The City of Surrey’s controversial election-time pro-LRT signs have come down, and they are being replaced with pro-SkyTrain signs by an advocacy group.
While the municipal government was forced last week by Elections BC to dismantle all of its pro-LRT signs over an elections rule violation, the SkyTrain for Surrey (SFS) advocacy group says its signs properly follow the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA).
“SkyTrain for Surrey registered immediately after being made aware of the opportunity to conduct issue advertising through our supporter community,” said Daryl Dela Cruz with SFS. “We were approved by Elections BC as a third party sponsor in advance of the campaign period.”
“SkyTrain for Surrey’s ‘Vote for SkyTrain’ advertising is conducted independently of any candidates and elector organizations, in accordance with the LECFA. We have taken our utmost care in ensuring our signage and advertisement complies with the LECFA and with the City of Surrey’s sign placement regulations.”
Dela Cruz says the signs are being erected at prominent and high-traffic locations, including the end of the Expo Line’s elevated guideway, just beyond King George Station on the Fraser Highway. More signs will be installed over the coming days and weeks.
The group’s sign simply reads ‘Vote SkyTrain’ and a caption that says ‘Build For The Future,’ with a checkmark next to ‘SkyTrain’ to encourage the public to vote for candidates that want SkyTrain technology built instead of ground-level LRT for the South of Fraser rail rapid transit project along the Newton-Guildford and Fraser Highway corridors.
The municipal government removed its pro-LRT signs as they violated third-party elections rules under the LECFA, which includes restrictions on both candidate and issue-based advertising. Its signs were part of a 60-day communications strategy throughout September and October to “build support, excitement, consensus, and social license for the Project,” according to an internal memo by the General Manager of Engineering in late-August.