Surrey council passes motions to scrap LRT, start municipal police force
Mayor Doug McCallum says city will have its own police force in 2 years
Surrey's new mayor isn't wasting any time getting to work on his two biggest campaign promises — scrapping the city's plan for a $1.65-billion LRT line and replacing the Surrey RCMP with a municipal police force.
Just minutes after Doug McCallum took his oath of office Wednesday evening, council unanimously passed motions to get the ball rolling on both projects.
McCallum said Surrey's own police department will be up and running in two years, and shrugged off critics who call his timeline too ambitious.
"It is fast, but we're on a fast track in the city," McCallum said.
"We got elected to start working today."
The city will now notify the federal and provincial governments that Surrey will terminate its contract with the RCMP.
No hard feelings
Surrey RCMP's officer in charge says he will work with the new mayor and council as they create their own police department, even though he disagrees with the mayor's position on policing.
"He and I don't see eye to eye on that," said assistant commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who had a front row seat at the council meeting.
"When you compare the Surrey RCMP to other large municipal police agencies in terms of number and in terms of budget, you're not going to beat us in terms of bang for your buck."
Now that council has voted in favour of cancelling an LRT line that would connect Surrey's Guildford, Whalley and Newton neighbourhoods, TransLink is stopping all work on light rail in the city.
McCallum will now have to convince the region's mayors to support the project he prefers — SkyTrain from Whalley to Langley along the Fraser Highway.
TransLink estimates McCallum's vision would cost $2.9 billion, but he believes he can get it built for $1.65 billion.
"It's a simple construction job," he said.
"It's a straight line, there's no tunnels or bridges, and because it's a straight line, 25 or 30 per cent will be at grade."