SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Since election night a week and a half ago, local news outlets have tried repeatedly to get in touch with Surrey’s mayor-elect Doug McCallum, and have heard nothing.
So, NEWS 1130’s Kurtis Doering paid McCallum a visit at his home in South Surrey.
The mayor-elect has some big changes planned for his very first council meeting, including his controversial promise to scrap the city’s light-rail transit plans and build a SkyTrain extension out to Langley for the same price of $1.65 billion. The region has already spent around $50 million on LRT plans already.
TransLink, and other Metro Vancouver mayors have said that’s impossible, but McCallum is standing firm, basing it “on the Evergreen Line that was finished a year and a half ago for $1.4 billion, which is the same distance, and same SkyTrain technology.” He adds he’s not worried that Ottawa will pull funding.
McCallum also says that a SkyTrain would add to the region’s cohesion when it comes to transport, as opposed to light-rail, which he argues would “break the region apart.”
“We have not changed our mind, we have a large mandate, we all got elected in this particular time and we intend to stay by our decisions, the decisions of the people of Surrey,” he tells NEWS 1130.
“We want to part of the region. SkyTrain is why it was built in every other city in this region and Surrey just wants what everybody else has, and SkyTrain is the only system that’s going to tie them into the whole region.”
McCallum says he and council are still in transition mode, and have been bogged down with training and meetings, which is why our near-daily calls have not been returned.
SkyTrain vs. LRT topic of confusion of Surrey-ites
People in Surrey are bit confused about why McCallum is scrapping the plans in place and what comes next.
“We’ve already got funding for the LRT and I don’t understand why they would do something all over again, it’s pretty much a waste of our money and a waste of our time,” opines one Surrey resident at King George Station.
“It seems like it they only want to do it for aesthetic and if they go ahead with it, they’re going to have to revamp it again in five, 10 years because it’s going to be impossible to get a ride anywhere. All the cars are going to be full,” says another.