AT Monday night’s Regular Council Meeting, City Council approved the Surrey Economic Action and Recovery Plan.
The objective of the plan is to help Surrey’s economy move towards a faster recovery through a series of initiatives centered on encouraging and supporting residents, businesses, investments, and job creation opportunities in the City.
By taking these proactive steps, the goal is to recover as soon as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the safety of our people is first and foremost, City Council has taken a forward-thinking approach when it comes to keeping our local economy afloat during this time of pandemic,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “With the Surrey Economic Action and Recovery Plan, the City is taking care of its economic house while keeping a keen eye on how we can ease the financial burden of our residents and businesses during this challenging time.”
The Surrey Economic Action and Recovery Plan is focused around the City’s residents, businesses and development sector. Key highlights include:
- 90-day extension on late payment penalties for residential and commercial property tax payments. Late payment charges will now come into effect on October 1, instead of July 3.
- Effective immediately, new and in-stream projects that have a construction value of greater than $25 million will benefit from a 50% reduction of many fees relating to the development.
- Business licence late payment penalties have been deferred during the current Provincial State of Emergency. Late penalty fees will be applied 30 days after the Provincial State of Emergency comes to an end.
- Parking fees have been waived for City-operated parking spaces around Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH), including new areas to the north of SMH, in order to provide free overflow parking for health care workers, commuters, and hospital visitors. On-street pay parking around City Hall has been suspended to support patrons of City Hall and municipal employees providing essential services.
- Increase the supply of appropriate and affordable housing for the homeless and most vulnerable populations. Projects that are currently in process include five modular housing projects that will provide 250 housing units and the transitional housing facility at Green Timbers which will accommodate up to 130 people.
- The Surrey Makes PPE program supports Surrey-based manufacturers to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and helps to identify buyers for their products. Launched last month, companies are already benefiting from orders from other levels of government and private businesses.
- Store to Door connects local businesses to the customer through on-line sales and deliveries. Since its advent in March, 166 companies have signed up to Store to Door and over 30,000 online connections have resulted.
- Surrey was one of the first cities to launch online fitness classes and library read along storytimes. This resource will continue to be offered with new online videos.
- Surrey Libraries, in partnerships with seniors’ organizations, will procure Chromebooks to distribute to isolated seniors, offering instructions on accessing free resources such as eBooks, eAudio, and how to connect online with family and friends.
- To support job seekers, Surrey Libraries will host virtual job fairs and online learning to enhance critical job skills such as resume and cover letter writing.
- Surrey Civic Theatres is programming a series of pre-recorded and live-streamed performances featuring local musicians and a series of radio plays produced in partnership with local theatre companies.
- Surrey Art Gallery is offering a series of online artmaking video lessons and artist talks, virtual exhibitions, and tours featuring local artists and artworks.
“Despite the impact of COVID-19, Surrey is on solid footing and has not stood still during this time,” said McCallum. “To date, building permit values have exceeded $455 million, adding 1300 single detached and multi-family homes to Surrey’s housing stock.”
McCallum also noted: “Work on the Surrey Police Department (SPD) has been progressing with the recent hire of an Executive Director for the Surrey Police Board. Applications for the Surrey Police Board have closed, and the interview process is underway to select the members for SPD’s Police Board.”
He added: “We will get through this and, when we do, Surrey will be all the stronger for it.”
More information on the Surrey Economic Action and Recovery Plan can be viewed here.