We were very disappointed by today’s Safe Surrey Coalition social media posts that depicted the Surrey Board of Trade and its CEO as being wrong to have questioned the investment and financial viability of Light Rail Transit (LRT) versus SkyTrain in 2018. Specifically, that the promised multi-government investment and TransLink funds for LRT could be moved to fund SkyTrain to Langley at the same price.
The purpose of any chamber of commerce/board of trade is to be an independent voice of business. The Surrey Board of Trade’s philosophy is that transportation and education are economic foundations, and all other investments, economic and social, flow from these foundations to create jobs and enhance livability.
In this recent municipal political paradigm, the Surrey Board of Trade was repeatedly asked to change our stance on transportation and public safety, and other issues, to align with that of the current majority slate – and only then would the slate engage with the Surrey Board of Trade. We would have had to change our long-term and well-researched positions. We would have had to compromise our values and our ethics. To change our positions with every changing political party that is in power defies the values of our industry.
The Surrey Board of Trade indicated in 2018 that it is not possible to just move $1.65 billion from LRT to completely fund SkyTrain to Langley. Mayor McCallum vehemently disagreed. In the end we were proven right. SkyTrain to Langley is now set at close to $4 billion.
We have an obligation to make it known that Surrey and the South Fraser economic region have been starved of transportation investments for decades. SkyTrain is a good first step, but different modes of transportation (in addition to buses) are needed to connect all of Surrey. The cities of Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby can fit into the geographic limits of Surrey. We need different transit and transportation solutions that will ease congestion and improve access for our workers and for our businesses that currently exist.
We have been a long-standing and respected business organization for our community, ensuring and enacting results for business through our diversified service portfolio.
The state of politics and democracy in Surrey must change. Political ads attacking a business stakeholder group and its senior employee are unacceptable. The Surrey Board of Trade will not tolerate this type of attack messaging.
As a member and/or stakeholder in Surrey, we felt it was important for you to hear our perspective.
Board Chair (Chief Governance Officer), Surrey Board of Trade
CEO, Surrey Board of Trade