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LRT, legal pot and policing were hot topics at Surrey mayoral debate

A few hundred people turned up to watch, but there was no clear winner at last night’s mayoral debate in Surrey.

The LRT vs. SkyTrain debate has been a driving force in this election campaign and it was again up for discussion at the mayoral forum.

READ MORE: Surrey mayoral candidate says majority of residents oppose LRT

Tom Gill with Surrey First made it clear where he stands.

“We’ve got $1.65 billion on the table. By no means am I going to let that money go. We need that infrastructure, we need that money, we need that transit plan here in Surrey,” he said.

Independent candidate Pauline Greaves said there’s no turning back, the project is too far along.

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“It’s there now, we don’t have a choice,” she said.

READ MORE: Surrey mayoral candidate Doug McCallum wants SkyTrain extension to White Rock

Doug McCallum with Safe Surrey Coalition re-stated his position that LRT will be cancelled if he’s elected.

“In the first meeting of council we’re going to cancel the light rail project in Surrey and we’ll start on SkyTrain right away,” he said.

Bruce Hayne with Integrity Now said most people he’s talked to don’t want the project to go forward.

“They want us to hit the pause button,” he said.

READ MORE: Surrey mayoral candidate wants to press pause on LRT if elected

On the legalization of cannabis, Hayne said government should not be involved in retail sales.

“I think the government’s job is to regulate, tax and to govern and make sure the safeguards are in place for the community, but I don’t think it needs to be in the retail sector.”

Gill disagrees. He said marijuana retail sales should remain in the hands of government.

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“I would not be opening this up to private market, it would just be government-only stores,” he said.

READ MORE: Surrey RCMP injects itself into civic election campaign

McCallum told the audience he’ll do away with pay parking at City Hall and Surrey Memorial Hospital if elected.

“People go to the hospital, they’re under emotion and they’re hurting because of visiting loved ones or members of their family who are sick,” he said.

“The last thing they need to do is try to find a parking meter.”

Hayne also added another election promise, saying he’d like to see the construction of a performing arts centre.

READ MORE: Surrey’s outgoing mayor voices concern over pot revenue, pushes for policing debate

“I played on the road for many years and played in bands my whole life, so it’s something that is near and dear to my heart,” he said.

Greaves said it’s time to dump the RCMP in favour of a “South Fraser Regional Police Force.”

“Surrey is very different and quite unique based on its diversity and based on the sheer size,” she said.

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She also said that Surrey needs an empty homes tax — something Hayne, Gill, and McCallum all disagree with.

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