White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker calls the idea of amalgamation of White Rock and Surrey “a non-starter.”
Reacting to the suggestion last month by Surrey Coun. Allison Patton that amalgamation of the two cities could be mutually beneficial, Walker said he was surprised by the comments, which came during an interview about Surrey receiving provincial approval for establishing its own police force.
“I’ve met with Coun. Patton in the past, but she didn’t mention anything about this,” Walker said. “Sometimes people have ideas and you don’t know anything about them until they say something.
“Nothing has been said by either council about the issue of amalgamation; what it would it look like or how it would happen. Our council hasn’t even discussed her comments. We’ll have to see what comes up as we move back into fall meetings.
“From our perspective, it’s a non-starter. There would be many, many hoops that would have to be jumped through, not the least of which would be getting the province to look at it. It would have to go to a referendum, I’m sure, and someone would have to take the lead on such things.”
But Walker said he doesn’t sense a lot of will on the part of White Rock residents to support amalgamation, particularly with a current resurgence in community pride coinciding with the re-opening of the pier and fund-raising efforts to complete the job of renovation.
“I think people from White Rock are quite content to be from White Rock – we feel they’ve rallied around us and our cause and our sense of individuality. I think we’re very comfortable in our own skin. People love White Rock and they’re keen on growing the community and making it more vibrant.”
Walker said that while arguments for amalgamation surface fairly regularly, he feels the issue “leads us off down a garden path and I’m not sure any of us are interested in going there.”
As far as White Rock council is concerned, he said, “we’ve got enough to deal with on our own behalf.”
He also noted that Surrey’s plate is also very full at present.
“Changing over to your own police force is a real stretch,” he said. “And Surrey also has a lot of transit-related issues. Their growth has been magnificent, but with it come a lot of challenges.”