Since Mayor Watts has been running the show at city hall, Surrey has started the slow process of shifting from a sleepy, low-density Sametown, Canada to a vibrant urban centre. In 2010, Surrey launched Phase 2 of the Economic Investment Action Plan. The plan focuses on the Build Surrey Program which will invest $60 million a year in civic infrastructure over and above what is already spent on roads, water, sewer, and parks; District Heating like what is used in downtown Vancouver; and New Incubator Areas where the city will work with partners to establish business incubation space that will allow entrepreneurs to establish small scale operations to take ideas from research to commercialization.
One of the other exciting parts of the plan is the package of incentives that Surrey has put together to be the heart of the green economy in our region and dare I say BC.
The City of Surrey provides incentives for new clean energy companies choosing to locate in Surrey:
- Eliminate property taxes for 3 years from the date of occupancy of the company premises;
- Reduce building permit fees by 50% in relation to the construction of the company premises; and
- Reduce the business license fee to $1 for the first three years of company operation.
If the future indeed lives in Surrey then attracting green jobs is a must. We are shifting away from a fossil fuel economy (whether we like it or not) and it’s good to see that Surrey is following California’s example and getting in on the ground floor to reap the most benefits.