Plans for SkyTrain to Langley won’t help the Semiahmoo Peninsula, says White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker. (File photo)

Plans for SkyTrain to Langley won’t help the Semiahmoo Peninsula, says White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker. (File photo)

Surrey LRT decision ‘really sets White Rock back’: mayor

Walker says his focus now is making sure residents can access transit network

The decision to cancel light rail in favour of SkyTrain didn’t do the Semiahmoo Peninsula any favours, says White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker.

“It really takes it farther away from South Surrey and especially White Rock, our communities, and taking it off toward Langley,” Walker told Peace Arch News Monday.

“I think it really sets South Surrey and White Rock back a number of years, lord knows how many that might be. I was effectively opposed.”

Walker was among Lower Mainland mayors to vote last week against moving ahead with “planning and project development work” for SkyTrain along Fraser Highway.

The vote, held Thursday at the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting, followed heated, divisive debate over whether Surrey should be allowed to completely rejig South of the Fraser transit plans, after the city’s new council voted last month to clear light rail from the table.

Walker said that while Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum “has the right” to ask for change – given the mandate he believes his council received in October’s election – for him, key concerns are that residents of White Rock and South Surrey can access whatever system is in place, and that there is enough funding to make that aspect happen.

“For now, it puts us in a position where I think the best Surrey and White Rock can expect is that we need B-lines to connecting stations for us to get into the transit system,” Walker said.

“That’s what we need to focus on now. Whether it’s two years or 10 years to us doesn’t necessarily matter as much as what we want for the next year or so, and that is more buses to get the people who live in this area to wherever they want to be and into the transit system.”

Regarding whether Surrey should repay the $56 million already spent on light rail work for the now-cancelled Surrey-Newton-Guildford line, Walker said it “seems reasonable.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart was among mayors to insist that Surrey pay the funds back, noting that his city had helped fund city-specific transit improvements to regional plans in the past.

Walker told PAN it seems that “precedent has been set.”

“Coquitlam was expected to pay for whatever that change would cost,” he said. “They (Surrey) are the ones that are kind of driving the bus on this change, so I think it’s fair that they’re responsible for whatever the additional cost would be.”

The mayors eventually agreed that Surrey would “compensate” the Mayors’ Council for the “unnecessarily expended” costs that arose from cancelling light rail before any SkyTrain plans go ahead.

 

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, third from left, has strongly opposed light rail in favour of SkyTrain for Surrey. (Katya Slepian photo)

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, third from left, has strongly opposed light rail in favour of SkyTrain for Surrey. (Katya Slepian photo)

Just Posted

Darlene Bennett, right, speaking about her murdered husband Paul at a press conference in 2018. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Widow of Surrey murder victim seeking referendum vote on policing transition

Darlene Bennett files application with Elections BC seeking binding referendum vote

Canada’s Janet Leung steals second base during playoff action at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier tournament in South Surrey on August 31, 2019. Leung and her teammates have not been back to Softball City since, as the 2020 and now ‘21 Canada Cup tournaments have been cancelled. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck photo)
Canada Cup softball event cancelled for second straight year

Travel restrictions, health and safety concerns cited as reasons for cancellation

A Grade 8 student at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Teachers demand ‘urgent action’ as parts of Surrey see 20% positivity rate

26 schools in the hardest-hit region of the city had 105 exposure notices April 23-29

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Boats in the Fraser River launched from Barrowtown and Ft. Langley on May 12 to search for the missing fisherman. (Steve Simpson)
Boats search the Fraser River for missing Abbotsford fisherman

Anyone with ‘a boat, time, or a drone’ to help bring Damian Dutrisac home was asked to help

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Fraser Health still unsure if 333 cases of COVID among students, teachers were acquired in school

88 cases of 267 cases the health authority considers to be school-acquired lead to spread outside of school

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Colleen Price, Vancouver Island University’s bachelor of science in nursing program chairperson, says she is impressed with how students have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Next generation of B.C. nurses already showing resilience

University program head says learning had to be adjusted amidst pandemic

Most Read