Surrey’s First Community Summit: Engaging the Public

Communication between a municipality and its citizens is a crucial element in the development any urban area.  For a substantial period of time Surrey’s Municipal Government has been working with numerous community groups and organizations to improve the communication process.

Barinder RasodeThe very first  Surrey Community Summit will take place on April 6th with the cooperation of 38 different organizations as well as businesses and residents.

The Surrey Community Summit was born as a result of last year’s series of Town Hall meetings that aimed to learn more about residents’ needs and problems and discuss ideas for the future.

The upcoming Summit will provide an opportunity for communication between the City, community and experts involved in many of the important areas of urban development and transformation.

The Chairwoman of the Summit, Councillor Barinder Rasode, who leads the community communications process and was involved in organization of the Town Halls in 2012, says that the aim of the Summit is to connect the City with people in an inclusive and collaborative way. She also pointed out that “in order to build a stronger city we need to inspire and engage that community, and involve them in the civic process”.

Mayor Dianne Watts and City Council, are often credited for Surrey’s transformation over the years. Mayor Watts states about the Summit:

“The Summit is a unique opportunity for us to engage the community, listen, share information, and bring together leaders in urban planning in order to create an interactive forum for sharing ideas and best practices”. 

The event will take place at SFU Surrey, on April 6th, from 9am to 4pm, featuring Gord Hume as the keynote speaker. Hume is one of Canada’s leading voices on municipal government, cultural planing and creative cities. Hume’s experience ranges from  broadcasting, newspaper publishing, to municipal government.  He has also authored four books: 10 Trends for Smarter Communities, Taking Back Our Cities, The Local Food Revolution and Cultural Planning for Creative Communities.

Participants and residents will also have the opportunity to learn more about the revitalization of neighborhoods from “Better Block Project” founder, Jason Roberts. Roberts is well known as the leader of numerous non-profit organizations and projects concentrated on alternative transportation, including the Oak Cliff Transit Authority. In 2010, Roberts organized a series of “Better Block Projects” transforming properties in Southern Dallas into temporary walkable districts with pop-up businesses, bike lanes and cafe seatings. His experience and insights are sure to be valuable to us as we develop our City Centre.

Topics to be discussed at the Summit :

  • Municipal 101 – Getting to Know City Hall
  • Becoming an Inspiring Community Leader
  • Where’s the Family?
  • Welcoming Community for New Canadians
  • Ideas Fair: Surrey 2020 – The Vision
  • Connecting with Youth Today
  • The City and Sustainability
  • Community Gardens and Urban Gardening
  • Revitalizing Communities
  • Connecting Neighbours/Urban Isolation
  • City Beautification
  • Resources and Funding – Asset Mapping

For more information, and/or to register, please visit: There is a maximum attendance of 200 and the cost is $12 per person (includes lunch).

You can also follow us for comprehensive coverage on the Summit on Twitter  @surrey604com and Facebook.

Esmir Milavic
Born in Bosnia, Esmir’s interests are in journalism, politics, communications, history, culture, sports, books and technology. He has contributed to some of the most innovative independent media projects to come out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the earliest members of Surrey604, Esmir now resides in Sarajevo working with Bosnian FACE TV.