Outgoing Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has returned his taxpayer-funded vehicle to the city works yard with significant structural damage to its front.
It’s presently unclear what happened with the vehicle; however, the mayor’s office says it is investigating what occurred.
“Mayor Doug McCallum’s vehicle was returned to the city at some point this weekend. As the matter is being reviewed, the city will not be commenting at this time,” stated The City of Surrey corporate services office via the mayor's office.
Surrey RCMP told Glacier Media it has been in contact with the City of Surrey after the damage was reported by city staff Sunday morning. Investigators have since ruled out any criminal wrongdoing, stated RCMP spokesperson Vanessa Munn Monday afternoon.
Outgoing Surrey city councillor Jack Hundial took to Twitter Sunday to state that the mayor returning the vehicle in such a state is “a final FU to Surrey residents” and that he was "insulted."
Hundial told Glacier Media staff confirmed with him it was the mayor’s Buick SUV that he had been using throughout the course of his four-year term, which ends next month with the swearing in of mayor-elect Brenda Locke.
McCallum was in two previous car crashes involving the Buick, according to CTV News.
Hundial said the mayor’s use of the vehicle has raised questions as to how city managers have authorized it, without an apparent policy in place.
“I could not find anywhere in city policies that the mayor is entitled to a leased car,” said Hundial, noting the mayor already gets a $14,500 car allowance.
Glacier Media has asked The City of Surrey for clarification on the city policy entitling the mayor to the allowance as well as a leased vehicle, and whether the lease and costs have been deducted from the allowance (there’s no such indication from quarterly expense reports posted online).
Hundial said McCallum was frequently seen by staff filling up the city’s Buick at the city works yard with “taxpayer-subsidized gas.”
Hundial said he is concerned as to whether anyone was injured in the apparent accident, as the vehicle’s front right panel is dented and the hood is deformed.
Hundial said the vehicle should never have been damaged a third time, as McCallum should have stepped down from council the moment he was criminally charged for public mischief for allegedly lying to police and the public about an incident in a shopping centre in September 2021. Then, McCallum said he was run over by a civilian political opponent.
The provincial government introduced legislation last April that will require an elected local government official to be suspended with pay when facing a criminal charge and expelled from council if convicted.
Hundial said the province needs even more restrictive measures and any police investigation of an elected official should be publicly disclosed at its outset.
McCallum is due in court on Oct. 31 for his mischief trial.
In his second stint as mayor, McCallum narrowly lost to Locke with 32,338 votes to her 33,311 in an election that saw five major challengers splitting the 118,908 total votes.
McCallum's Safe Surrey Coalition majority has now been replaced by Locke's Surrey Connect majority.