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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

White Rock, Surrey, Delta of particular interest in B.C.’s summer bat count

Biologist advises people to stay away from bats, as humans could spread COVID-19 to bat population

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

MAY 27: Experts advise keeping distance from bats, federal deficit likely at $260 billion

Out On Patrol non-profit launched by LGBTQ2S+ law enforcement members in B.C.

Surrey-based RCMP officer among board members of new organization

Spending $500K on policing transition during pandemic a ‘waste,’ Surrey council hears

City council on a five-to-four vote authorized $500K for Surrey Police Department IT upgrades

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

Chilliwack school board censures trustee Barry Neufeld after controversial Facebook post

Board chair issues statement on censure but little else regarding Facebook post controversy

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas have been closed for weeks

JK Rowling publishes first chapters of new story online

Book will be a fairy tale for kids and benefit those particularly affected by the pandemic

BREAKING: Langley Gabby’s Country Cabaret announces ‘heartbreaking’ permanent closure

Owner Steve Gallagher ‘holds out hope’ of a new future for the 35-year-old nightlife hotspot

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Most Read

l -->