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We already have 400 school portables in Surrey, and more housing without schools, hospitals, transit, and sewers will make things worse: Councillor Linda Annis

Surrey, B.C. (May 30, 2024): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says the provincial government’s demand for more housing from municipalities has to include provincial support for more critical infrastructure.

“Surrey is the best example in the province of a municipality that’s growing, but we’re also facing serious infrastructure deficits in schools, hospitals, transit, and development basics such as power, water, and sewers,” said Annis. “Mayors like Malcom Brodie and Brenda Locke are right to start questioning the provincial government because the demand for more housing cannot be a one-way street, the province needs to come to the table in a serious way.”

Annis said the fact that Surrey is desperately short of schools and has nearly 8,000 students in some 400 portables is a real example of what happens when infrastructure doesn’t keep up with growth.

“The provincial government cannot wave its magic legislative wand and fix the housing shortage without support and input from municipalities,” explained Annis. “Our local councils know our communities and their needs much better than anyone in Victoria. So, if we’re going to increase housing, it needs to be as partners. In five years, Surrey will be bigger than Vancouver, and in 18 years we will have one million residents. We can’t get ready for those kinds of numbers without serious support from the province.”

Annis said she wished the city had a better working relationship with the province, but the police transition continues to be an issue, with Mayor Locke stalling the transition as taxpayers continue to pay for two police departments.

“At Surrey City Hall, it’s a bit of a cold war with the provincial government, and that’s not helpful when it comes to building our city’s future,” noted Annis. “Cities and the provincial government have too many shared priorities to be at odds with each other. But that’s what we have in Surrey right now, and it’s not helpful. We need to get on with the police transition and start tackling other important priorities that have been sidelined for nearly six years.”