Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose. (File photo)

Surrey election

Former Surrey mayor says civic election a ‘gong show’

‘I don’t know who the hell to vote for,’ Bob Bose says

Bob Bose is the closest thing we have to a professor emeritus of Surrey civic politics. But the former mayor, now 86, just doesn’t know what to make of this current election campaign.

“This election is a gong show,” he told the Now-Leader on Friday. “I don’t know who the hell to vote for.”

Bose, who holds a PhD in chemistry, was Surrey’s mayor from 1988 until 1996, when he was defeated by Doug McCallum.

Surrey’s voters go to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 20.

What Bose does know, is he likes light rail transit.

“This is an opportunity,” he said of LRT. “There’s not been any improvements to transit since 1994, when they extention-ed it up to Whalley. Surrey’s just getting more choked with cars and the light rail system will save communities.

“This question of light rail versus SkyTrain is not an unimportant little dispute,” he said. “It will have fundamental consequences in the shaping of Surrey in the future.

“I’m a huge supporter of light rail, surface rail. McCallum is running a very destructive campaign opposing it.”

That said, he does like some elements of his former political rival’s platform.

“I support some of McCallum’s platform,” he said, such as “taking a pause in development and trying to manage development that’s consistent with the services to be provided.”

READ ALSO SURREY ELECTION: 8 running for mayor, 48 council hopefuls, 30 trustee candidates

So anyway, Bob, who’s gonna win?

“From what I’m hearing, McCallum has the odds in favour in polling, but I don’t trust polling that much,” Bose said. “I don’t know, I don’t know.”


Bob Bose’s roots run deep in Surrey — his grandad Henry Bose, who owned a farm in Surrey, served as mayor from 1905 to 1910. Beside himself, his family also counts a reeve, a magistrate and 64th Avenue — aka Bose Road — among its contributions to local heritage.

Bose was employed as a scientist at UBC when he and his wife Shirley bought a house on Panorama Ridge and “immediately got involved in subdivision/rezoning controversies,” he told yours truly as I was writing my book Millennium Milestones, a history of Surrey, White Rock and North Delta, published in 2000. “For better or for worse, I got fingered as somebody to be spokesman for the group, so I got involved in the Colebrook-Panorama Ratepayer’s Association.”

He then joined the Surrey Voters Association, which had been set up out of a committee to put Bill Vander Zalm in the mayor’s chair. The SVA was pretty much a right-wing outfit and the dominant civic group in the 1970s, when civic slates were becoming a thing.

Bose was elected alderman in 1978 and served in that capacity until 1985. He then served as Surrey’s mayor, under the left-wing Surrey Civic Electors slate, aiming to halt the onslaught of development bulldozers as a preservationist politician.

“You can’t go around letting people put offices and stuff anywhere in Surrey,” he said in 1999. “You have to be prepared to get tough on expansion.

“I came out of a rural district, at a time when we could look across the valley and we wouldn’t see another house as far as the eye could see,” he said. “If things keep going the way they are, there’s not going to be any place in Surrey where there’s going to be dark nights, where you can see the stars.”

Again, he said that just shy of two decades ago. Times sure have changed.

In his first year as mayor, Bose celebrated Surrey’s 200,000th citizen. Later in his term he sent the little girl a birthday card, and learned she was being schooled in a portable.

During Bose’s time as mayor, SkyTrain arrived at Scott Road Station in 1990 and over the next several years continued up Peterson Hill into Whalley, adding Gateway, Surrey Central and King George stations to the line.

Surrey’s elder civic statesman returned to public office as a city councillor in 2000, making a ruckus until 2011, when, at age 79, he found himself one rung short of re-election — receiving 25,832 votes, and landing one spot below Surrey First incumbent Barinder Rasode’s 33,616.

“I’m going to disappear into the sunset,” he said wistfully, after the results came in that election night, seven years ago.

And yet, here we are.

Never say never, Bob.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

MK Delta Lands development another step closer to breaking ground

Delta needs Metro Vancouver’s okay before swapping hundreds of acres and adding it to Burns Bog

Delta’s first cricket pitch slated for Delview Park

About 200 active players in the city are playing on BC Mainland Cricket League teams in other cities

Coldest Night an event for warm hearts

Sources’ White Rock event one of 130 walkathons across Canada on Feb. 23

VIDEO: A new Hive climbing/fitness facility coming to Surrey in 20,000-sq.-ft. space

‘Bouldering’ and other activities planned at site near Pattullo Bridge

Guatemala mission offers hope, health

Peninsula team to visit remote villages, build a home, in Piedra Blanca

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

North Delta happening: week of Feb. 14

Events, courses and clubs listings for North Delta

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Prominent B.C. realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Meissner’s Chilliwack trial for accessing, possessing child porn

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Most Read