A Surrey councillor is quitting the mayor’s Safe Surrey party to run on his own.
Steven Pettigrew has announced he will be stepping down from the party to run as an independent.
Expressing frustration at the huge tree loss in the six months of office and a lack of public consultation over the switching to a municipal police force, Pettigrew felt he had no choice but to step down from the party.
“I have honoured my commitment to the Safe Surrey Coalition and to the people who voted for me regarding the three pillars of our campaign,” Pettigrew said in an statement.“In light of recent decisions made by the Safe Surrey Coalition resulting in the loss and projected loss of our tree canopy, I can no longer support that party.”
Pettigrew said he is often the lone voice opposing projects he says have a huge environmental impact.
The latest was last week, where he opposed a development in Campbell Heights that would see the removal of more than 500 significant trees.
The proposal passed with only Pettigrew opposed.
Mayor Doug McCallum, also of Safe Surrey, said he is disappointed.
“I am not surprised by Steven’s decision to split from the Safe Surrey Coalition,” McCallum said in a release.”What I find disappointing is his treatment of voters who cast a ballot for him as member of Safe Surrey Coalition.
“Since he has been elected, he has conveniently forgotten the platform and the promises we made to the people of Surrey.”
Coun. Jack Hundial is one of the people who frequently votes alongside Pettigrew, particularly when it comes to proposed changes in policing.
Hundial told PulseFM he understands Pettigrew’s frustration, and anticipated he might step away from the coalition.
Hundial has no plans to follow suite.
“No, not at this time,” he said, adding that in a coalition, councillors are entitled to vote the way they want.
Hundial said he plans to sticking with the coalition for now and fully expects to support the three central promises made by Safe Surrey: the delivery of SkyTrain, a switch to a municipal police force as long as its the best alternative, and smart development.