Surrey taxpayers will have to repay TransLink nearly $39 million for the work that was done on the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project, which the present council cancelled after the 2018 civic election in favour of expanding SkyTrain.
Councillor Steven Pettigrew pointed this out as council considered a city staff report on the city’s 2019 annual financial statements, during Monday’s “virtual” council meeting.
“The city has to repay TransLink $38.8 million, and that the SkyTrain will only be going to Fleetwood – we all know that – but we were told that we would get SkyTrain to Langley for $1.6 billion, and we were also told that we would not have to repay TransLink, so that was misinformation,” Pettigrew noted.
Councillor Jack Hundial asked staff if cash has to be given back. Kam Grewal, Surrey’s general manager of finance, replied that about $9 million will be in cash and the rest in land.
“You are correct in the sense the $39 million expense did hit our books for 2019, the makeup of how we extinguish that liability will be comprised of both cash and land, predominantly land,” Grewal said. “We’re expecting the land component to be in the range of $30 million and the cash component to be approximately $9 million.”
In December 2018, McCallum told the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation on Thursday that land transfers, rather than cash, might be the answer to Surrey compensating for costs arising from the cancellation of light rail in this city.
“They were trying to say that they’d need money and we’re just not going to pay it,” he told the Now-Leader at that time.