One disagreement does not a rift make.
That's the message from Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts following reports last week that there was a divide among Surrey council following the rejected South Surrey casino proposal a week prior.
While other reports have made note of a "rift" at city hall following the decision, Watts said council is always free to vote their own way, and that Surrey First, the slate under which all of council ran, did not mean it was a political party.
"I just got back to who is Surrey First. Council members are independent, they always have a free vote so there's no block voting," she said.
"We are a coalition of independent elected officials that span the political spectrum - which we do - and there's a commitment to speak to the issues, so I don't think one decision would be cause for a rift."
Reports of a divide at city hall came after the four councillors who voted in favour of the casino issued a press release explaining their decisions as to why they voted the way they did, while others were left explaining their reasons through other media.
However, Coun. Barinder Rasode, one of the four who voted in favour of the $100 million project, said there is no such rift.
"No, we have a very strong council," she said. "We were elected as a group of independents that believe in some of the same overriding principles for our city."
As for comments in other media where she was quoted as saying council needed to go back and reassess their vision as a group, Rasode said the comment was made in terms of vision for the property of the proposed casino only.
"That property is still going to be developed and I just don't want it to end up being a strip mall or a lower-model shop," said Rasode. "So I think there's a conversation to be had (about the site's future)."
Rasode added that the press release issued by the four in favour of the casino was simply sent out as a way to inform the public of their reasons for voting for the project.
"We are being asked why this has been turned down and at the same time we are also being asked why we supported it, so I think on significant applications like this that would have such an impact on the city, we do need to be doing a better job on letting the public know why we voted the way we did," she said.
"People elect us, so I thought these were really important things for people to know why we did."
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