STORIES FOR SEPTEMBER 12, 2015

Inspector Sharnjit (Shawn) Gill appointed new Community Services Superintendent for Surrey RCMP

 

Second RCMP Superintendent in B.C. of South Asian descent

 

(PHOTO)

 

THE Surrey RCMP announced Tuesday that Inspector Sharnjit (Shawn) Gill, currently Operations Officer for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), has been promoted to the rank of superintendent in the position of Community Services Officer for the Surrey RCMP.

In this new role, Gill will oversee all of Surrey Detachment’s community services, including community policing, youth, bikes, property crime, criminal intelligence, drugs, gang enforcement, and traffic.

Gill has been with the RCMP in the Lower Mainland for over 26 years and has spent 13 years of his service in Surrey.

After beginning his career in Surrey General Duty, he moved to Investigative Services where he worked in the Burglary and Serious Crime Units. Over the next 15 years, Gill gained extensive investigational experience with Langley RCMP Serious Crime, IHIT, Burnaby RCMP Serious Crime, and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET).

In 2012, Gill was commissioned as an officer and returned to Surrey Detachment as a Duty Officer for General Duty until he transferred back to IHIT in 2014. Gill is also a member of the Lower Mainland Hostage Negotiation Team, and a past member of the E Division Interview Team.

“I feel privileged to be coming back to Surrey and I look forward to working closely with the community to enhance public safety in our city,” said Gill. “I am fortunate to have this career in the RCMP and I acknowledge my parents for the significant role they have played – had it not been for their courage and sacrifice in immigrating to Canada in 1969, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in today.”

Born in Rajiana (Moga in Punjab), India, Gill speaks fluent Punjabi and is the second RCMP Superintendent in BC of South Asian descent. He has lived in Surrey for the past 25 years and raised his family here. In his time off, he has been involved in local minor hockey, baseball and soccer associations as a volunteer and assistant coach.

“I am pleased to welcome Superintendent Gill back to Surrey Detachment in this new role. I have known Shawn for many years and am confident that he will bring strong leadership and extensive policing experience to the community services team as we continue our work in reducing crime and engaging citizens in crime prevention,” said Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, Officer-in-Charge of the Surrey RCMP. “We police a diverse city and, as such, I am committed to having a diverse senior management team that understands the needs of the different communities in Surrey – Superintendent Gill will be an excellent addition to our team.”

 

Awards

* 1997 – Officer in Charge Certificate of Recognition for his role in the arrest and conviction of two serial sex offenders.

* 2009 – Long Service Medal for completing 20 years of service with good conduct.

* 2012 –Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his role as the Team Commander in charge of the pipeline bombings investigation in Northern BC.

 

 

 

 

 

Vishal Bajaj, involved in ongoing Abbotsford conflict, charged with drug trafficking

 

BY RATTAN MALL

 

VISHAL Bajaj, 26, was arrested by Abbotsford Police on Tuesday and charged with three counts of possession for the purposes of trafficking (cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine). 

He is facing identical charges from a May 13 incident where he was arrested in a vehicle in the area of Upper Maclure Road and Mallard Street. 

Police said they have identified Bajaj as an individual involved in the ongoing conflict in the Townline Hill area.  He was specifically targeted by Gang and Drug Unit investigators because of this involvement. 

On Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Abbotsford Police Department’s Emergency Response Team and Gang and Drug Unit executed a warrant at a residence in the 30700-block of Sandpiper Drive and Bajaj was arrested on scene.  Police seized cash, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine from the home.

Bajaj is now under court ordered conditions that require he adhere to a residence curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.  He also is forbidden from possessing weapons, alcohol, drugs and cellphones.  Anyone observing Bajaj in breach of these conditions should contact the Abbotsford Police at 604-859-5225 or via text 222973 (abbypd).

Abbotsford Police said that their enforcement efforts relating to this conflict will be continuing.

 

CONSTABLE Ian MacDonald told The VOICE on Thursday that Bajaj’s criminal history is “mostly minor … even driving-related.” He added: “But, unfortunately, that is a scenario that we are facing with a lot of the people that are involved in this conflict. They don’t necessarily have extensive criminal history.” He said part of that could be explained from the fact that victims don’t cooperate. He added: “Who’s going to participate in the court process if there is this code of silence and if it’s a dispute between two sides and neither of them are cooperating with police.”

