Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose. (File photo)

Surrey election

Former Surrey mayor says civic election a ‘gong show’

‘I don’t know who the hell to vote for,’ Bob Bose says

Bob Bose is the closest thing we have to a professor emeritus of Surrey civic politics. But the former mayor, now 86, just doesn’t know what to make of this current election campaign.

“This election is a gong show,” he told the Now-Leader on Friday. “I don’t know who the hell to vote for.”

Bose, who holds a PhD in chemistry, was Surrey’s mayor from 1988 until 1996, when he was defeated by Doug McCallum.

Surrey’s voters go to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 20.

What Bose does know, is he likes light rail transit.

“This is an opportunity,” he said of LRT. “There’s not been any improvements to transit since 1994, when they extention-ed it up to Whalley. Surrey’s just getting more choked with cars and the light rail system will save communities.

“This question of light rail versus SkyTrain is not an unimportant little dispute,” he said. “It will have fundamental consequences in the shaping of Surrey in the future.

“I’m a huge supporter of light rail, surface rail. McCallum is running a very destructive campaign opposing it.”

That said, he does like some elements of his former political rival’s platform.

“I support some of McCallum’s platform,” he said, such as “taking a pause in development and trying to manage development that’s consistent with the services to be provided.”

READ ALSO SURREY ELECTION: 8 running for mayor, 48 council hopefuls, 30 trustee candidates

So anyway, Bob, who’s gonna win?

“From what I’m hearing, McCallum has the odds in favour in polling, but I don’t trust polling that much,” Bose said. “I don’t know, I don’t know.”


Bob Bose’s roots run deep in Surrey — his grandad Henry Bose, who owned a farm in Surrey, served as mayor from 1905 to 1910. Beside himself, his family also counts a reeve, a magistrate and 64th Avenue — aka Bose Road — among its contributions to local heritage.

Bose was employed as a scientist at UBC when he and his wife Shirley bought a house on Panorama Ridge and “immediately got involved in subdivision/rezoning controversies,” he told yours truly as I was writing my book Millennium Milestones, a history of Surrey, White Rock and North Delta, published in 2000. “For better or for worse, I got fingered as somebody to be spokesman for the group, so I got involved in the Colebrook-Panorama Ratepayer’s Association.”

He then joined the Surrey Voters Association, which had been set up out of a committee to put Bill Vander Zalm in the mayor’s chair. The SVA was pretty much a right-wing outfit and the dominant civic group in the 1970s, when civic slates were becoming a thing.

Bose was elected alderman in 1978 and served in that capacity until 1985. He then served as Surrey’s mayor, under the left-wing Surrey Civic Electors slate, aiming to halt the onslaught of development bulldozers as a preservationist politician.

“You can’t go around letting people put offices and stuff anywhere in Surrey,” he said in 1999. “You have to be prepared to get tough on expansion.

“I came out of a rural district, at a time when we could look across the valley and we wouldn’t see another house as far as the eye could see,” he said. “If things keep going the way they are, there’s not going to be any place in Surrey where there’s going to be dark nights, where you can see the stars.”

Again, he said that just shy of two decades ago. Times sure have changed.

In his first year as mayor, Bose celebrated Surrey’s 200,000th citizen. Later in his term he sent the little girl a birthday card, and learned she was being schooled in a portable.

During Bose’s time as mayor, SkyTrain arrived at Scott Road Station in 1990 and over the next several years continued up Peterson Hill into Whalley, adding Gateway, Surrey Central and King George stations to the line.

Surrey’s elder civic statesman returned to public office as a city councillor in 2000, making a ruckus until 2011, when, at age 79, he found himself one rung short of re-election — receiving 25,832 votes, and landing one spot below Surrey First incumbent Barinder Rasode’s 33,616.

“I’m going to disappear into the sunset,” he said wistfully, after the results came in that election night, seven years ago.

And yet, here we are.

Never say never, Bob.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey-based podcast focuses on Canadian true crime

Corus Entertainment’s Curiouscast picks up Dark Poutine

United Way to give $12K to Clayton Heights projects promoting ‘local love’

Charity to provide $12,000 to projects addressing feelings of isolation in Clayton Heights

New interchange, work on Alex Fraser to make ‘easier commutes’ for Delta, province says

Bridge construction will restart next week, while the Highway 91 interchange was finished in August

White Rock ‘candidates’ discuss water, highrises at mock debate

White Rock South Surrey Stroke Recovery Branch members debated civic issues Thursday

North Delta’s Jalen and Tyson Philpot turning heads in Calgary

Former Seaquam Seahawks making their mark in their rookie season with University of Calgary Dinos

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

5 to start your day

Man killed in shooting at Abbotsford bank, ex-Surrey cop to appear in court after Creep Catchers sting and more

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Feds dead set against ‘ridiculous’ quotas to replace steel, aluminum tariffs

Donald Trump imposed the so-called Section 232 tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — back in June on national security grounds.

Campus brawl leads to charge against B.C. football player

Takudzwa Timothy Brandon Gandire, a 21-year-old defensive back from Vancouver, is charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Stadium vendor seen in pizza spitting video pleads guilty

The 21-year-old’s sentencing is Nov. 15. His lawyer has said he understood what he did was wrong and was remorseful.

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

Jeromie and Jennifer Clark were found guilty of criminal negligence causing death

Fed report to show $19-billion deficit in 2017-18

The deficit is slightly smaller than Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s prediction of $19.4 billion in last winter’s budget

Most Read