Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and the new members of Surrey City Council officially took the Oath of Office Monday night at city hall.
It was standing room only in council chambers, ahead of the 7 p.m. inauguration ceremony.
Judge Gurmail Gill presided as Mayor Doug McCallum was sworn in, as were councillors Doug Elford, Laurie Guerra, Jack Hundial, former Surrey Liberal MLA Brenda Locke, Steven Pettigrew, Allison Patton and Mandeep Nagra — all of Safe Surrey Coalition — and Linda Annis of Surrey First.
“What a team we have,” said McCallum as he took the podium, later stating, “Tonight’s a new era for the City of Surrey.”
The mayor thanked his family for their support and said “above all, Surrey is a city of families, and we need to work together.”
He said along the campaign trail, his team worked seven days a week, 12 to 15 hours a day.
“We went out to the people of Surrey and asked them, ‘How do you want us to work to better Surrey?’ And they told us how to do it. And we became messengers…. We’re only your messengers,” the mayor told the crowd.
McCallum said the team’s “commitment is strong, it’s solid and we intend to fulfill all the promises that we have made.”
“We will continue until we make this a great city we all believe in.”
Immediately after being sworn into office, the new Surrey City Council convened a regular council meeting where a motion was introduced and unanimously passed to “cancel” the Surrey Newton Guildford LRT project.
The motion calls for city staff to “stop all work” on the light rail project and “immediately” start working on a SkyTrain extension down Fraser Highway.
Council also approved a motion to start work on creating a Surrey Police Department and serve notice to the federal and provincial governments that the City of Surrey will be terminating its contract with the RCMP municipal police service.
“What city council has done is immediately deliver on the wishes of the people of Surrey,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “It was very clear to me that with all the people I spoke to and heard from that SkyTrain and Surrey establishing its own municipal police force are what is best for our city. As the elected representatives of the citizens of Surrey, we are delivering not just what we promised to do, but we are acting on what the people have said would be best for their city.”
Surrey RCMP’s top cop, Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, was in attendance, along with Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis.
McDonald told reporters he was “disappointed” that the new council chose to nix his force, but said Surrey RCMP will continue to work hard to keep the city safe.
Asked if it was awkward being at the meeting tonight, McDonald said he had “broad shoulders.”
In his address, McCallum also vowed the team will work to have another hospital built in Surrey, will initiate free parking at city hall and on streets surrounding Surrey Memorial Hospital, and will focus on “smart development.”
In the Oct. 20 election, McCallum won 45,484 votes to Tom Gill (Surrey First mayoral candidate’s) 28,473 and Integrity Now’s Bruce Hayne’s 27,951.
McCallum, 73, was Surrey’s mayor from 1996 to 2005, under the now-defunct Surrey Electors Team.
— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) November 6, 2018
Having lost the mayor’s seat to Dianne Watts in 2005, and his attempt to reclaim the big chair in 2014, McCallum is once again on Surrey’s civic throne for a fourth term, albeit after a 13-year hiatus from city politics.
Your newly elected Mayor & Council will be sworn in on Monday, Nov. 5 from 7-8 pm at City Hall. The inauguration will follow with a Special Regular Council meeting held immediately after the inauguration. Watch the event live online or in person. https://t.co/YwS1tFwsea #SurreyBC pic.twitter.com/3N8je2Dp4A
— City of Surrey (@CityofSurrey) November 2, 2018