Mayor's Message - March 2017
Spring is in the air this week, with longer days, warmer temperatures, and flowers starting to bloom. The last week of March not only marks the beginning of Spring, it also marks the beginning of the second quarter of the year. With a productive first quarter, Council and I are unwavering in our constant pursuit for Surrey’s growth and success.
The release of the 2017 Federal Budget brings with it great news for Surrey with a historic investment of $2.2 billion for public transit in Metro Vancouver. This commitment marks the largest single federal investment in our region’s transportation system in the last 20 years, allowing enough certainty that shovels will be in the ground for Phase One of the Light Rail Project by next year.
Innovation Boulevard, a partnership between the City of Surrey and SFU, was named at the recent BC Tech Summit as BC’s official accelerator for health technology. The Federal government is also showing strong interest in Innovation Boulevard with the Minister of Innovation, Science & Economic Development and the Minister of Finance visiting in March to learn about this unique collaboration between government, business, academia and the health authority. And I’m pleased to say that Dr. Faranak Farzan has arrived in Surrey to take on her role as Innovation Boulevard’s SFU Chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addictions Recovery and Mental Health.
The last few weeks have had some incredible news, such as the announcement of a half million dollar endowment by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for Forsyth Park, which will have its grand opening later this year. Forsyth Park will be comprised of seven and a half acres of green space in City Centre, creating a haven for those in the city.
Further, the Federal Government has invested more than $800,000 in Surrey Art, Heritage and Cultural projects, with funds going towards the Cloverdale Museum and Fusion Festival. Although Surrey is advancing towards being a thriving metropolitan, I find it just as important to preserve, celebrate and enhance Surrey’s cultural heritage. My sincere thanks to our federal partners for demonstrating their commitment to Surrey’s cultural advancement.
The entire nation will be celebrating Canada 150 this year. Surrey in particular is committed to hosting free, family-friendly events. Some of the headliners we have this year include Shawn Hook at Party for the Planet, Hedley for Canada Day and Nelly Furtado for Fusion Festival. With an exciting year of Canada 150 celebrations lined up, Surrey will be proudly displaying our national pride.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending the 1st birthday party for New Hope Community Services Society, an organization that provides housing and transition services for refugees. New Hope truly exemplifies Surrey’s values of being an inclusive and welcoming city for people from all cultural backgrounds.
With an emerging downtown core, and investments that will move Surrey towards becoming a vibrant and complete City, the first three months of this year have seen lots of progress for Surrey.
These investments from the public and private sector and the sheer dedication of our residents towards making Surrey a great place to live are hallmarks of a growing city on the world’s stage.
Mayor's Message - January 2017
I hope that this year has been off to a good start for you. With 2016 being a great year filled with success and accomplishment for the City of Surrey, I look forward to 2017 being another precedent-setting year.
2016 was a year of extraordinary achievements; including meeting our mandate for 100 police officers, the procurement of Phase One funding for Light Rail Transit (LRT), a meeting at City Hall with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and several awards for our Civic Facilities. The year ended on a special note for me personally, as I had the opportunity to host a pizza lunch in my office for two elementary school classes from K.B. Woodward Elementary, an inner-city school just a few blocks from City Hall. Council and I also had the opportunity to serve Christmas lunch at the Surrey Urban Mission.
With 2017 upon us, I will be implementing my New Year’s resolution of taking advantage of this provincial election cycle to obtain more funding for Surrey schools and to help our most vulnerable residents.
We are already off to a strong start. I was at the Big Cities Mayors’ Caucus this past week, a meeting of Mayors from the largest cities in Canada, advocating for our municipality in the Federal Budget for 2017. Prime Minister Trudeau was at this meeting and participated in conversations regarding the opioid crisis, housing, and for Phase Two funding for LRT.
Affordable housing is the staple of livable and globally competitive cities, and advocating for social infrastructure through a national housing policy was a top priority issue.
Additionally, I met with Surrey’s School Board Trustees earlier this month. Together, Council and the School Board Trustees will continue lobbying the provincial government for more schools and funding for Surrey, and meet regularly to discuss projects and progress. I’m happy to see the Provincial Government stepping up to help Surrey students with January’s announcement of 217 million dollars that will be put towards 5,200 new student seats and a project board to speed school construction.
In terms of future planning, I met with the President of UBC, Santa J. Ono to discuss UBC’s interest and opportunities in Surrey. January also marked the announcement of a partnership with the City of Surrey and TELUS, where TELUS will be investing a quarter billion dollars into Surrey’s infrastructure network to expand fibre optic to 90% of residents and businesses over the next year.
As 2017 progresses we have a lot to look forward to, including Canada 150 and the celebrations leading up to it. From local community events to national celebrations, there are plenty of ways to celebrate all that makes us who we are as a city and a country. Stay tuned for the City of Surrey’s first Canada 150 celebration announcement in February.
We’ve made a strong start to 2017. There is still a lot more work to be done. Council and I intend to keep advancing the momentum of success, accomplishments and city building.