MacDonald said: “We’ve made arrests like this throughout the year and a half. We just haven’t always been as upfront about connecting the people to the conflict, because especially in the early days we couldn’t say how concrete the connection was.”

He added: “We’ve gone down this road before and we are not afraid to travel it. We went down this road with the Bacons, we went down this road with the Duhres; and so if public exposure and the release of names are going to help, then we are prepared to continue [to do that same] with the Townline Hill conflict as well.”

Just last week, on September 2, Ping Shun Ao, 74, was killed after what police believe was a targeted shooting in his neighbour’s driveway in the 3500-block of Promontory Court in Abbotsford. Police said the targeted persons are “well known to police.” They are South Asian.

 

MEANWHILE, hundreds of concerned residents gathered at a forum on community safety on Thursday night at the Abbotsford Arts Centre organized by the Abbotsford Police Department, City Council and the Abbotsford Police Board to discuss the situation.

 

 

 

Sangeeta Wylie appears in internationally celebrated director Deepa Mehta’s feature film Beeba Boys premiering at the TIFF on September 13

 

(PHOTO)

 

SANGEETA Wylie gets a break in Deepa Mehta’s gangster movie Beeba Boys, which will be premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015 on September 13 at Roy Thompson Hall. The film will open nationwide on October 16.

Beeba Boys is a ferocious, adrenaline-charged Indo Canadian gang war film, which mixes a violent clash of culture and crime.  Sangeeta plays a small role as Kiran, a girl who tries to pick up gang leader Jeet played by Bollywood star Randeep Hooda (Highway, Kick, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai).  Wylie received high praise for her performance from Mehta, who called her “exceptionally talented, genuine and fearless.”

Mehta is a Toronto-based director, who has earned international acclaim for films such as the trilogy Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Water (2005). For Sangeeta, who gave up her dental practice to pursue her career as an actor, working on this film with Deepa was a dream come true.

Sangeeta’s first feature film role came in Tower (2012), in which she plays a dentist, by an ironic twist of “art imitating life”.  The film, nominated for three awards, premiered at TIFF and was directed by award-winning filmmaker Kazik Radwanski.   Shortly after that, Sangeeta worked on the television series Nikita.

Sangeeta is currently working on her own original TV series, a Canadian quirky comedy with elements of drama and the surreal. Her roles in community and fringe theatre based in Toronto include Inherit the Wind with the Scarborough Theatre Players, Lady Windermere’s Fan with Bloor West Village Players, and an original piece called Gloria’s Guy with Alumnae Theatre have garnered her rave reviews.  Other original pieces include Paul and Priya’s Wedding, and One Night.  Sangeeta has also performed with the internationally acclaimed, Toronto-based Cantores Celestes women’s choir.

Sangeeta co-wrote, directed and produced an original play Dis-connect about online relationships and how technology today may be affecting our abilities to relate to each other in the real versus virtual world. She also co-produced a short film L’armoire that screened at Reel World Festival to great reviews.

Back in Vancouver, the Cold Reading Series cast Sangeeta as Mary Davis in an Affolter Bros original script Counter Act that recently won the 7th Annual Hot Shot Shorts Contest.  Mary is a young African American woman trying to exercise her right to service at a restaurant during the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s.

Sangeeta will be in attendance at the TIFF premiere of Beeba Boys in Toronto.

 

A brand new trailer of Beeba Boys at: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxqtgFW_R6g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Families of three victims murdered by Sarbjit Bains send strong message to judge at sentencing hearing 

 

(PHOTOS: Relatives of murder victim Amritpal Saran at 2014 police press conference. 

Photos by Inderjit Singh 

Photos of the murder victims displayed at press conference.)

 

THE families of the three victims of Sarbjit Bains, who earlier this year pled guilty to one count of manslaughter in the death of Amritpal Saran and two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors, sent a strong message to the judge in their impact statements in New Westminster Provincial Court on Thursday.

Saran’s mom Jatinder said: “They say time heals everything, but this loss will never heal,”

His sister Simrit said: “I will never forgive you,” adding, “You did what you did and now you have to deal with it. What gave you the right to take Amrit’s life?”

On February 24, 2013, Saran was found deceased on Colebrook Road in Surrey.

This was followed by two deaths in New Westminster. In 2013, on August 12, Lyons was found dead in an apartment on the 200-block of 11th Street, and on August 25, Nabors was also found dead in the same building. Both were friends and worked as online escorts.

