With Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke as your guide, uncover stories about our dynamic city, from exciting new projects to community-driven initiatives.
Standing up for Surrey taxpayers
The provincially ordered police transition will cost Surrey taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars while delivering no added public safety benefit to Surrey. As the Mayor of Surrey, it is my job to stand up for Surrey taxpayers and fight against a double digit tax imposed by the NDP.
Surrey signs Global Trees in Cities challenge to plant 106,000 trees - Oct. 12, 2023
Surrey signs Global Trees in Cities challenge to plant 106,000 trees
This year, I signed the Global Trees in Cities challenge and have pledged to plant 106,000 trees on public land in the City of Surrey by the end of 2024. This international challenge aims to promote climate action in cities.
Did you know you can help us grow our urban forest?
Plant trees and shrubs in your local park at one of our upcoming ‘Releaf’ Tree Planting Events. This popular tree planting series is one of the many initiatives that contribute to making Surrey a thriving, green, and inclusive community. It provides an excellent opportunity for the community to connect with each other, enjoy the outdoors, and contribute to the growth of one of our most vital natural assets, the City’s urban forest.
I commend our staff and our citizens in Surrey who are deeply committed to our vision of being a green and inclusive city. As the stewards of our parkland and natural habitats, we are committed to sustainability and building a legacy for future generations.
The Releaf Tree Planting Program is one of the City’s many stewardship initiatives delivered by the Parks Division to engage the community in protecting, preserving, and maintaining Surrey’s extensive parkland system. Since 1991, volunteers have planted thousands of trees and shrubs, contributing to improved air quality, increased shade, food and shelter for wildlife, and greater biodiversity in our parks.
Maximum capacity: Portable breaking point - Oct. 11, 2023
Maximum capacity: Portable breaking point
It’s clear the state of school infrastructure in Surrey has reached a crisis level. The current pressures to create more housing cannot be done in isolation. As a city of families where many of our new residents are children, core infrastructure such as schools must be built in lock step with new housing.
Over the last two decades, Surrey Schools saw roughly 700 new students every year. But fast forward to today, and that figure has more than tripled. Last year, the district saw over 2,500 new students. This year’s tally is going to be comparable.
In some areas, such as Fleetwood, schools are hitting maximum capacity. Not maximum capacity of the physical building, but maximum capacity in terms of the number of portables they can even squeeze onto a school site: They’re past their breaking point. At one elementary school, the portable space was maxed out and new classrooms had to be temporarily set up in the gym and teacher’s lounge.
Laurie Larsen, Surrey School Board Chair, says right now we need at least 2 more secondary and 6 new elementary schools.
“This past June, we submitted our annual capital submission to the Ministry of Education and Child Care outlining additional projects that we feel are a priority to address our capacity needs,” she explained, “including 10 new schools and 17 additions to existing schools.”
Room for portables running out at some Surrey schools
- This year alone, the district has had to relocate or purchase 57 portables. That came with a price tag of $7 million from the district’s operating budget - funds that should be used to support learning directly, not to create physical space for children to learn.
- Some schools are so full, the district has now maxed out the portables it can have on-site. In other words – they’ve run out of room for more portables.
- Fleetwood is particularly struggling with growth. Walnut Road Elementary, for example, had more than 90 new students enrolled this year.
- Walnut Road’s 6 portables needed to be increased to 9 due to higher-than-expected enrollment. As a result, the gymnasium and even teacher’s lounges were converted into temporary learning spaces until additional portables could be installed.
- Some students are now being told their school simply has no room for them and must go out of catchment. You could live across the street from a school, but have to drive to another.
- This level of overcrowding takes a strain on washrooms, libraries, recreational spaces, parking, everything. Children are being put on staggered bell schedules and losing access to things like sports fields.
The City of Surrey is here to support the district in any way we can to speed up timelines and fast-track municipal approvals to help get new schools built as quickly as possible.
I know the Board of Education has continually advocated for funding from the Province, but we’re not seeing the action we so desperately need. Without rapid investment, our schools are facing a dire situation. More and more schools are going to hit maximum portable capacity.
We need the provincial government to step up and give Surrey’s fair share. We need action and investment in building more schools in Surrey, and we need it now.
A look inside the Totest Aleng: Indigenous Learning House - Sept. 29, 2023
The Totest Aleng: Indigenous Learning House is now complete. This vibrant new facility features a covered pavilion to support a range of programming, and a dedicated studio space, all to support Indigenous cultural practices.
Development of the venue and its programming has been informed by ongoing dialogue and consultation with Semiahmoo, Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations. I am thankful for their guidance on both the facility’s design and the important programming that occurs here.
Learn about this new space for connection, gathering and learning: surrey.ca/totestaleng.