Statement from Mayor Doug McCallum - The Year In Review
"One year ago, today, the latest edition of Surrey City Council was sworn in."
One year ago, today, the latest edition of Surrey City Council was sworn in. All eight City Councillors taking the Oath of Office on November 5, 2018 were brand new to municipal government. With fresh perspectives and renewed energy, City Council immediately got to work as soon as the new Council was affirmed. That evening, two motions were unanimously passed to expand SkyTrain in Surrey and to begin work on the creation of a city police department.
Politicians are often criticized for not keeping their promises and deservedly so. When I was running for office, my promises and commitments were transparent and clear. As the elected Mayor of Surrey, it is my duty to deliver on what I pledged to do and not break my word to the voters.
In the first year of a four-year mandate, Surrey City Council has approved the following items:
- Expand Rapid Transit in Surrey with SkyTrain. The Surrey-Langley SkyTrain line will be the first major rapid transit investment in Surrey since 1994.
- Establish a Surrey Police Department, which was given the green light by the Solicitor General in August.
- Cleaned up the backlog in the Planning Department. In 2017, the delay peaked at 25 weeks to get a single-family permit issued. It has been reduced to 15 weeks and by the end of the year, the wait will be no more than 10 weeks.
- Implemented Smart Development to ensure essential services and infrastructure are part of the planning of new communities. An example is the phased-in approach for a housing project in Clayton. The housing will be constructed in stages in order for it to align with the opening of two new elementary schools.
- Increase flexibility of housing options in Surrey by increasing the number of purpose-built rental developments. There are more than 1700 new rental units slated to be added to the city’s rental stock.
- Approved two supportive housing projects that will create 100 units of modular housing built in Guildford and in Whalley.
- Construction commencing this month on the Transitional Housing project in Green Timbers.
- Expanded Surrey’s biodiversity conversation through parkland acquisition. In the past 12 months, the purchase of more than 300 acres of land has been approved by Council for the express purpose of increasing Surrey’s inventory of parks and green spaces.
- Approved a 75% discount for seniors 70 years and older for recreation passes and drop-in admissions. Since being introduced at the start of 2019, there has been an 18% increase in senior’s recreation centre memberships and an estimated 50,000 additional visits made by seniors to our recreational facilities and programs this year.
- Implemented two-hour free parking around Surrey Memorial Hospital and at City Hall.
- No development in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
- Hold property tax increase to the Consumer Price Index (Oct. 2018) of 2.9%.
- Instituted a BarWatch type program and Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment Program
- The SAFE program was launched for youth at risk of being recruited into gangs. This initiative has been designed to prevent gang recruitment with the focus on diverting our youth from gang involvement.
- Task forces in place and work well underway on Truck Parking, Community Engagement and the creation of an Ethics Commissioner.
Mayor Doug McCallum
Office of the Mayor
City of Surrey