Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum blasted Councillor Brenda Locke’s motion seeking a breakdown on what Surrey residents get for the taxes they pay to Metro Vancouver before her motion was defeated Monday night.
“I have to choose my words carefully, because I have no idea what this motion means and it kind of shocks me that it’s been brought forward and I know it would shock Metro, which they know that we’re dealing with it tonight,” McCallum said.
“To put this kind of question to Metro about whether the cost benefit, whether we’re getting our share, astonishes me, absolutely astonishes me.”
Locke’s motion called on council to direct city staff to “prepare a cost/benefit analysis on a per capita basis of the Metro Vancouver taxes paid by Surrey residents in relation to the services and facilities provided by or paid for by Metro Vancouver for the City of Surrey.”
McCallum slammed it hard.
“It really upsets me that this kind of thing comes forward,” he said of the motion. “You know, it’s unreal.”
Locke said her Metro Vancouver taxes rose by 18 per cent this year.
“I think it’s just important that the residents of Surrey believe that their taxes are well spent, and they’re well spent equally throughout the region.
Councillor Doug Elford also opposed the motion.
“We can’t possibly be pulling out of Metro Vancouver, I mean the cost would be astronomical,” he said. “So I really don’t understand the intent of this motion that’s why I’m struggling with supporting this.
“I think we’re getting real value for our money,” Elford added. “I don’t know if I want to ask staff to spend all this time on that and I also don’t, I’m not too sure if I want at this time to create an adversarial relationship with Metro.
“We’re really getting our fair share.”
Locke said her motion was not about pulling out of Metro Vancouver.
“Specific to housing, Vancouver has 14 projects, Surrey has five, Burnaby has three, and Richmond has nine,” she said. “It’s just that it’s just disproportionate.”
Councillor Laurie Guerra also spoke against Locke’s motion, calling it “unnecessary and costly.”
Councillor Jack Hundial supported it.
“I think it’s a fundamental question,” he said. “If we’re not getting it (Surrey’s fair share), how will we ever know?
“I think it’s an educational piece and I think it’s a transparency piece and I think it’s an important piece,” Hundial said, “that certainly the people, the public who is paying for this, should know.”
Right before council defeated this motion, Locke had taken yet another kick at the can at having council vote on asking the provincial government to hold a binding regional referendum on the city’s transition from the Surrey RCMP to the Surrey Police Service.
McCallum shot it down.
“I’m going to rule it out of order as I have before on the same basis as before,” the mayor said.
Locke challenged that decision, like she did before, and the Safe Surrey Coalition members upheld McCallum’s ruling, like they did before.