Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition have stripped Councillor Steven Pettigrew of his role on the board of directors for Metro Vancouver, instead appointing a member of their team.
The mayor did not say why.
“I must express disappointment that I will not be able to serve the people of the region in this capacity,” Pettigrew said in chambers, in response to the decision.
“I feel I’ve done a good job, I’ve worked really hard the last number of months and developed some very strong relationships with my environmental focus. I feel I bring a really strong presence. I will respect it, I disagree with your decision. I will not be there in an official capacity but I will continue to go to Metro, and be there as an observer, and I will continue to build relationships to do what I can to further the environment cause and to bring awareness to climate change and the climate emergency.”
This is indeed unfortunate. Cllr Pettigrew is a principled person. Because the Mayor gave no reason or warning for removing him from Metro Vancouver I can only assess it as mean spirited @JanetBrown980 @JackHundial @LindaAnnisBC @amyreid87 https://t.co/C0O6d7KPzt
— Brenda Locke (@brendalockebc) September 17, 2019
Pettigrew – who is well-known for leading the fight that tried to stop the former city council from allowing trees to be felled in Hawthorne Park in order to build a road – was currently serving as a director on the board and on both the climate action and regional parks committees.
“He’s pulled me from all those,” said Pettigrew, who was appointed to the positions by the mayor after council was sworn in last November.
The mayor made the announcement at the first meeting of Surrey council after its summer recess, and his Safe Surrey councillors approved the decision.
Instead, McCallum appointed his Councillor Allison Patton of the coalition. She had previously served as an alternate, and the mayor did not announce a new alternate.
Pettigrew – who split from the mayor’s Safe Surrey Coalition earlier this year – said he had no idea it was coming.
This was a “blind-sided approach,” Pettigrew told the Now-Leader.
Although the councillor said the mayor’s move was “not unexpected, because he’s done this sort of thing several times in the past.”
Pettigrew said any guess as to why the mayor removed him would be speculation.
“There’s all sorts of interesting things I could come up with, but I’m not going. I believe I do a good job. I did the best I could do.”
Pettigrew said he still intends to attend the meetings, as an observer, given his passion for the environment and climate action.
“We need to push this forward, make people aware, and we need to do this for our children, our grandchildren and our planet. It doesn’t matter whether people try to get me away, try to remove you or stop you, everybody needs to step up.”
During the meeting, Pettigrew asked the mayor for the rationale behind the decision.
McCallum replied by saying he was “not going to make any comments on it at this time.”
The mayor did not speak to media after the meeting.
Councillor Brenda Locke took to Twitter following the meeting, saying the decision is “indeed unfortunate.”
She described Pettgirew as a “principled person.”
“Because the Mayor gave no reason or warning for removing him from Metro Vancouver I can only assess it as mean spirited,” she wrote.