Nothing gets the blood pumping like the last couple of days leading up to any election, and this years vote in Surrey is no exception.
A wise man once said if someone promises you the moon, you better ask to see the ladder. Never was this more true than in this years election where promises are being made faster than the Conservatives pass those always controversial omnibus bills.
Cuts to operating budgets, dismantling of city owned development corporations, new soccer fields, a new ice rink, new field hockey facilities, new kabbadi fields, more cops, less cops, more bylaw officers, less spending.
Even a seasoned Surrey-ite like myself has a hard time keeping tabs on all the different promises that are cropping up left,right and centre, but the appearance of new campaign signs recently for Surrey First brought one promise right to the front and left me with my mouth wide open,parked along King George Boulevard.
Light Rail Transit complete by 2018?
Consider this- even the rather optimistically written press release by the city of Surrey spells out how tenuous this all is – the application for review is in the most preliminary stages, and no commitments for funding have been made by any level of government.
Furthermore, a business case for LRT has not been made and the city states that getting public support for the transit referendum will be central to the success of a LRT line! http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/16107.aspx
So how is it that mayoral candidate Linda Hepner can commit to completion in 2018?
According to this CTV interview, even though she says the line is dependent on a yes result in the transit referendum, she is going to build the LRT regardless of what the transit referendum result is anyways, as her plan B. So even though you might get a choice, she doesn’t care what you say regardless.( Here is where I note she has not attended any of the 4 resident hosted mayoral/candidates debates held in the city,so not really a surprise to hear this statement)
First,unless someone knows something the rest of us don’t, that is a promise that can’t be kept. Funding would already have to be secured, designs complete, and ground breaking tomorrow. Not happening unless Hepner has a magic wand.
Even the Translink timeline if… and that is a big if… the business case can be made, is years out from 2018. Without cash-strapped Translink being able to support an LRT line with expanded bus services at destinations, it won’t happen. Currently it’s not even possible to get to many neighbourhoods out of Newton Exchange past 9pm on a weeknight, and out of those same neighbourhoods without a long ride that requires a transfer, on weekends. This alone is a huge reason so many young adults leave the city-unless you live on a main route, or have a car, commuting is a nightmare.
This is why Surrey is such a car dependent community,and will continue to be this way as the city builds out in areas that won’t be served by transit for years – with limited funds on hand, the next mayor and council of Surrey will be faced with more frustrated residents as bus service will undoubtedly be a higher priority for many than LRT.
Like I said above, if someone promises you the moon, you better ask to see the ladder. Do your research on each candidates promises. You might just be surprised what you find out.
Stay tuned for the next Surrey Votes post on the most overlooked candidates of this election, and why you should check them out.