At the time, police said that Saran was known to them but had no known gang association.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) took conduct of the New Westminster homicides and worked in conjunction with the New Westminster Police Department to determine Bains of Surrey was a suspect in all three homicides.

On January 3, 2014, after a lengthy and thorough investigation, Bains was arrested and charged in the murders of Saran, Lyons and Nabors.

Bain’s girlfriend Evelina Urbaniuk was also arrested on January 3, 2014, and charged for indignity to Saran’s remains. She later pled guilty and was sentenced to two years less a day and three years of probation.

The court heard on Thursday that Bains claimed he choked Saran after he tried to get into bed with Bains’ girlfriend. Bains said that he had planned to rob Lyons and Nabors because he needed money desperately. When they started screaming, he choked each woman. They were not sexually assaulted.

Both the Crown and defence are seeking a life sentence with no parole eligibility of 18 years for the three murders with the sentences to run concurrently.

Bains refused to look at members of the Saran family in spite of their repeated demands that he do so. In the end, he apologized to the families of the victims, saying, “I will never be able to forgive myself for what I’ve done to your loved ones.” He added: “I cannot fix it … all I can do is apologize. I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”

Bains will be back in court on September 30 for his sentencing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petition demanding justice for slain model Maple Batalia gathering steam

 

(PHOTOS)

 

JUST last week, The VOICE reported that Gursimar Singh Bedi, a dial-a-dope dealer who has also been charged with manslaughter using a firearm and accessory after the fact in the 2011 murder of SFU student Maple Batalia, 19, had lost his plea of abuse of process in Surrey Provincial Court in connection with his conviction on two counts of trafficking in cocaine. He will be sentenced later this month.

We also reported that Bedi and Gurjinder “Gary” Singh Dhaliwal, who is charged with first-degree murder in the Batalia homicide case, will go to trial in February 2016.

The trial of Dhaliwal, the former boyfriend of slain Surrey SFU student and model Maple Batalia, and Bedi has been delayed time and time again. Maple was shot multiple times on September 28, 2011, at 1:10 a.m. on the third level of the SFU Campus / Central City parkade at 13450 102 Avenue in Surrey. She was rushed to hospital but died soon after. Dhaliwal and Bedi were charged in December 2012.

In February 2014, we reported that the two had been ordered to stand trial after a preliminary hearing of the evidence in Surrey Provincial Court. Their case was to proceed to B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Batalia’s grieving parents allege that Dhaliwal has been using delaying tactics such as changing lawyers. They even flew to Canada from India to attend a court date, only to be informed that the defence lawyer had got the case rescheduled.

Now her parents and their sympathizers are circulating a petition in Maple Batalia’s name asking the federal government to pass a law restricting accused murderers from using delay tactics such as changing lawyers to get postponements. They need at least 150,000 signatures to create change and are asking readers to help out to bring justice for Maple Batalia.

 

Read the petition at:

https://www.change.org/organizations/justice_for_maple

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy deserves praise and recognition for appointing South Asian officers in key posts

 

South Asian community must cooperate more with police

 

 

(PHOTOS: Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy. Photo by Chandra Bodalia /

Superintendent Sharnjit (Shawn) Gill /

Sgt. Parmvir (Parm) Prihar)

 

BY RATTAN MALL

 

CHIEF Superintendent Bill Fordy, Officer-in-Charge of the Surrey RCMP, sure deserves praise and recognition for taking bold, practical steps to deal with law and order, and that is graphically reflected in three appointments of South Asian officers to key posts since May.

With almost 40 per cent of Surrey’s population being South Asian and with South Asians playing a major role in every field, that is bound to instill not only more confidence in police but also to generate appreciation for what will be seen as Fordy’s sense of fairness and inclusion.

Tuesday’s announcement of the promotion of Inspector Sharnjit (Shawn) Gill, Operations Officer for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), to the rank of superintendent in the position of Community Services Officer is a very positive step. (See story “Inspector Sharnjit (Shawn) Gill appointed New Community Services Superintendent for Surrey RCMP.”) He is now the second South Asian RCMP superintendent in B.C.

The appointment of the first South Asian superintendent in B.C. was announced by Fordy on May 27: the promotion of then-Inspector Mandip “Manny” Mann, who was Senior Investigator of the Major Crime Section at the time, to the rank of superintendent in the position of Investigative Services Officer.

