FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 15, 2019 – Surrey, BC
FULL TEXT of statement delivered by SkyTrain for Surrey founder Daryl Dela Cruz at the Surrey Council public hearing – Monday April 15, 2019.
Proposed amendments at: City of Surrey Corporate Report 2019-R059
Good evening, Mayor and Council,
My name is Daryl Dela Cruz, I am a Geography student at Simon Fraser University and a City of Surrey resident. I believe it is my first time addressing the full Council. I hope that you recognize me as director and founder of the SkyTrain for Surrey community group.
I thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight, and on behalf of all those who joined us over the years I wanted to express our thanks and our warmest gratitude to all of you for your unanimous support for a SkyTrain extension. We were excited to see strong support for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain in a recent region-wide poll and are thrilled to see the work that is being done by the City of Surrey and its partners to make this endeavour a roaring success.
In addressing the bylaw and proposed OCP amendment, I wish to express that many of those who joined our campaign were united by the concerns we shared about a street-level system oriented around light rail, including its potential drawbacks, unclear benefits and questionable suitability over the long by term. The exclusive focus on light rail and the exclusion of options like SkyTrain expansion in the previous OCP and city policies were points of frustration for people who joined our campaign. I believe I can safely speak for the majority of us in saying that this change in the OCP language is a positive step forward for our city. It opens the door to possibilities that could be further SkyTrain expansions, or bus rapid transit lines, or even transit systems based on new and emerging technologies.
Many of our supporters have been looking forward to this sort of development, and in my discussions with those who joined our campaign, many have even expressed a wish to see SkyTrain expanded to other corridors in addition to Fraser Highway. My understanding is that your endorsement of SkyTrain on the Fraser Highway corridor not only reflects strong support across the city and region, but it also reflects a verified need to address the rapid growth in automobile use that has resulted from the lack of true rapid transit options, among other objectives that we believe SkyTrain expansion can and will fully address.
SkyTrain’s track record in offering reliable service and attracting record ridership in our region is something the City can draw upon, and as supporters of SkyTrain expansion, we want to see the frameworks put in place that could enable future SkyTrain expansions should they be proposed by the City or TransLink. Our city needs effective solutions to combat growing congestion, shape economic growth, and provide increased options to get around without being reliant on the automobile.
SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and continues to push for high-quality rapid transit projects in Surrey and Langley. We began as a petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, which eventually amassed more than 6,000 signatures, and later contributed to making SkyTrain an election issue as a registered third-party advertiser. SkyTrain for Surrey continues to call for high-quality projects that offer a positive return-on-investment and recognize the rapidly increasing demand for transit.
Daryl Dela Cruz – Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]