Councillor Bruce Hayne has cut ties with Surrey First ahead of the fall election, claiming his decision stems from a lack of transparency and a difference in “vision.”
Hayne, first elected to Surrey City Council in 2011, told the Now-Leader Wednesday night he was splitting from the party.
“I tendered my resignation with Surrey First as of this afternoon,” he said, describing his colleagues’ reactions as “mixed.”
“Really, it’s a matter of integrity,” Hayne elaborated. “I have great respect for many of my colleagues but quite frankly the way that we have been dealing with certain issues and files, it’s just not open and transparent the way I’d like it to be. I simply have a different vision and direction for the city than I see Surrey First going, and continuing to go, so I have to break away and sit as an independent.”
Hayne – a former businessman and past president of the Surrey Board of Trade – said he doesn’t agree “with the leadership of Surrey First and where it’s going” and his “heart is just not in Surrey First anymore.”
Hayne said he will run in the October civic election but wouldn’t reveal if he’d run as a council or mayoral candidate, or if he would run as part of a team.
When it comes to transit, Hayne said TransLink and the Mayors’ Council “have made a great many decisions that haven’t included the public.”
“Here we are about to spend $1.6 billion and there’s a large percentage of residents who are in opposition,” he added. “And so, we’ve got to ask ourselves, did we not tell the story properly? Did we not engage the people properly? It really is a massive infrastructure project and we simply don’t have a large percentage of the population on side with it.”
Asked if he disagrees with how much development Surrey First has allowed, Hayne said it’s inevitable but it’s a matter of “smart development, not just development.”
“We need to be transparent with the public, and engage with the public far more than we are,” he added.
Mayor Linda Hepner said Hayne’s split is “hypocritical” and “unclassy.”
“He’s been part of those decision-making processes and part of every single decision that has been made at council,” she said, noting his record shows he’s been supportive of party’s decisions.
“It’s the Barinder Rasode move,” she added.
What does Surrey First founder and former mayor Diane Watts think of Hayne’s resignation?
“It is unfortunate,” Watts said Thursday morning, “because when you have a strong coalition and a good team, you work together.” As for Hayne’s comments that Surrey First isn’t “open and transparent” enough, Watts said “everything starts with leadership and ends with leadership. If there’s an issue there, then that obviously needs to be corrected.”