Real Estate

Surrey Mayor Gives Surrey Schools a Lesson in Democracy

Mayor Hepner teams up with School District and Community Builder to kick off a new campaign.

8 Surrey Elementary schools will compete to get the vote out in a campaign to elect the school with the best gingerbread building of a City Centre landmark in Surrey, BC!

best gingerbread building of a City Centre landmark in Surrey, BC

In the next 10 days many young children and teens will be going to the ballots receiving a lesson in democracy to vote for their favorite city centre landmark built by their elementary school. Surrey, a city which has the largest school district in the province and boosts a population – 1/3 of which is under the age of 19 – is not only the youngest but the fastest growing city in British Columbia.

Surrey Mayor Hepner teams up with School District and Community Builder

Surrey’s newly crowned Mayor Linda Hepner began her term in style by teaming up with 8 Elementary schools, the Surrey School District and Canada’s largest Community builder to kick off an election for a lesson in democracy for young children. Surrey which has the largest school district in the province is the perfect city for this civic experiment in democracy. Engaging elementary school students to take part in an election to vote for their design by their school allows them to understand the strength of unity and democracy through architecture and design.

On Saturday, Mayor Linda Hepner made a surprise appearance before her Inauguration as Surrey’s next Mayor to christen a Gingerbread City that resembled her very own Surrey City Centre. There were Santa’s elves, the Gingerbread Man and lots of cameras at the sleek Concord Pacific Presentation Centre. The Mayor who wore a pink sweater top and was comfortable in her satire had a real aura of mystique. Holding a Starbucks coffee admiring the City Centre model built with gingerbread, she was quickly surrounded by young families and people wanting to congratulate her and take a picture.

Grant Murray, Vice-President of Sales for Concord Pacific

Grant Murray, Vice-President of Sales for Concord Pacific who wore his bright pink matching tie was in full color coordination with the next Mayor of the fastest growing city in British Columbia. Looking stylish in his black suit and surrounded by his eye-catching hosts and sales staff he introduced this as an initiative that is close to his heart. Grant who grew up in the Whalley area in North Surrey, now part of the Surrey City Centre, graduated from Queen Elizabeth Senior Secondary in the Surrey School District.

“Surrey is very dear to me, my parents moved out here in 1946, I went to Grosvenor Road Elementary and went to QE. It’s just really nice to focus on the community here in Surrey, Surrey has the most schools, the youngest population in all of BC… it really is wonderful to support the children and get them involved in the community so without further ado, Mayor we’d like you to cast the first vote.”

Gingerbread City was built by local pastry chefs with the surrounding landmark buildings created by local school teams

The impressively detailed Gingerbread City was built by local pastry chefs with the surrounding landmark buildings created by local school teams. $8,000 has already been given to the 8 participating City Centre elementary schools The top prize of $2,000 will be given to the school who gets the most votes. Concord Pacific is contributing a total of $10,000 back to the school district.

Concord Pacific`s Surrey Presentation Centre

In-person voting began on Saturday, December the 6th and closes on Friday the 19th. The results will be announced during a holiday musical celebration on Saturday, December 20th at Concord Pacific`s Surrey Presentation Centre.

Principal of Senator Reid, Faisal Rawji

Representing the Surrey School Board, the participating school and Principal of Senator Reid, Faisal Rawji was dapper and pleased with the opportunity to have received $1,000 for participating. “The kids were pretty excited, all done by them very little help by us, so it was a really neat project.” When asked what the school plans on doing with the $1,000 he said, “Technology is so expensive right now, I think we’re going to get some iPads for the classroom… We will get 2. We know what our needs are and we’re always thankful for what we have.”

Here is a quick break down of all the schools involved in the election and what city centre landmark they built.

AHP Matthew Elementary: Coast Capital
Bridgeview Elementary: Holland Park
Cougar Creek Elementary: City Hall
James Ardiel Elementary: Central City Mall
KB Woodward Elementary: Performing Arts Centre
Old Yale Road Elementary: King George Skytrain Station
Prince Charles Elementary: City Centre Library
Senator Reid Elementary: SFU Simon Fraser University Surrey

Mayor Hepner kicked off this exercise in democracy with the first vote followed by Concord Pacific’s Grant Murray…

Surrey Mayor Hepner Gives Surrey Schools a Lesson in Democracy

I asked Mayor Hepner, “What is the first thing that you re going to do as Mayor of Surrey?” She said, “One of the most significant things is next week we have a question and the funding formula for the transportation referendum, and that is going to be top of the agenda for getting that done and making sure I’m a strong part of the engagement strategy ensuring our residents know what does that mean for the City of Surrey and our light rail project.”

There was no comment on the P3 (Public-Private Partnership) model for funding, however she did say that that the focus would be on the referendum and receiving Federal, Provincial and local funding.

Here are the Mayor’s top 3 issues that she plans on focusing on in the next 4 years.

  1. Crime and Safety: Neighborhood policing model in place. Citizens to know who their local officers are to increase a sense of community safety and communication.
  2. Transportation: Referendum Question, Funding Formula, Community Engagement, Light Rapid Transit and Overall City Service
  3. Economic Development and Jobs: Market city to build relations with and attract Investment. Expand Innovation Blvd to Social Innovation, Agri-food sector and Clean technology

I finished my time with Mayor with this question: How can Surrey be a leader in corporate social responsibility on a national scale?

“I think Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation is fundamentally going to be the next big thing…in fact we are going to have a social innovation summit this year, so I hope all of those players who have some element to add to that can bring all of those ideas together….what Concord Pacific does here is really important to the kids and it shows not only their corporate generosity but it shows the imagination of the kids and it allows them to understand what it takes to build a city and the form and function of that and it’s all really important elements in a strong community…Social Innovation and the future does live here.”

Sukh Johal
With a background in sales, security and real estate development, Sukh is a political strategist excelling in community organizing, fundraising and civic affairs. He enjoys performing and has appeared as a background performer in Hollywood productions. Sukh grew up on the tough streets of Dunoon, Scotland before moving to Canada at age 10 and brings a unique perspective to Surrey604. He speaks his mind, and believes social media can be a force for good. Sukh has been a control agent for President Obama’s Inaugural Celebration team in Washington DC and spoke on interfaith affairs at the White House. A member of the Surrey Board of Trade’s International Trade Team and Vancouver Board of Trade’s Company of Young Professionals, Sukh is also past President and current VP Public Relations of Surrey Civic Speechmeisters Toastmasters Club at City Hall and VP of the Multifaith Action Society of BC, an interfaith organization promoting grassroots diplomacy, cooperation and goodwill.