Newton!

Staff are reducing expenditures related to On-Going Capital for 2020 by $1.0M relative to budget. Although this budget is important for the maintenance and enhancement of city assets, the proposed one-time reduction will result in modest impairment of said city assets, this is not a sustainable option on a long term basis and should be considered a one time usage. Potential $1 million savings.

The big one will be below. They are going to consider reallocation of these reserves to take care of the budget shortfall of $40 million.

 Reduction of Non-Statutory Reserves 

The City maintains various reserves that are utilized to predominantly fund current and future capital requirements, some of these reserves are restricted by legislation (for example, Development Cost Charges) and others are not restricted. Reserve levels for the City have been maintained, however not necessarily at ideal levels due to fiscal limitations we now face. Staff may have to resort to utilize a portion of the following non statutory reserves on a strictly one- time basis to mitigate the forecasted budget shortfall in 2020: 

  1. Green City; 
  2. Corporate Contingency; 
  3. Revenue Stabilization; 
  4. Snow Removal; and 
  5. Equipment Replacement Reserve. 

The value utilized from each non-statutory reserve will be reported to Council in the future, once the actual shortfall is quantified. 

These reserves are at risk. Money from developers for the Green City Fund was paid, for the explicit reasoning to replace the trees removed during the construct of a development.  How is this conscionable to anyone on Council?

What you won’t see in this report is any kind of reduction in the Surrey Police Department transition spending.  Why would, or who would, ever contemplate digging into non-statuary reserves when you have SPD transition money at your fingertips? What is the hurry to move the SPD transition at a time when the planet is going through the most unprecedented pandemic in history?  If there ever was a time in history to press pause, it’s now. Spending on the SPD transition at the cost of all other items make ZERO economic sense.

This type of spending is contrary to everything we see from a Federal and Provincial level. Even Dr. Henry wants people to be recreating more and not less. The cutting of programs and the pillaging of the reserve funds is selling off our future.  This CR clearly states, “the future does not live here.”

All of this will be discussed “virtually” Monday night.  It’s hard to believe that staff cannot configure a 200 seat Council Chambers to accommodate 9 people so we can actually see them all at once.  So, we can be assured there isn’t any influence on the other side of a Zoom screen, so we can actually see their hands raised when voting, so we can see all their faces at once as our future sinks into the sunset.

Open and transparent….NOT!

 

Click on the link below, to see the full 56 page PDF document, from the City of Surrey website:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2020-R089.pdf

 

 

 

The restaurant industry is under great pressure, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The best way you can support your local economy right now is to buy local… and if you’re looking for the best Indian food in Canada, place your take-out order with Maharaja Restaurant in Surrey.

They are located in the Payal Business Centre, at Unit 407, 8148 128th Street, Surrey.

Their phone number is 604-592-3002.

Click here for a Printable PDF Menu  

Below, you can click on the images to see a few of their mouth-watering meals. 

Maharaja Restaurant in Surrey - Menu - MikeStarchuk.com

 

 

 

I thought I lived in a diverse and inclusive City, but… at a time on this planet, when the COVID-19 pandemic is making things more difficult for everyone, we should be looking for ways to make important things easier and not more difficult. We should be looking for solutions and not creating barriers.

All large venues have been closed, and personal distancing is the new norm. arenas, churches, gurdwaras, gyms, recreational centers, libraries and mosques, to name a few, are now empty. People are finding new ways to conform to these new realities. However, the Mayor of Surrey has built roadblocks instead of pathways for the Muslim Community in Surrey.

During Ramadan, Muslims go through their fasting rituals, and each evening there is a break from fasting when there is a call to prayer. Our Muslim Community asked the City of Surrey for a broadcast of this prayer, known as Adhaan, for the final ten days of Ramadan. This request was for one Mosque in Surrey to broadcast this prayer at dusk, as a symbolic gesture during a time when the Mosques are empty. No social gathering, just one person, broadcasting a 2-4-minute call to prayer.

Every other city in Canada, which received a similar request like this, has proudly adopted the request. Our neighbours in Vancouver and Burnaby have these in place, right now, for a nightly broadcast at dusk. In Surrey? Not a chance. The Mayor’s first reply to the request was one day only and at the end of Ramadan. The second reply was the last five days of Ramadan. This request shouldn’t be treated like a bargaining session. This should have been treated with the dignity and respect that other major cities in Canada have shown.

The City of Surrey celebrates and permits many occasions and events. A number of those are done with loud music and speeches. We seem to get through the noise volumes of Canada Day, Fusion Fest, Vaisakhi, Cloverdale Rodeo, Santa Parade, FVED in the Park and other events that create some noise levels for extended periods. To worry about one location in Newton, for ten days and 2 to 4 minutes of prayer seems excessive.

