Single Mother Becky Zhou’s Campaign for City Council is Personal

Having lost her husband during a home invasion, Zhou hopes to improve public safety in Surrey

Becky Zhou believes in improving public safety in Surrey communities. (Kristine Hui)

This year’s election for Surrey City Council is hotly contested, with dozens of candidates vying for just eight spots. While every candidate has a unique reason for running, Becky Zhou—a realtor and single mother of two—is driven by a more personal story than most.

For Zhou, who is one of the first Chinese-Canadians to run for office in Surrey, winning a seat on city council would be more than a political victory. In July 2015, a 22-year old man attempted to break into her Cloverdale home, and her husband, Colin Hill, was shot and killed while trying to stop him. This incident is the driving force behind Zhou’s desire to run for city council.

“I want to change the public safety issue,” says Zhou. “I want to be part of it so that no one has to go through what I went through. I don’t want to see it happen to somebody else.”

After the shooting, Zhou admits that she thought about leaving Surrey for the safety of her family. She felt that there was not an adequate response from the police or government to improve public safety in Surrey, and believes that drugs and gang-related violence have only worsened over the following three years.

Rather than moving to a safer neighborhood, she decided to fight to improve her community. If elected to Surrey City Council, she plans to implement the “No Call Too Small” policy, which is currently being used in Delta. Rather than waiting for small disturbances to turn into emergency situations, this program allows people to call the police to report non-emergency issues and have them investigated seriously.

Reflecting on the incident that killed her husband, Zhou says that she feels the police didn’t take her case seriously enough, and that a larger police presence is needed in Surrey.

“It could happen to anybody and I don’t want it to happen to anybody,” she says. “This is serious. If I have to I will bring [this issue] to Trudeau. We want more police. We want the streets safer. We want the communities safer.”

Zhou also thinks that, for the safety of communities, halfway houses should be kept in isolated areas rather than placed in residential zones. She suggests that the city should establish a farm for the homeless to work and live on as one example of how the community could be kept safe.

She would also like to see mentorship programs installed in the city. Through these, successful members of the community could speak with and inspire youth. Zhou hopes that this would help them see a future for themselves beyond getting involved in drugs and crime.

In regards to transit, Zhou would like to see the completion of Surrey’s Light Rail Transit project, as the city now has the funding to move forward with it. She thinks that the government should work with developers to help rezone areas near Skytrain and light rail train stops. In turn, the developers will contribute money for low income housing and more public transportation infrastructure.

This election may be Zhou’s first foray into politics, but her first-hand experience as a victim of crime gives a voice to many Surrey residents who have been affected by growing violence in the community.

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