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Surrey Advances Vision, Goals and Objectives in Sustainability Charter

Cover of Sustainability Charter.

April 23, 2012

Surrey – In conjunction with numerous community partners, the City of Surrey continues to make progress on the objectives set out in its Sustainability Charter, according to a new progress report being released at tonight’s Council meeting.

“Surrey’s Sustainability Charter is a comprehensive framework to help build a healthier, more productive, more sustainable city,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “In order to be more open and transparent, we release a progress report each year so residents and business can see some of the successes of the prior year, as well as the tasks we will accomplish in the year ahead.”

“In partnership with our community stakeholders, we’ve made considerable progress in achieving the goals we set out in our Sustainability Charter. We consider the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of everything we do,” says Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee.

Some of the progress report highlights include:

Corporate Leadership

  • Carbon Footprint Reduction: The Corporate Emissions Action Plan sets the goal of a 20% reduction in corporate GHG emissions by 2020. Several initiatives began including building the new City Hall to LEED Gold standards, facility retrofits, acquiring and testing alternative-fuel fleet vehicles, and installing an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station at City Hall.
  • Sustainable Purchasing: Staff worked as part of a municipal collaborative for sustainable purchasing to share information, resources and best practices. A draft action plan was prepared for application on future purchasing decisions.
  • Employee Commuting: Staff commenced work on a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) framework for employees focused on the new City Hall. The goal is to reduce GHG emissions through encouraging City employees to use more sustainable commuting options.

Community Action

  • Economic Pillar:
  1. ENERGYShift and Clean Tech Commercialization: The City launched the EnergyShift program, a new plan to address climate change and increase local energy security by taking action and offering incentives in three key sectors: City operations, business, and the community
  2. The City continues to focus on the Clean Tech Business component of ENERGYShift, with the intention of stimulating investment in the clean tech sector
  3. Sustainable Land Use and Development: A Sustainable Development Checklist was introduced to assist builders and developers in developing projects that support the sustainability and well-being of the community and protect the natural environment.
  4. Local Farming: Flavours of Surrey was held to highlight local food production and agriculture. The Surrey Farm Fresh Guide was updated and additional “Farm Area” signage was introduced in several areas of the City.
  • Environment Pillar:
  1. Community ENERGYShift was launched to kick start the development of a Community Energy and Emissions Plan
  2. Work on the City’s first District Energy system continued and will eventually provide heating and cooling in City Centre.
  3. Energy & Emissions Outreach & Training: Staff has worked with the Surrey School District and the BC Sustainable Energy Association to deliver 29 “Climate Change Showdown” workshops to 671 students in 11 different Surrey elementary schools.
  4. Waste Reduction: In 2011, staff completed a cart-based pilot organics collection program in select areas to understand customer concerns, waste diversion potential and costs. A new waste collection contract was structured based on the results of this pilot with the new contract commencing later in 2012.
  5. Sustainable Transportation: Council adopted a Walking Plan to provide more focus on this most fundamental of transportation modes. The roll-out of the Safe & Active Schools program was continued in 2011.
  • Socio-Cultural Pillar:
  1. Social Planning: City continued to implements the recommendations contained in the Plan for the Social Well-Being of Surrey Residents, Child and Youth-Friendly City Strategy, and the Learning for Life Strategy. Work also continued in the critical area of housing and homelessness.
  2. Crime Reduction: The City of Surrey was awarded the 2011 Solicitor General Crime Prevention and Community Safety Award in the local government category for its Crime Reduction Strategy. The City Watch Program was launched to engages City employees in crime prevention. The City also coordinated a large conference on domestic abuse.
  3. Arts & Culture: A record number of significant public art installations were completed including works by Gordon Smith and Liz Magor as part of the new City Centre Library. The City also completed a draft Cultural Plan for the City, which is expected to be adopted by Council in the first half of 2012.
  4. Beautification Program: A range of initiatives aimed at making public spaces more beautiful and engaging were implemented. Highlights include the expansion of the Community Enhancement Partnership Program and a significant investment in new landscaping and seasonal lighting in the City’s town centre areas.
  • Priorities for 2012:
  1. Community Energy and Emissions Plan: The purpose of this Plan is to ensure that the entire City, including all significant sectors, is acting to reduce Surrey’s carbon footprint.
  2. Climate Adaptation Strategy: This Strategy will contain recommendations for action by the City and other stakeholders to reduce risk where there are vulnerabilities associated with climate change. This includes things such as flooding due to sea level rise, etc.
  3. “Sustainability Dashboard”: The Sustainability Dashboard will provide an engaging interface for reporting on the City’s level of sustainability and its progress toward sustainability targets.

In September 2008, Council unanimously adopted the Sustainability Charter, a comprehensive framework for implementing a progressive 50-year vision for a sustainable city. The Charter was developed in collaboration with residents, stakeholders, staff and Council and contains 56 action items.

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor
604.375.4584