Mann oversees all of Surrey Detachment’s investigative sections, including drugs, major crime, property crime, vulnerable persons, and the Special Projects Investigation Enforcement Section.

Mann has been with the RCMP for over 24 years and has done all of his service in the Lower Mainland region, with nine years in Surrey.

As Fordy put it: “Manny has a broad base of experience inclusive of working as an undercover police officer, homicide investigator, and manager of numerous major crime investigations. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in leading and managing complex police investigations. As the first RCMP Superintendent in British Columbia of South Asian descent, he is well positioned to be an excellent role model for our youth and better connect the Surrey RCMP with Surrey’s significant South Asian community.”

Born and raised in B.C., Mann has lived in Surrey for over 20 years and has raised his family here. He is also fluent in the Punjabi language.

And just a few days before that, on May 25, Fordy had announced the appointment of Sgt. Parmvir (Parm) Prihar as the new District Commander for the detachment’s Newton District Office.

Prihar has 21 years of policing experience with an extensive background in both patrol and serious crime. He is working with his team of officers and support staff along with local residents and business owners to identify and address crime and nuisance issues in Newton. Fordy said at the time: “Sgt. Prihar has an impressive background and is well-suited to play this important role in the Newton community. I believe his interpersonal skills and breadth of experience will be an asset to the district and the dedicated and passionate residents of Newton.”

So with all these morale-boosting steps for the South Asian community, our community should also offer more cooperation to the police forces to deal firmly with criminal elements and ensure the rule of law.

 

 

 

 

Edmonton lawyer Justin Sidhu sentenced to four years for smuggling methamphetamine into prison

 

 

(PHOTO)

 

EDMONTON lawyer Justin Sidhu, 31, who last June was found guilty of drug trafficking for delivering six grams of methamphetamine to an inmate at a remand centre in September 2013, was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison. However, he remains free because of a pending appeal, according to CBC.

The judge called the sentence appropriate because Sidhu abused a position of trust and brought the practice of law into disrepute.

The Crown had suggested four years in prison though that was two years more than the mandatory minimum in such a case, while Sidhu’s lawyer had sought 30 to 36 months.

His lawyer told CBC that Sidhu will be appealing and that he can stay out of prison until the appeal is heard.

Sidhu had carried an envelope into the remand centre on September 19, 2013, and handed it to a client in an un-monitored interview room.
Guards later opened the envelope and found some sheets of paper, one photograph, cigarette rolling papers, a birthday card and a Christmas card, and six grams of methamphetamine.
Prosecutor Anita Chan had told the court that a remand guard she called a “highly credible witness” testified earlier that Sidhu said the envelope’s contents fell under lawyer-client privilege.

Chan insisted that Sidhu knew exactly what was in the envelope, and lied so he could bring the drugs to the centre’s inmate, Tyler Clarke.

She noted that drugs are worth five to 10 times in jail what they are on the street. The six grams of meth would have been worth about $6,000.
Clarke recently pleaded guilty to drug possession charges in connection with the case. He was given a 45-month prison term.

 

 

Play about the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi, Kultar’s Mime, coming to Metro Vancouver

 

(POSTER)

 

KULTAR’S Mime, a play about the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi, after Indira Gandhi’s assassination is coming to the Metro Vancouver area from October 1 to 4 with performances already scheduled at the Norman Rothstein Theatre in Vancouver, Matsqui Auditorium in Abbotsford and at the Surrey Arts Centre.

It uses the 1903 anti-Jewish pogrom in Kishinev as the point of departure to tell a universal story of suffering and compassion. The play, which is in English, has been developed in Boston and has been performed 36 times already; it has garnered strong reviews all over the world and has been extremely effective in educating a new generation about the horrors of 1984 in a very constructive way.

Admission is free and open to all. Seats can be booked using the eventbrite links as full houses are expected.

 

ON April 6, 1903, the city of Kishinev, the capital of the Russian province of Bessarabia erupted in violence. A horrific pogrom was organized, targeting the Jewish population of Kishinev. After three days of violence, 49 Jews were dead, 500 were wounded, 1300 homes and businesses were destroyed and 2000 families were left homeless.

