Pardon the pun, but Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s decision to scrap light-rail for SkyTrain is absolutely on track.
Having lived in South Surrey for decades, I had the honour of working with McCallum when he was mayor years ago, and I was as impressed then as I am now with his knack for making strategic decisions in the best interests of Surrey.
Back in ’90s, McCallum froze city taxes. The result was that city staff had to work harder and smarter with less every year. As a result, Surrey became the most efficient and innovative civic government in B.C.
McCallum insisted that all new four-lane roads include boulevards. It met with fierce criticism from business interests at the time, but he pressed ahead. Just compare Surrey’s tree-lined boulevards today to Langley’s raceways. Case closed.
The ‘big telecoms’ came to meet with McCallum 20 years ago with grandiose plans to put microwave towers everywhere. He would have none of it. Instead all towers are now hidden on existing power systems or buildings.
Now, McCallum says he will scrap the road which the previous city council approved to slash through the heart of Cloverdale Fairgrounds. Who on earth thought that was a good idea? Go, Doug, go!
Paul Griffin, White Rock
No lack of consultation
Your Oct. 31 story on the New Westminster mayor’s suggestion that Surrey should pay back TransLink’s $50 million in LRT quoted Surrey’s then-mayor-elect Doug McCallum stating: “We have no intention of paying that. It’s TransLink’s problem, and it’s their mistake because they didn’t do any public consultation.”
This is not true. I attended at least three public-consultation sessions where TransLink staff talked about both the LRT and SkyTrain options. Many people were in attendance, including seniors, students that attend SFU and Kwantlen, small-business owners, people with disabilities and those advocating on behalf of people with disabilities. I have a disabled daughter and stated my preference for the LRT model, as it is safer for people with disabilities as they feel safer being in a public space than up on a platform.
Business owners also spoke in favour of LRT, as people could easily disembark to shop in their stores.
Marie Sabine, White Rock