Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) joined Premier John Horgan and other local mayors, MLAs, and dignitaries at an announcement Friday, July 9, about funding for transit and SkyTrain in Surrey. Cloverdale Chamber director Scott Wheatley welcomed the funding, but said Cloverdale has again been ignored as greater bus service is needed in the area. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Trudeau’s SkyTrain funding good news but Cloverdale needs bus service, Chamber says

Executive director Scott Wheatley says Cloverdale continues to be ignored when it comes to improved transit

  • Jul. 12, 2021 12:00 a.m.

After the federal government announced a $1.3 billion funding initiative to expand SkyTrain to Langley, the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce says they welcome the funding, but once again Cloverdale has been ignored.

“We’re disappointed there was no funding for bus service,” said Chamber executive director Scott Wheatley. “We need bus service between Surrey and Campbell Heights.”

He said while the Skytrain is great, it does nothing for the immediate needs in this area.

“The Skytrain system is designed to move people out from Surrey either to downtown Vancouver or now into Langley, but it does not address the transportation issues within the city of Surrey itself.”

He said he’s heard from both employers and workers that want better service to and from Campbell Heights and in other areas of the city.

“We would like to see more buses and an improved bus service from the north to the south in the city of Surrey.”

Wheatley said some employers have trouble finding people because they can’t get to scheduled shifts due to poor bus service and he also noted some employers are not willing to hire people without cars.

Paul Orazietti, executive director for the Cloverdale BIA, tweeted his disappointment with the announcement.

“In the Cloverdale town ctr which is getting a hospital we need more bus frequency than 2 an hour,” Orazietti wrote. “We are the birthplace of the city of Surrey not a suburb of Langley.”

Twitter user Alyssa Marshall tweeted her frustration as well, noting that she’s been denied jobs because of bus situation in Cloverdale.

“I’ve actually been refused jobs because of how poor the transit is in Cloverdale.”

Wheatley added that more bus service is needed now and not in several years when Surrey will be even bigger and in greater need.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Surrey to make the Skytrain announcement July 9.

Extending the SkyTrain would require a total estimated cost of about $3.1 billion. During last October’s election campaign, B.C. Premier John Horgan pledged that the provincial government would fully fund its share of the $1.5 billion portion of the costs of extending the line to Langley.

“This project is shovel ready,” McCallum said July 9 outside Surrey’s city hall. “So much so that we expect early works to start this Tuesday (July 13) morning.”

On July 8, federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole announced if he wins an expected fall federal election, his party would also fund the SkyTrain line.

“British Columbians have been fighting for this SkyTrain expansion and ignored by the Liberals,” said O’Toole. “Justin Trudeau has failed to deliver for British Columbians for two years.”

– With files from Matthew Claxton.

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