Creating Jobs, Shaping Growth and Building Connected Communities
April 12, 2011
The City of Surrey will move forward with its innovative and aggressive economic policies as it creates Metro Vancouver’s second downtown core, announced Mayor Dianne Watts in her State of the City Address today.
The City will continue to complete the significant infrastructure projects included in the Build Surrey program, the most comprehensive construction program in Surrey’s history. The program contains $2.8 billion in construction, including $800 million in new community projects and $2 billion worth of facilities being built in partnership with other levels of government. The City will shape the future of Surrey through innovative clean energy initiatives and by advocating for the creation of light rail rapid transit to connect its town centres.
“Surrey has repeatedly been named the best place in B.C. to invest and was recently recognized as the best place to find a job in the Lower Mainland,” says Mayor Watts. “We are re-defining Surrey and creating B.C.’s next metropolitan core by fostering a strong investment climate and implementing innovative social, economic and community initiatives for our residents and businesses.”
Mayor Watts highlighted the successful programs that have been developed over the past five years including the Economic Investment Action Plan, Sustainability Charter, Housing Action Plan, and the Child & Youth Friendly City Strategy. The Mayor also unveiled the Crime Reduction Strategy Progress Report Card, which highlighted the 2007-2010 achievements from Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy.
“Creating the right social fabric sets the foundation for a strong economy and makes it possible to effect real and lasting change,” says Mayor Watts. “Residents and businesses should be proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together. Surrey saw over $1 billion in construction activity in 2010, the crime rate is at a ten-year low, and since 2009, we’ve helped 356 people get off the street and into permanent housing with the supports they need.”
The City is focussed on supporting the expansion and investment in clean technology industries, and developing a clean tech hub of businesses in Surrey. To demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, in 2010, the City developed a Corporate Emissions Action Plan, became one of the few municipal recipients of a Fleet Gold Level rating, and started constructing the city’s first district energy system in City Centre to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The City is also moving forward with plans to build a biofuel facility to convert green waste into fuel, which would then be used to power vehicles, including the City’s garbage trucks.
Last year, the City planted over 12,400 trees, spent $30 million on new parkland and natural area preservation, set aside 110 acres of parkland and began work on the Surrey Bend Regional Park. Surrey now has 6,400 acres of parkland and protected open spaces, as well 1,400 acres of provincial parks, wildlife areas and regional parks. The City continues to create a connected green network of trails and paths throughout the city and is currently developing 29 kilometres of pedestrian and cycling pathways, 28 km of park paths and 92 km of on-street bike lanes.
“Transportation is critically important as we shape growth in our town centres. In order to create healthy communities, we need to provide safe and accessible walking and cycling opportunities. We also need to provide alternatives to vehicle transportation and are actively advocating for TransLink to build light rail rapid transit in Surrey. At-grade rail is cost-effective and efficient, and would not only create a new transportation option, but also increase economic development and improve quality of life.”
The Mayor also highlighted her recent business mission to India, which resulted in the City signing an economic agreement with City of Jalandher. In total, four Memorandums of Understanding and a number of deals were completed or moved to final incubation stage. The City also helped successfully advocate for India to accept Canadian cedar imports into the country - all three cedar species have now been approved.
The India business mission plan was conceived at the 2010 Surrey Regional Economic Summit, which focussed on the economic powerhouses of India and China. The keynote speakers for the 2011 Summit on October 20th are Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
“Our Economic Summit is recognized as a forum for the exchange of economic ideas that is unrivalled in BC,” says Watts. “The former Presidents will provide their very unique and timely perspectives on a broad range of economic and business trends.”
2010 was also a successful year for celebration and the arts in Surrey. Surrey’s 2010 Celebration Site won “Best Public Entertainment Event” at the B.C. Event Awards, and Fusion Festival won the 2010 “Best Cultural Event In Canada” award at the Canadian Event Industry Awards Gala in Toronto.
“Surrey is becoming known as the destination for fun, community festivals. This year we will kick off our inaugural Party for the Planet, which will celebrate our sustainability initiatives and environmental partnerships.” Party for the Planet takes place on April 15th and 16th at Central City Plaza.
“This is an exciting time for Surrey as we build a city from the ground up. We will continue to be an economic generator for the Region as well as a city where you can get a great education, a great paying job, and raise your family in a strong, vibrant community,” added Mayor Watts.
The Build Surrey program is being funded through infrastructure fees, secondary suite fees, contributions from the Surrey City Development Corporation, gaming revenue, grant money, leaseholds, parking fee revenues from the City’s new parking authority and reserve money. The City is not raising property taxes to pay for the Build Surrey program.
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor