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City to Cut Red Tape and Create Efficiencies

January 10, 2011

Surrey – The City of Surrey is taking new measures to eliminate antiquated regulations and create more efficient processes and procedures. The City has established a new Mayor’s Red Tape Reduction Advisory Committee and will proclaim January 10 – 14, 2011 as “Red Tape Awareness Week” in the City of Surrey during tonight’s Council meeting.

“Phase Two of Surrey’s Economic Investment Action Plan is focused on attracting new investment to our city,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “The plan includes a commitment to creating efficiencies and cutting the unnecessary red tape and paperwork that people can face when dealing with the City. We want to ensure that we are offering high quality service to residents, businesses and prospective investors.”

The City has been active over the years in eliminating regulations and procedures that are meaningless, outdated, or unduly cumbersome. In order to re-establish momentum in this important area, the City will be seeking advice from knowledgeable industry representatives who have joined the new Mayor’s Red Tape Reduction Advisory Committee.

The committee will review City by-laws, policies, regulations and procedures and make recommendations on how the elimination or simplification of rules and regulations can occur without negatively impacting environmental standards or life-safety issues. This review will start with those areas where changes will have the greatest impact on job creation and investment.

“We want to strike an important balance between eliminating bureaucracy and needless red tape, which stifles investment and is the source of so much frustration and wasted time, with that of ensuring that we do not compromise on the important regulations that are in place to protect residents and preserve our quality of life.”

“The City still has on the books by-law #14 from 1885 which mandates that city officials administering fence by-laws were to be paid $2.50 per day, and another by-law from 1974 prohibiting pool halls from operating in the city. These are just two examples of outdated by-laws that need to be removed from books,” says Mayor Watts.

The group will also make recommendations to Council on how the City can minimize red tape when new policies are introduced and implement a permanent system for tracking and reducing unnecessary paperwork.

“Red tape is a huge hidden tax and it is refreshing to see a municipality acknowledge this reality and make a commitment to do something about it. The terms of reference for the committee show that Surrey is serious about controlling red tape for the long term and not just engaging in a one-off, feel-good exercise. Its residents and business owners should count themselves lucky. Mayor Dianne Watts is leading a groundbreaking initiative for a Canadian municipality,” said Laura Jones, Vice-President of Western Canada for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and lead author of Prosperity Restricted by Red Tape.

The first meeting of the committee is expected to be held in late January or February, 2011.

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor