Rendering of a planned Surrey light rail train. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Surrey election

McCallum says Surrey LRT communication plan close to election is ‘perceived interference’

McCallum ‘gravely concerned’ Surrey and TransLink will violate election financing rules, but city says all rules will be followed

Mayoral candidate Doug McCallum says he’s “gravely concerned” the City of Surrey and TransLink are going to violate election finance rules with an LRT communications plan, but the city says it’s standard procedure and the rules will be followed.

An internal Aug. 28 city memo about the 60-day plan, to run in September and October, outlines the proposed strategy. Its goal is to “earn and maintain support for the project with proactive, early, broad, regular and highly-visible communications.”

The memo stated the aim of the strategy is to engage the community, “reassure about key concerns such as safety and congestion,” and to “counter misinformation,” among other things.

Scroll down to see the memo.

McCallum, who leads the Safe Surrey Coalition slate, said he’s worried about the “perceived interference” in the upcoming Oct. 20 election with the SkyTrain versus LRT debate being “at the heart of this election.”

Council candidate Bableen Rana and McCallum said in a release that “there should be a proper and thorough review before any tax dollars are wasted.”

“It is not clear that the author of the communication strategy was even aware of British Columbia’s Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. It is also not clear that the act was even considered. The City of Surrey and/or TransLink will have to register as Third Party Advertisers,” a Safe Surrey Coalition release states. “Imagine this: the City of Surrey as a registered Third Party advertiser to promote the platform of the party currently in power. Their other option is don’t spend a penny – or any staff time.”

The slate says the “preservation of impartiality of staff is in question here and the perceived interference by City and TransLink raises serious concerns regarding bias and interference in the election.”

Jaime Boan, Surrey’s transportation manager, said the memo was sent in late August “because we were aware the (LRT) commitment and funding announcement would be coming in early September. As well, the RFQ (Request for Qualifications), so it was the ideal time.”

Boan said staff would not delay such a project because of an election.

“We have full intentions of continuing to inform and engage the public on the project going forward,” Boan added. “There are certain rules we have to adhere to, and we will certainly do that.”

Activities on the list for September include “LRT outreach” at KPU and other events, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond speaking at the Surrey Board of Trade earlier this month, and “supportive letters to Now-Leader editor by Project Champions.”

See also: ELECTION QUESTIONS: What would happen if Surrey LRT was scrapped?

See also: ELECTION QUESTIONS: How do candidates form their opinions on transit in Surrey?

Other initiatives included “project outreach” at the Mayor’s State of the City event earlier this week, and at the upcoming State of Newton, set for Sept. 27.

Planned activities in October include an op-ed, outreach and social media in celebration of Small Business Week with Surrey Board of Trade and the city’s business groups, as well as outreach at a children’s event at Central City Shopping Centre on Halloween, among other events.

Boan said the plan also includes billboards, which have been erected at planned LRT stations, which went up after the business case was approved earlier this month.

In an emailed statement, TransLink said it and the City of Surrey “are preparing to launch a major infrastructure project and as with all projects of this magnitude, planning for clear communication with the public is important. TransLink is following British Columbia’s Local Elections Campaign Financing Act and has no intention of engaging in election advertising during this period.”

Internal City of Surrey Memo: Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT Project Communications Plan by Aimee Marie Reid on Scribd



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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

Click here to read more Surrey election stories.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read