The young Hebrew poet, Haim Nahman Bialik went to Kishinev to talk to survivors and report on the pogrom. Bialik wrote one of his most famous poems, ‘In The City Of Slaughter,’ in response to the Kishinev pogrom, using searing, powerful imagery to describe the horror that descended upon the Jewish residents of the city.

Eighty-one years later, Delhi, the capital of the largest democracy in the world, India, was witness to a horror of even greater proportions. On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi, the then-Prime Minister of India was shot dead by her Sikh bodyguards. In retaliation, an orgy of murder, rape and arson was unleashed upon the Sikh residents of Delhi in which more than 3000 lost their lives.

The poem, ‘Kultar’s Mime’, written by a young Sikh poet, drew upon eyewitness accounts of the Delhi massacre to describe the sufferings of the Sikhs of Delhi, through the eyes of a group of young survivors.

There are uncanny similarities between the Kishinev and Delhi massacres. Both targeted minority communities with violence following libel, innuendo and propaganda, designed to stoke fear and hatred.

Kultar’s Mime synthesizes the sufferings of innocent victims of organized violence, separated by thousands of miles, numerous years and insurmountable differences of religion, language and culture. Drawing upon the raw imagery of both poems, it tells a story of human suffering and courage, reminding us that in the end all innocent victims are the same, regardless of which God they worship and what tongues they speak.

The play is set in New York City. A collective of young Jewish artists, influenced by Bialik’s ‘In The City of Slaughter,’ decides to commemorate the Kishinev Pogrom by organizing an art exhibition in which they intend to display paintings about the pogrom accompanied by a reading of the poem. As they get together and revisit Bialik’s poem, it occurs to them that it would be very powerful to honor the suffering of the innocent victims of Kishinev by shining the spotlight on other similar instances of organized violence that the world has largely forgotten. They decide to focus on the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 in Delhi and make it the subject of their exhibition, using words from the poem to augment the impact of the paintings they have created about the Delhi massacre.

 

A brief video introduction to Kultar’s Mime:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbfyGYJcWJM

 

Scheduled performances and links to book your seats:

 

* Thursday, October 1: Abbotsford performance at 7:30 p.m.:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kultars-mime-in-abbotsford-bc-tickets-18373925907

 

* Friday, October 2: Vancouver performance at 8 p.m.:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kultars-mime-in-vancouver-tickets-18342237125

 

* Saturday, October 3: Surrey performances (two shows, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.):

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kultars-mime-in-surrey-tickets-18357830766

 

 

 

 

Health Canada lifts ban against two Apotex facilities in India, puts in place new oversight of imports from APIPL and ARPL

 

(LOGO)

 

HEALTH Canada says it took action last September to restrict products coming to Canada from Apotex Pharmachem India Pvt. Ltd. (APIPL) and Apotex Research Private Limited (ARPL) in India due to unsatisfactory processes and systems in place to assure Canadians of their quality and safety.

In June 2015, Health Canada inspectors conducted a rigorous verification of the corrective measures implemented by Apotex. Apotex’s actions included the implementation of new computer systems, strengthened operating processes and procedures, as well as training and re-training of staff.

Health Canada says it concluded that the corrective work implemented has progressed to a point where products from these facilities may now be imported on the Canadian market under specified conditions. As such, Health Canada has amended the company’s licence to include the following conditions as the company ramps up production at the two Indian sites and completes outstanding actions:

* Health Canada requires that product originating from APIPL and ARPL be re-tested at an Apotex good manufacturing practices-compliant facility in Canada, before entering the Canadian market, and

* Health Canada requires Apotex to report any deficient testing results and investigations with products originating from these two Indian sites.

Conditions will remain in effect until Health Canada is satisfied that corrective actions are fully and sustainably implemented at both Indian sites at full production. Health Canada plans to re-inspect both Indian sites in early 2016.

As part of Health Canada’s ongoing activities, Health Canada inspectors will be present in Apotex’s Canadian facility beginning in September to conduct an inspection of the operations and the testing of the products from India.

In addition, Health Canada requires Apotex Inc. to provide regular updates on all corrective actions implemented at APIPL and ARPL. Health Canada will continue to work with its trusted international regulatory partners to review any new information regarding the quality or safety of products originating from APIPL and ARPL.

Health Canada says it will not hesitate to take immediate action at any time should a risk to the health and safety of Canadians be identified.

