November 6, 2018 6:07 am
Updated: November 6, 2018 7:09 pm

Surrey council votes to cancel LRT, replace RCMP

The new city council in Surrey has wasted no time in moving forward with some dramatic changes in B.C.'s second largest city. Catherine Urquhart has more on how Doug McCullum and his team plan to pull it off.

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Right after being sworn into office Monday night, Surrey mayor Doug McCallum wasted no time in putting two motions on the table.

The first was to cancel LRT and beginning work on extending SkyTrain into Langley.

He also starting work on creating a Surrey police force and serving notice to the federal and provincial governments that the city will be terminating its contract with the RCMP.

The motions were passed unanimously.

Even the lone opposition councillour, Linda Annis, voted in favour.

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“I really feel we need to work as a team and I want to start off on a positive front”, she said.

READ MORE: Surrey LRT to be up and running by 2024, cost set at $1.65 billion

Surrey RCMP ‘Officer in Charge’ Dwayne McDonald was on hand for the inaugural meeting and offered up his thoughts on moving to a municipal police force.

“Am I disappointed? Yes I am because as I’ve already said because we provide an excellent service and our stats back that up.”

Meanwhile in a news conference after his swearing in, McCallum told reporters work begins now on SkyTrain.

“We have instructed our staff and TransLink staff to stop working on the light rail at this stage.  We have authority over our own staff so they’ve stopped any work on the light rail project and they actually have started to look at the work they have to do for SkyTrain.”

TransLink said in a news release that in light of the resolution passed by the City of Surrey council, we are pausing work on the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT Project and suspending the RFQ process while we await direction from the Mayors’ Council and the TransLink Board.

READ MORE: B.C. election: Doug McCallum to return as Surrey mayor

Surrey will now to have to make a case for a change to SkyTrain from LRT to the TransLink Mayors’ council and once that’s done McCallum says it’ll be full speed ahead.

“We intend to build it around the clock, 7 days a week.”

McCallum also says it can be built for the same cost as LRT, 1.65-billion-dollars.

He also promised to “move very fast” on creating a municipal police force.

Councillor Jack Hundial, a retired Staff Sergeant with Surrey RCMP, says one of the advantages will be more accountability.

“One of the key components to have your own municipal police force is gonna be having a police board and with that board you have community involvements your representatives from the community sitting making decisions and priorities for policing in the community.”

McCallum says early indications are 50 to 60-per cent of Surrey Mounties will move over to a new city force.

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