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.