 

 

 

Sukh Dhaliwal claims Surrey’s Light Rail Transit Project “in line for funding” from Liberals

 

 

(PHOTOS)

 

LIBERAL Party candidate for Surrey-Newton, Sukh Dhaliwal, on Wednesday announced that Surrey’s Light Rail Transit Project is “in line for funding” from Liberals.

However, there was no specific commitment.

The Liberals are apparently taking advantage of the fact that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s planned announcement for funding Surrey’s Light Rail Transit Project last week in Newton, as was first reported by The VOICE, got put off because of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Ina press release titled “Liberal Party announces $20 billion for public transit; Surrey LRT plan in line for funding,” Dhaliwal, a former MP, noted that his party “is committing to an additional $20 billion in public transportation funding over the next decade based on the country’s top regional priorities.” He added: “With the City of Surrey’s $2.1-billion light [rail] transit (LRT) plans already identified as Metro Vancouver’s top transit priority, the Liberal announcement marks a major policy change from the current Conservative government.”

The press release stated: “In the fall of 2013, the City of Surrey applied to the federal government for funding under the Building Canada Plan to build three LRT lines.  In the fall of 2014, the request was designated with a “screened in” status, allegedly meaning that the project had been shortlisted. Today, Surrey has still not received any further word on receiving federal funding. Stephen Harper’s government has completely abandoned the fastest growing city in British Columbia.”

Dhaliwal said: “For two years now, the Conservative government has ignored Surrey’s requests, even though the city will become B.C.’s largest city over the next 30 years. We have 1,000 new residents moving to Surrey every month, and effective public transit is an important part of ensuring that our local economy continues to grow.”

He noted that the C.D. Howe Institute has estimated that traffic congestion costs Metro Vancouver between $500 million and $1.2 billion per year.  In the case of Surrey, a lack of reliable transit throughout the city has begun to impact residents who are tired of traffic congestion and looking for alternative modes of transportation.

The Liberal commitment will quadruple the current funding levels devoted to public transit, and address Canada’s most pressing transit needs.  Regional priorities will receive immediate consideration, and Surrey is well placed to secure BC’s first funding commitment under the Liberal plan. With transit commitments in limbo due to the failure of the recent referendum, the federal government must step up to make Surrey’s LRT a reality.

Dhaliwal said: “Translink’s immediate future is more uncertain than ever, and a federal funding commitment is essential to securing the $2.1 billion dollars needed from all three levels of government. Under a Liberal government, Surrey would receive more attention and consideration than has ever been offered by the Conservatives.”

 

 

DARYL DELA CRUZ, Campaign Manager – Better Surrey Rapid Transit, responded to this story on our website on Wednesday:

 

While I agree that the Conservatives could do a lot more to make transit a priority, the lack of progress on LRT is not the “Conservative’s ignorance of Surrey’s needs”. This is a result of the City of Surrey’s own planning shortfalls in pursuing an unsustainable LRT project.

On June 11th the City of Surrey released an engineering report on LRT (http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2015-R105.pdf) which itself stated, very clearly, that the reason the LRT project has not received word from P3 Canada on funding is because a business case for the LRT has not been submitted. P3 Canada is a crown corporation and this outcome would likely be the same under any government. You would not spend money on a project without knowing that it will do significant good for whom it serves, and that’s exactly the problem with proposed Surrey Light Rail.

TransLink’s previous Surrey rapid transit joint study suggested that a ground-level Light Rail system in Surrey would have a negative business case, with a benefit-cost ratio of 0.69:1. When the travel time improvement over the existing 96 B-Line express bus is just 1 minute, it’s no wonder the business case for LRT is so damn poor. With $22 million in annual operating deficits, it will take years to re-generate the benefits to offset the cost. City Council has ignored a myriad of issues I and several others have raised about a ground-level Light Rail. In cities across North America, Light Rail systems have often launched with less reliable service than was expected or less frequent service altogether, and this has caused ridership and returns to fail to materialize. You will feel the pain too when you’re on an LRT train and an accident in front you has closed the tracks.

The Liberal Party’s commitment is a blind electioneering attempt that misunderstands that LRT is not a sustainable choice for Surrey, and that is the real reason there’s no LRT funding progress.

An extension of SkyTrain and new Bus Rapid Transit is what Surrey needs. SkyTrain and BRT will offer faster, safer and more reliable services that can truly make a difference for the people of this city. I urge anyone and everyone reading to join me in saying no to LRT at http://skytrainforsurrey.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHARE