Re: "Watts should resign," the Now letters, July 31.
I am concerned about Vikram Bajwa's letter to the editor regarding the Surrey Regional Economic Summit as it contains information that is misleading.
I have been open and honest about all information related to the Surrey Regional Economic Summit.
I have repeatedly confirmed that all speaker fees related to the summit are paid from ticket sales and through contributions from event sponsors - all at no cost to Surrey taxpayers.
This has been the case for each of the four summits we have hosted.
High-profile speakers request that their speaking fees not be disclosed, and therefore due to restrictions contained within the contracts, the fees paid to the speakers are kept confidential.
This is one of the reasons why we work so hard to ensure that no taxpayer dollars are allocated to speaker fees or used to pay for the costs of the summit.
With respect to policing costs, the Surrey RCMP attended the 2011 summit to manage traffic and protect public safety after hundreds of protestors blocked 104th Avenue and the surrounding area.
Those costs were covered within the RCMP's existing budget with no additional cost to taxpayers. This is not unusual. The RCMP police hundreds of events held in the city every year and the resources allocated vary depending on the nature of the event.
Hosting high-profile events or celebrations where large numbers of people gather is the hallmark of a growing and dynamic city, and it is something that we will continue to do in the future.
I am proud of the fact that we are able to host an incredibly rich variety of events in Surrey for families and the business community alike, and that we do so safely and in a way that is fiscally responsible.
The Surrey Regional Economic Summit has grown into one of the most significant business and economic conferences in Canada and is a big part of our city's brand as we work to attract jobs, investment and business to our city to ensure continued prosperity.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts
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