British Columbia

Surrey city council passes tightened operating budget amid criticism

Surrey city council passed its operating budget in a 5-4 vote on Monday night.

Spending on a number of community projects will now be delayed

A Cloverdale family attended the meeting, hoping council would vote against the budget. (Cory Correia/CBC)

Surrey city council passed its operating budget in a 5-4 vote on Monday night, amid protests from members of the community.

Under the new budget, the construction of an ice rink in Cloverdale will be delayed, and the hiring of Surrey RCMP officers will be put on hold until next year.

Earlier this month, the city posted a proposed five-year spending plan signed off by city manager Vincent Lalonde and general finance manager Kam Grewal, outlining how it could save $136 million in future debt through the "postponement" of debt-funded projects already approved.

Spending on the Cloverdale Sport and Ice Complex, the Grandview Heights Community Centre and Library, an Indigenous gathering place, a modular child care project, and work on RCMP facilities were all on the list of proposed postponements, sparking outcry from a number of community groups.

Budget cuts will delay construction of the proposed new Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex. (City of Surrey)

Critics of the budget tightening have accused the mayor of bringing in a capital spending freeze to free up funds for a new municipal police force in Surrey.

Mayor Doug McCallum has defended the spending plan, saying "we need to live within our means in Surrey."

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