September 13, 2018 8:30 am
Updated: September 13, 2018 2:56 pm

Surrey mayoral candidate Doug McCallum wants SkyTrain extension to White Rock

WATCH: Just when Surrey thought its light rail transit was a "go", there are concerns that the upcoming municipal elections could derail the project yet again. Ted Chernecki and Keith Baldey report.

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He’s running for mayor in Surrey, and promising to scrap Light Rail Transit (LRT) to build a SkyTrain out to Langley along the Fraser Highway instead.

Now, Doug McCallum is proposing that the SkyTrain should also extend to South Surrey.

“To sort of complete the rapid transit part of our city, the first phase would be from our city centre out Fraser Highway to Langley,” he said.

READ MORE: TransLink boss frustrated by Surrey SkyTrain vs. LRT debate


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“And the second phase that we’re proposing is to go from our city centre down King George to Newton, and then out to South Surrey.”

McCallum said he has studied the numbers, and is confident that a SkyTrain to Langley can be built for the same price as LRT: $1.65-billion.

“We can build these lines fairly quickly and I would go so far as to say that once we start construction on the SkyTrain and Fraser Highway — that we will build around the clock seven days a week.”

READ MORE: Former minister responsible for TransLink still supports LRT — but says it’s not the best option for high volumes of people

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond told the Surrey Board of Trade this week that McCallum is wrong, and that the cost would be about $900-million more.

McCallum calls Desmond’s comments astonishing. “I just don’t understand his position,” he said.

Another mayoral candidate, Tom Gill, is also wading into the debate.

READ MORE: City of Surrey working to correct misinformation on LRT project

“It’s unfortunate that my opposition is using it as a political football,” he said. “The realities are very simple. There’s not an additional billion dollars on the table right now for us to switch technologies.”

“I think we’ve done an incredible amount of work over the last decade, since 2008, finalizing a vision for the city. The idea is to get our residents around the city not necessarily get them downtown Vancouver.”

Gill also said that LRT between Guildford and Newton is only the first phase of a project that will extend to 150 kilometers.

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