February 13, 2018 4:55 pm

Community activist calls for referendum on Surrey LRT

An artist's rendering of what Surrey's LRT might look like.

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A Surrey community activist says he’s not sold on plans for light rail transit (LRT) in the city, and wants to see the project put to a vote.

LRT for Surrey is one of three major capital projects planned for phase two of the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ “10-year vision” for transportation, along with a replacement Pattullo Bridge and a Broadway subway in Vancouver.

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Surrey resident Richard Landale says as a taxpayer, he’s getting increasingly concerned about a lack of transparency around the project.

He says there’s been no final cost estimate, no mention of construction or operating costs and no word on what lands will be expropriated for LRT stops.

“What we’ve had is the mayor saying, ‘Surrey wants this, Surrey wants that,'” he said. “But actually, the mayor wants this and that.”

READ MORE: TransLink reveals new images of Surrey LRT

The first phase of the LRT project, which will connect Guildford and Newton via Whalley, was projected to cost $2.14 billion in 2014, however TransLink has since admitted it will cost more.

The City of Surrey says the final cost of the project is “going through the final approval process,” and should be released soon.

But Landale, who recently fought construction work in Surrey’s Hawthorne Park linked to the LRT line, said the city should put the project to residents in a referendum.

READ MORE: Light rail to the Fraser Valley? Abbotsford mayor says it’s not ‘pie in the sky’

“Surely the people of Surrey are entitled to have a clear voice, yes or no, and make a choice. That’s our democratic way.”

Landale said in addition to concerns about cost and transparency around the project, he’s unsatisfied with the amount of input the public has had into whether the city should be using ground-level LRT or an elevated system like the SkyTrain.

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