Come on… change this. It’s no different than the 7:00 pm salute to our frontline heroes… or are you going to stop that too?

 

Pulse FM Logo - MikeStarchuk.comClick here to go to the Pulse 107.7 FM interview about this issue.

 

Here is a new plea for a Kidney for Curtis, through the lens of the donor.

On my YouTube Channel, I will be posting a six part video series, (done via Zoom), to provide “bite-sized” nuggets of information throughout the week, about the organ donation process. Our hope, during this devastating COVID-19 pandemic, is that people will take some of their “down time” and look at how they can make a difference.

Questions regarding why I should donate, what happens to me, how long it takes, and other pertinent questions are answered, from the donor’s point of view.

Help us to help Curtis, or someone else, get their life back.

 

Click here to go to my YouTube Channel, to watch the videos.

 

Click on the green ribbon to get even more information on how to register to be an Organ Donor, in BC.

Organ Donation in British Columbia - MikeStarchuk.com

 

 

While the world is in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for organ donations does not go away.

Please join the Canadian Transplant Association’s Green Shirt Day and see if we can keep the Logan Boulet Effect going… Let’s register, call your friends, call your family… be inspired by Logan’s story.

Let’s see if we can find a kidney for my good friend Curtis, who is still waiting for a life altering kidney transplant.

Let’s see if we can change his, or someone else’s, life.

 

 

In British Columbia, you can register to be an Organ Donor, here:
https://register.transplant.bc.ca/

 

To find out more about the Organ Donor Program in BC, click here:
http://www.transplant.bc.ca/our-services/organ-donor-registry/

 

To find out more about Logan Boulet, and Green Shirt Day, click here:
https://greenshirtday.ca/

 

 

When I heard my good friend Curtis needed a kidney, I, along with 12 others, signed up right away. The process started with lab tests, then tests of my heart and lungs. I even had the “joy” of wearing a BP monitor for 24 hours…TWICE! Things were progressing well, but after these tests, I was the only donor who was viable to go forward.

Curtis - Doing his dialysis - Every four hours, every day - MikeStarchuk.comI began this journey to become a kidney donor late in 2018, when I found out Curtis’ first kidney transplant had failed, after 9 ½ years. Things were going along quite well and I was finding out along the way, my current health condition was very good. We got to a point in the testing process where it was determined I could not directly donate to Curtis. There was some sort of anti-body mismatch and the hopes of donating directly, were gone. It was disappointing to all, but the journey wasn’t over.

There is a program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver BC, that partners a kidney to the patient in need. Knowing there was another way to help Curtis, I continued the testing to see if there was going to be a possible match of my kidney for someone else who also had a partner with a kidney, that matched Curtis.

At the beginning it felt strange to think my kidney was going to go into a stranger. But after talking with my children, who are wiser than they believe, I decided to go through with it. I was willing to lie down on an operating table and wake up later with one less kidney, knowing that Curtis would get his life back. So why would it matter where my kidney ended up as long as Curtis could return to a normal lifestyle?

The final two tests that I had, took place at St. Paul’s Hospital where I had a renogram and a CT scan with dye. After the renogram was done, things were looking bright because it was very obvious my kidneys were functioning equally. So, it seemed like it was just a formality to map out the kidneys with the CT scan. Unfortunately, this is where the journey ended. The CT scan indicated there was some calcification on one of the arteries. Because the doctors at St. Paul’s place a high priority on the donor’s health, it was determined I would not be a candidate.

It had been about eight months to get to where I was in the process. It was disappointing as hell. But from a personal perspective I definitely had a clean bill of health knowing full well that I had the most detailed and complex medical evaluation of my life.

Now the story changes for me, but not Curtis. Curtis still has to find a private place to perform his own personal dialysis every 4 to 5 hours, each and every day. To put it into perspective, medical supplies that Curtis go through on a daily basis, would fill one and a half photocopy paper boxes. Curtis is virtually handcuffed on a daily basis to these medical supplies, which makes it impossible to travel any great distance. As you can imagine this is not a great way to live one’s life.

The story now goes out to the general public as we shake the trees to see if someone can step up and become a living kidney donor. I’m asking you to look at these links and consider stepping up to the most rewarding challenge you will ever face. The testing is done at your own pace and your own schedule. It’s done privately and confidentially and quite frankly the information you get while you’re going through this process is good for your body and soul.

Curtis is a good friend of mine, and we need your help.

Please share this, repost this, print this, talk about this, and help me, help Curtis, get his life back.

 

Find out more about donating, by clicking the link below:

Transplant BC’s – Living Donation Program – Potential Donor & Patient Guide