A Langley City councillor said she is “ticked off” about comments made by Surrey’s Mayor Linda Hepner.
Coun. Gayle Martin responded during a council meeting on Monday June 13, to comments she read in a Black Press story.
“I think the Langleys are quite prepared to accept anything as long as a system gets going and they have a system,” said Hepner, in a story last week about transit options in the region.
Martin referred to the quotation and said: “That really ticked me off because I don’t know who she has been talking to, but we’re not prepared to accept anything. We’re prepared to accept what’s best for our community.”
Martin made these comments before making a motion for City staff to study both SkyTrain and light rail and report back to council with a recommendation on which to support. The study will compare capital and operation costs, as well as passenger carrying capacity, travel time and the effects on traffic.
Coun. Val van den Broek seconded the motion, requesting the report from staff and echoed Martin’s annoyance at Hepner’s comments.
“It was kind of like putting words in our mouths and I quite honestly didn’t appreciate that,” said van den Broek.
The motion was made after council heard a delegation advocating for a proposed light rail transit system connecting Surrey and the Langleys.
Anita Huberman, chair of the Light Rail Coalition, laid out the plan for a light rail system, calling it “the right solution” for both Surrey and the Langleys.
The plan Huberman presented includes two lines, to be built in two phases. The first phase would connect Guildford Town Centre and Surrey City Centre. The second phase would bring a light rail line down Fraser Highway, connecting Surrey City Centre to both the Township and City of Langley.
Huberman told council her coalition’s light rail plan was “the most affordable and innovative” option.
Paul Lee, the City of Surrey’s manager of rapid transit and strategic projects, accompanied Huberman and answered technical questions from councillors.
He said a SkyTrain connection between Surrey and Langley would be “quite a bit more expensive” than LRT but was unable to provide exact figures.
Lee also said LRT would be faster than buses, saying it would take 27 or 28 minutes to go from downtown Langley to Surrey City Centre.
Several councillors asserted support for rapid transit in the region in general, but did not seem as ready to wholeheartedly support LRT, in the same way the City of Surrey has.
“As communities, we may not be on the same page but we’re on the same chapter,” said Mayor Ted Schaffer.