Surrey spending more than $200,000 on ‘yes’ campaign

Metro Vancouver residents are being urged to vote for a 0.5-per-cent increase in sales tax this spring

The promise of better transit rests on the public voting for higher taxes this spring.

Surrey is spending between $200,000 and $300,000 on its “yes” campaign for a new transit tax this spring.

The yes campaign launched at Surrey city hall last week, with the mayor expressing the need for a 0.5-per-cent increase in the seven-per-cent Provincial Sales Tax to pay for improved transit and transportation infrastructure throughout the region.

Some of the work planned for Surrey includes a light rail system and a new Pattullo Bridge.

Metro Vancouver mayors are leading the charge on the yes side of the campaign, while newly elected Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said securing a yes vote was her first order of business.

Hepner told The Leader Thursday the city is earmarking between $200,000 and $300,000 for its expenses during the yes campaign. Hepner believes costs will be closer to $200,000.

That’s equivalent to the annual property taxes on 115 homes worth $650,000 in Surrey.

Regionally, she said, the Mayors’ Council will be spending “a few million” dollars on the campaign.

In Surrey, the city will be using its own staff and printing department, and will be making heavy use of social media to keep costs low.

That said, Surrey will be paying for consultants and some advertising.

Hepner acknowledges the yes campaign has some work ahead.

“We certainly do, it’s not going to be an easy yes,” Hepner said. She noted the challenge will be keeping people focused on the transit plan, rather than the inner workings of TransLink.

“It’s not unlike a political campaign, except it’s more important to the region,” Hepner said.

Ballots will arrive by mail at Metro Vancouver homes between March 16 and May 29.