With every change of government there is adjustment, and Saturday’s election results portend huge change in Surrey.
Nobody can accuse mayor-elect Doug McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition of waffling on issues.
They promised to replace the RCMP with a city police force and halt light rail transit in favour of extending SkyTrain to Langley. Surrey handed them the keys to city hall in a big way, electing this coalition not only to the mayor’s chair but also seven of eight council seats.
If that’s not a mandate, what is?
There is no doubt lots of tears and runny noses out there from candidates and Surrey residents who didn’t get their way on election night, but that’s to be expected.
Rookie councillor Linda Annis, the last vestige of Surrey First, certainly has her work cut out for her as an alternative voice.
This makes community groups the defacto opposition.
Usually there is a honeymoon period for new leadership, but the divide remains so great on the vision for major issues in Surrey.
The outgoing government is largely to blame for that, by not listening to residents’ concerns and forging ahead with tunnel-vision on Mayor Linda Hepner’s, and her predecessor Dianne Watts’ pet project, light rail transit. Two days after the election, the Surrey Board of Trade issued a statement championing the LRT vision despite the election outcome, and it came across a little shrill, drawing a line in the sand before the new, duly elected politicians are even sworn in.
McCallum and crew must not forget that two hallmarks of good leadership are striving to be good listeners and striving to build bridges.
For the rest, democracy happened on Saturday, people were elected to office and Surrey voters have set the course for at least the next four years. It is what it is.