Surrey Mayor-elect Brenda Locke said that a “housing summit” will be held in Surrey next spring as the city grapples with a crisis in affordable housing.
“I did talk to Premier Eby about it as well, and that it will be very specific and only for Surrey, that we will do something here,” said Locke, at a Surrey Board of Trade luncheon Friday.
The summit goal is to bring all levels of government together, as well as local partners.
The Surrey Board of Trade hosted its sixth Surrey Development Industry Forum during the luncheon on Friday (Oct. 28) at the Sheraton Guildford. The agenda included speeches by Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and a panel of other key individuals, including Marc Lee, a senior economist, Johnna Sparrow, an aboriginal relations advisor, Doug Tennant, CEO of UNITI, Trevor Hargreaves, senior vice president of government relations, marketing and communications, B.C. Real Estate Association, and Tegan Smith, principal of Channel Consulting. Representatives from the provincial government also planned to attend but were not able to.
Locke said Surrey “grew by 44 per cent, between 2006 and 2021, which is far exceeded what most other cities do.” Locke added the question needs to be asked whether we are always building the right thing?
Locke said 41,000 new homes are needed to keep up with growth.
Surrey needs more low-income, affordable housing and co-ops, she explained. But to get there, she believes all levels of government need to work together.
Locke said there is especially a need for secondary, or bridge, housing in Surrey. She also said that more accurate numbers are needed for the number of unhoused individuals in Surrey. This is important so Surrey can get adequate funding from the government to help unhoused individuals. Locke added the funding is based on this number.
More also needs to be done for student housing, she said. She told a story of visiting a two-bedroom basement suite in Surrey that was housing ten students. She plans to start talks with schools in the city to see how they can work together to improve student housing.