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OUR VIEW: Surrey must grow properly, with balance

Balance needs to be struck between land development and livability
Construction in Surrey. Roughly 1,200 people are moving to the city every month. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

It’s well known Surrey is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities, with some 1,200 people moving here every month.

So it’s no wonder city hall has put its attention to streamlining its land development approval process to make it faster and more predictable. To that end, council approved a staff report Monday that called on it to endorse a plan to set up guaranteed permitting timelines and improve the city’s process to support them.

The timelines will guarantee a rezoning report to council in 12 weeks for single family residences, 16 weeks for multi-family, commercial and industrial, and building permits related to single family residences and tenant improvements will be within 10 weeks.

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City staff is implementing more online services and other “improvements” like virtual inspections to assist in meeting these targets, as well as a call centre that will be able to field 400 calls for service per day.

But while city hall is diligently working to see how many people we can stuff into the Volkswagen, the politicians and professionals must not lose sight as well of the ever-pressing need to ensure infrastructure and public amenities keep up with this new effort to foster quicker development here.

This also includes being good stewards of our environment. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum notes that Surrey has “proven to be a prime destination for new residents and businesses.” Livability must have something to do with that, and so must be protected with the same, if not more, degree of care as hastening the speed of development.


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