Year in Review: New leadership for Surrey, White Rock

The “3rd Lower Mainland Freedom Convoy” arrived in South Surrey Saturday (Feb. 12) after starting in Chilliwack earlier in the morning. (Photo: Lauren Collins)The “3rd Lower Mainland Freedom Convoy” arrived in South Surrey Saturday (Feb. 12) after starting in Chilliwack earlier in the morning. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey mayor-elect Brenda Locke speaks to Surrey Connect party supporters at Mirage Banquet Hall in Cloverdale on election night Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo: Anna Burns)Surrey mayor-elect Brenda Locke speaks to Surrey Connect party supporters at Mirage Banquet Hall in Cloverdale on election night Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Photo: Anna Burns)
White Rock mayor-elect Megan Knight celebrates her victory with a supporter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Alex Browne photo)White Rock mayor-elect Megan Knight celebrates her victory with a supporter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (Alex Browne photo)
Elenore Sturko (centre, in red) is officially sworn in as MLA for Surrey South Monday in Victoria. (BC Liberal Caucus photo)Elenore Sturko (centre, in red) is officially sworn in as MLA for Surrey South Monday in Victoria. (BC Liberal Caucus photo)
A “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” sign. Walter van Halst writes, “From White Rock to Whalley and from Scott Road to Langley Bypass, there are now more signs demanding to save the RCMP than all parties combined had in the last B.C. election.” (Photo: Walter van Halst)A “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” sign. Walter van Halst writes, “From White Rock to Whalley and from Scott Road to Langley Bypass, there are now more signs demanding to save the RCMP than all parties combined had in the last B.C. election.” (Photo: Walter van Halst)

When B.C.’s 2022 municipal elections came to a conclusion the night of Oct. 15 new mayors had been elected in both Surrey and White Rock.

The campaign featured many big promises by many candidates, but one real head-turner was former mayor Doug McCallum’s promise to build a 60,000-seat stadium in the city for sports and entertainment.

Instead, he lost his seat to Coun. Brenda Locke, who won by a vote of 33,311 to McCallum’s 32,338.

READ MORE: Doug McCallum promises to build 60,000-seat stadium if re-elected as Surrey mayor

READ MORE: Brenda Locke locks it up and becomes Surrey’s new mayor

READ MORE: End of an era: Doug McCallum offers concession speech

Meanwhile, White Rock bid farewell to one-term mayor Darryl Walker (1,811 votes) and welcomed current mayor Megan Knight (2,001 votes) to the seat. Knight previously served on council from 2014-18.

“I’ve got a good mix of experience and a good mix of fresh faces at the table,” Knight told PAN after results were finalized, in October.

READ MORE: ‘Something’s broken’: Megan Knight promises to restore White Rock city hall as mayor-elect

Since the new Surrey mayor and council have been sworn in, policing has been the talk of the city — just as it was during the campaign season.

Brenda Locke was sworn into office in November, and since then, the new mayor has been working to stop the transition from RCMP to Surrey Police Service as the city’s police of jurisdiction. The vote to maintain the RCMP came during the Nov. 14 regular council meeting, with a 5-4 vote, with Locke’s Surrey Connect councillors backing her and the Surrey First and Safe Surrey Coalition councillors voting against the motion.

READ MORE: Surrey council votes 5-4 to maintain Surrey RCMP as city’s police department

During a subsequent meeting, city manager of finance Kam Grewal stated that maintaining the RCMP in Surrey is “less costly without a doubt.”

October’s municipal election marked the second time South Surrey voters were called to the polls in 2022. In September, they elected Elenore Sturko of the BC Liberals to represent them in Victoria. Sturko won with just under 52 per cent of the votes cast (5,568) over Pauline Greaves (3,221), the NDP representative who finished in second place.

Sturko stepped down from her role as a sergeant with the Surrey RCMP to run for a seat in Victoria.

“I want people who didn’t vote for me… to know that I am 100 per cent committed to representing their voice as well, and my door will always be open and regardless of what they want to say or who they support politically, the job of MLA is to support all and it is non-partisan and I will always have my door open to everyone,” the newly elected Sturko told PAN.

READ MORE: ‘We need better leadership’: Surrey-South MLA Elenore Sturko vows to hold government accountable

The election followed a long delay after the seat in Victoria was given up by BC Liberal Stephanie Cadieux, who resigned in April to become Canada’s first Chief Accessibility Officer.

READ MORE: Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux resigns seat to become Canada’s first Chief Accessibility Officer

Protesters gathered in February at the Pacific Highway Border Crossing in South Surrey to voice their opposition to the Federal Government’s vaccine mandate.

Congregating near a parking lot for multiple businesses — including a daycare — protesters inspired by the Ottawa convoy were making themselves heard, amid reports that yelling, honking and music were disrupting the activities of children at the childcare centre.

READ MORE: Protest rally at U.S. border truck crossing in South Surrey inspired by Ottawa convoy

During the ongoing protests, vehicles participating breached a police barricade and drove the wrong way down 176 Street. This incident and several others involving “aggressive protesters” prompted multiple police investigations at the time.

READ MORE: Surrey RCMP to investigate after ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters break through police barricade

READ MORE: Surrey RCMP investigating ‘aggressive protesters’ who swarmed media at Pacific Highway crossing

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