AT its first meeting since the civic elections last month, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation on Thursday endorsed the City of Surrey’s decision to cancel light rail and switch the technology to SkyTrain.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said: “Surrey has long been a full partner in building rapid transit transportation for the rest of the region and Surrey has been waiting a long time for its turn. I commend the members of the Mayors’ Council who supported the resolutions for their foresight and recognition that the residents of Surrey have said unreservedly the best rapid transit option for our city is SkyTrain. This is a golden opportunity to move forward and start building.”
On November 5, after taking the oath of office, Surrey City Council convened a regular council meeting where a motion was introduced and passed unanimously to cancel the Surrey Newton Guildford LRT project and to begin work on extending the existing SkyTrain network in Surrey from King George Station to Langley City. The City’s Engineering and Transportation staff have already started work on the SkyTrain project in Surrey.
McCallum added: “Just as Surrey City Council has moved quickly on the wishes of our residents, I want to thank the members of the Mayors’ Council for dealing with this important issue in such a timely manner. Today’s decision fits well with the Mayors’ Council’s 10 Year Plan, which the City of Surrey fully supports, as SkyTrain is a known and proven technology and is the only rapid transit technology deployed in the entire Metro Vancouver region.”
The decision made today at the Mayors’ Council’s meeting is a significant step forward in realizing a new SkyTrain rapid transit line in Surrey, McCallum noted.
THE VOICE had pointed out three weeks ago (October 27 print paper) in a piece titled, “SkyTrain controversy: Surrey’s mayor-elect Doug McCallum doesn’t have to take nonsense from anyone”:
“Since McCallum’s victory last Saturday, vested interests have unleashed propaganda against his SkyTrain plan with distortions, half-truths and even outright lies. Yes, there are some difficulties ahead but that is why Surrey-ites elected a strong person like McCallum.
“Well, McCallum does NOT have to tolerate all this nonsense – he MUST go right ahead and cancel LRT and demand SkyTrain extension for Surrey. If other mayors and others do not cooperate with him, he should warn them that he will retaliate against them in every way he can on TransLink and in other areas. Surrey MUST be respected.
“Both the BC NDP and the federal NDP as well as the federal Liberals stand to lose support in Surrey if they try to sabotage McCallum’s SkyTrain plan. Make no mistake about that!”
Well, all that is coming true, no?
The Mayors’ Council approved a motion “recognizing the City of Surrey request to change the technology and timing of the Fraser Highway project from LRT to SkyTrain.”
CBC on Thursday reported: “While work will begin immediately on planning for a SkyTrain line to Langley, TransLink is cautioning that it will likely take time for the 17 kilometre line to be fully completed.”
“Management advises that it’s likely that SkyTrain from Surrey to Langley would have to be constructed in two phases,” wrote TransLink in its report to mayors, saying there was approximately a billion dollar funding gap that has not been committed to by senior levels of government.
CBC said: “It means the line could first end at Fleetwood or Cloverdale, but TransLink will be working on the business case for the entire line.”