Surrey Board of Trade’s CEO says she’s “disappointed” that Surrey council has proposed to reduce its grant for 2019, but that it’s “not going to destroy us.”
Although city staff recommended Surrey’s Finance Committee approve a grant of $40,000 for the Surrey Board of Trade in 2019, council instead voted on Dec. 11 to drop it to $10,000.
The SBOT had asked for $85,000.
“That specific grant was increased a couple of years ago from $10,000 to $40,000 to increase our work for youth entrepreneurship in Surrey as well as putting Surrey on the world stage through our international trade centre,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of SBOT.
“For us, it isn’t a hit, it’s not going to destroy us. We’ve been in this city for 100 years and we will find other funds to support youth entrepreneurship as well as our international trade centre - which is so integral to advancing Surrey’s economy. Investment in both areas are absolutely important.”
“If that’s a decision they want to make, there’s no way I can stop it,” she added.
The move to reduce the grant hasn’t yet been formally approved, but will move forward for a vote during a regular council meeting next Monday (Dec. 17).
Councillor Jack Hundial tabled the motion to amend the proposed grant to $10,000, saying it was in an effort to keep it in “parity” with other community business organizations.
Mayor Doug McCallum noted the move, if approved, “makes it equal with the South Surrey Chamber of Commerce and also the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce.”
Later in the meeting, Councillor Laurie Guerra suggested the $30,000 difference be reallocated to increase the proposed grant for Surrey Crime Prevention Society.
Guerra proposed “the $30,000 that was taken away from, that was reduce, from the Surrey Board of trade” be used to “increase the amount to Surrey Crime Prevention Society…. They’ve asked for $270,000, and they’re proposed to receive $230,000.”
The Finance Committee passed the motion.
Earlier in the meeting, Councillor Linda Annis recused herself during a vote to approve a $45,000 grant for Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers. Annis serves as executive director of that organization.
In all, the City of Surrey provided $1.55 million in financial support through grants in 2018 and that’s set to rise to roughly $1.78 million next year.
The remainder of the proposed grants were approved by the Finance Committee and will also be voted on during a regular council meeting on Dec. 17.
The Now-Leader contacted the Surrey’s clerks office to seek clarity on how Annis voted on the proposed Surrey Board of Trade and Surrey Crime Prevention Society grant changes, and was told the clerk is still verifying that for the minutes.