IN the annual State of the City Address, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on Wednesday highlighted the progress and achievements of the City over the last four years. From holding residential property taxes to 2.9 percent, to investing in 21 capital projects through the $428 million Surrey Invests program, to purchasing 225 acres of new parkland, this Council has delivered on its promises.
“Despite the challenges from the COVID pandemic, Council never strayed from the goals we set at the start of our mandate,” said McCallum. “The vision of what Council wanted to achieve in four years was ambitious and demanding. It required massive change, not for the sake of change, but for what is best for Surrey.”
He pointed out: “The City’s progress and rise in prominence has not gone unnoticed. Senior levels of government are investing in the City, from funding new housing to rapid transit expansion, from replacing an aging bridge to a new hospital, Surrey is on the radar. From my vantage point, the sky is the limit. Together, we can and will take Surrey to new heights.”
In his annual address, McCallum also provided an update on the City’s municipal police service transition.
He said: “The transition from RCMP to a city police started three and half years ago, and in this short time the Surrey Police Service has evolved from a motion in Council to Surrey Police Service officers patrolling the streets. To date, 85 uniformed SPS officers have been deployed to work alongside RCMP. That number will increase to 295 SPS officers in the next 12 months.”
McCallum added: “The progress we are making in the transition has allowed us to create the Community Services Department. A major component of this new department is dedicated to enhancing our approach to supportive housing.”
The Mayor also noted: “With funding secured from all levels of government, the $4 billion Surrey Langley SkyTrain will be built in one phase. Constructing the new SkyTrain line all at once will create a savings of $500-$600 million and will see the Surrey Langley SkyTrain delivered two years earlier. I think we can all agree that new rapid transit is long overdue in Surrey and the need for it has never been greater. According to TransLink, two thirds of transit trips are into or within Surrey, leaving only one third of transit travel going out of this city. That pattern has remained steady since 2019.”
Highlighted in the speech were a number of achievements that have been realized since McCallum took office:
- In 2021, the City planted 10,272 trees on public property and in 2022, that number will increase to 12,300.
- City Council has committed over $45 million to new parkland acquisition, resulting in 225 acres of new parkland in Surrey.
- The Guaranteed Permitting Timelines program has surpassed its target of 10 weeks, reducing the average processing time for a single-family permit from nearly 15 weeks in 2021 to 8.9.
- By the end of 2022, the City’s Electric Vehicle Charging Network will near 100 charging stations to support the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads.
- Now in it’s fourth year, the City’s Love Where You Live campaign is more popular than ever. In 2021, participants contributed 1,700 volunteer hours, cleaned 208 kilometres of Surrey roads, organized 75 community clean-ups and over 200 people committed to the weekly 20-minute clean up challenge.
- In 2021, building permit values totalled more than $2 billion. Not only was this achieved in the midst of a pandemic but it marks the second highest recorded value in the City’s history; the all-time record was set in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 when $2.3 billion in building permit values were recorded.
- In 2021, Surrey led the way with the highest number of new home construction for the Metro region. Housing starts in Surrey totaled over 58 hundred units last year, which is 6% more than Vancouver.
- In partnership with all levels of government, the City of Surrey is delivering on this type of much-needed housing across our city. In 2021, a total of 139 Supportive Housing Units opened in Surrey. This year, another 387 Supportive and Transitional Housing.
Since taking office, Council has made significant investments through the $428 million Surrey Invests capital program, including:
- Newton Community Centre with Olympic size pool ($100M)
- Cloverdale Sport & Ice Complex ($55.1M)
- City Centre Sports Complex ($40M)
- Bear Creek Athletics Centre ($27.5M)
- King George Nicomekl Bridge replacements ($22M)
- Nicomekl Riverfront Park ($19.5M)
- Fraser Highway widening: 138 St. to 148 St. ($17M)
- CMHC Housing Initiative: Little’s Place Project ($16.4M)
- 32 Ave. Corridor: King George to 140 St. ($16M)
- 20 Ave. Highway 99 Overpass ($14M)
- 84th Avenue Connector: King George to 140th Street ($13M)
- Two Indigenous Carving Centres ($2M)
Read the full list of Surrey Invests projects here.
McCallum’s speech: SURREY State of the City Speech – Mayor McCallum