Imtiaz Popat has announced that he is running for Surrey mayor in the upcoming Oct. 20 election.
In a release, Popat said he’s running to “give the people of Surrey a better choice.”
“There is no one running for mayor I can support,” said Popat, who was originally nominated to run for city council with now defunct Surrey Community Alliance. “People are telling me that none of the candidates for mayor are a credible choice.”
Popat said he does not support LRT or Skytrain, but rather the “reactivation of the interurban community rail.”
According to Popat, the interurban was planned as a community rail service south of the Fraser that would run from Scott Road station through Newton, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford all the way to Chilliwack at a “fraction of the cost of the proposed LRT or Skytrain.”
“The new high-tech trams would be hydrogen powered and would be even cheaper that buses,” Popat said in a release. “The tracks are intact and have been preserved for commuter rail service. Both LRT and Skytrain will damage the fragile ecology of the Green Timbers Urban Forest. We don’t need another ecocide after what the outgoing council did with Hawthorne Park. They must be held accountable for what they did.”
Popat said the City of Surrey shouldn’t be pitching in money for the LRT project, that rather, that money should be spend on social housing. In June, the city decided to contribute roughly $24.5 million to the first phase of the project, described as a “modest sum.”
“Both the LRT and Skytrain projects will displace a lot of low income housing,” said Popat. “Where are these people going to go?”
Meanwhile, Popat said he supports a Surrey police force, something proposed by the Surrey Community Alliance.
“I don’t however think we need to increase the number of officers as other parties have proposed, nor do I think we need a referendum that Tom Gill has proposed,” he said. “What we need is a police force that is accountable to community and works with community. We need better sensitivity training so that diverse population trust our police force.”
Imtiaz Popat, has lived in Surrey for over 30 years.
His biography says he is counsellor, and a community TV and radio host.
He is currently the development officer for the One Love West Coast Festival being held in Surrey in September and a program assistant at the Phoenix Drug & Alcohol Recovery & Education Society.
“He is a long-time equal rights and social justice activist,” a release notes. “He founded the Coalition Against Bigotry – Pacific to challenge the rise of bigotry in the pacific coast.”
Popat says his understanding as a counsellor will help him “understand critical issues facing diverse communities such as mental health, addiction as well issues around gang violence in order to advocate for more inclusive programs and service that are offered by the city.”
Other mayoral candidates in the upcoming Oct. 20 election in Surrey are Surrey First’s Tom Gill, Integrity Now’s Bruce Hayne, former mayor Doug McCallum with his Safe Surrey Coalition, Rajesh Jayaprakash with People First Surrey, and Proudly Surrey’s Pauline Greaves.