Imtiaz Popat has announced his mayoral candidacy. (Submitted photo)

Imtiaz Popat to run for Surrey mayor, calls for interurban over light rail or SkyTrain

Popat was previously a council candidate with the now defunct Surrey Community Alliance slate

Imtiaz Popat has announced that he is running for Surrey mayor in the upcoming Oct. 20 election.

In a release, Popat said he’s running to “give the people of Surrey a better choice.”

“There is no one running for mayor I can support,” said Popat, who was originally nominated to run for city council with now defunct Surrey Community Alliance. “People are telling me that none of the candidates for mayor are a credible choice.”

Popat said he does not support LRT or Skytrain, but rather the “reactivation of the interurban community rail.”

According to Popat, the interurban was planned as a community rail service south of the Fraser that would run from Scott Road station through Newton, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford all the way to Chilliwack at a “fraction of the cost of the proposed LRT or Skytrain.”

“The new high-tech trams would be hydrogen powered and would be even cheaper that buses,” Popat said in a release. “The tracks are intact and have been preserved for commuter rail service. Both LRT and Skytrain will damage the fragile ecology of the Green Timbers Urban Forest. We don’t need another ecocide after what the outgoing council did with Hawthorne Park. They must be held accountable for what they did.”

Popat said the City of Surrey shouldn’t be pitching in money for the LRT project, that rather, that money should be spend on social housing. In June, the city decided to contribute roughly $24.5 million to the first phase of the project, described as a “modest sum.”

See also: Surrey to contribute $24M to LRT costs

“Both the LRT and Skytrain projects will displace a lot of low income housing,” said Popat. “Where are these people going to go?”

Meanwhile, Popat said he supports a Surrey police force, something proposed by the Surrey Community Alliance.

“I don’t however think we need to increase the number of officers as other parties have proposed, nor do I think we need a referendum that Tom Gill has proposed,” he said. “What we need is a police force that is accountable to community and works with community. We need better sensitivity training so that diverse population trust our police force.”

Imtiaz Popat, has lived in Surrey for over 30 years.

His biography says he is counsellor, and a community TV and radio host.

He is currently the development officer for the One Love West Coast Festival being held in Surrey in September and a program assistant at the Phoenix Drug & Alcohol Recovery & Education Society.

“He is a long-time equal rights and social justice activist,” a release notes. “He founded the Coalition Against Bigotry – Pacific to challenge the rise of bigotry in the pacific coast.”

Popat says his understanding as a counsellor will help him “understand critical issues facing diverse communities such as mental health, addiction as well issues around gang violence in order to advocate for more inclusive programs and service that are offered by the city.”

Other mayoral candidates in the upcoming Oct. 20 election in Surrey are Surrey First’s Tom Gill, Integrity Now’s Bruce Hayne, former mayor Doug McCallum with his Safe Surrey Coalition, Rajesh Jayaprakash with People First Surrey, and Proudly Surrey’s Pauline Greaves.

Click here to see a full list of candidates.

Click here to read more election stories.

Other election news:

See also: VIDEO: Surrey First announces full slate of candidates

See also: Mayoral candidate Pauline Greaves joins Proudly Surrey slate

See also: Parshotam Goel joins Proudly Surrey slate

See also: Steven Pettigrew and Jack Hundial join McCallum’s Safe Surrey slate

See also: Proudly Surrey announces fourth school board candidate

See also: People First Surrey announces mayoral candidate, third council hopeful

See also: Brenda Locke, Mandeep Nagra join McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition

See also: BUCHOLTZ: Surrey First naysayer goes out with a bang

See also: Woods joins Hayne’s Integrity Now slate as Surrey council candidate

See also: Handgun ban issue fires up Surrey candidates

See also: Surrey Honeybee Centre founder to run for council with Integrity Now

See also: Councillor Dave Woods resigns from Surrey First

See also: New independent school board candidate in Surrey

See also: Dr. Allison Patton joins Safe Surrey Coalition slate

See also: Downtown Surrey BIA announces all-candidates meetings

See also: Retired teacher Julia Poole to run for Surrey school board

See also: Pauline Greaves joins mayoral race in Surrey

See also: Avi Dhaliwal joins Surrey Integrity Now as council candidate

See also: Proudly Surrey wants to build a Rita Johnston statue, rename the Pattullo to Bob Bose Bridge

See also: McCallum keeps ‘Safe Surrey Coalition’ name, announces new candidate

See also: Rina Gill joins Bruce Hayne’s ‘Surrey Integrity Now’ party

See also: Doug Elford resigns from his Surrey party to run with McCallum

See also: People First Surrey announces first two candidates

See also: Doug McCallum running for Surrey mayor

See also: Former Surrey First Councillor Bruce Hayne to run for mayor

See also: Tom Gill is Surrey First’s mayoral candidate

See also: Hayne splits from Surrey First: ‘It’s just not open and transparent the way I’d like it to be’

See also: Surrey First’s Mary Martin not seeking re-election this fall

See also: Surrey First Councillor Judy Villeneuve not seeking re-election this fall

See more: New civic slate Proudly Surrey aims to offer ‘sharp, strong, left-leaning’ candidates

See more: Proudly Surrey introduces two more candidates for Surrey council, schoolboard

See more: Surrey Community Alliance announces intention to challenge Surrey First in civic election

See more: Surrey Community Alliance unveils civic slate, but no mayoral candidate

See more: People First Surrey party reveals intention to run in upcoming civic election

See more: Five Surrey First councillors now reveal interest in mayor’s chair

See more: With Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner out, who is mulling a mayoral run?

See more: Hawthorne Park crusader to run for Surrey council

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