The State of Newton

Your government is committed to taking action support in Newton,” said Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston

Despite the torrential rain, members of the government and local business owners gathered in the heart of Surrey to envision a bright future for Newton. Talks of light rapid transit, building a community identity, and encouraging small business ventures flowed in the newly built offices of Newton as Newton Business Improvement Association (BIA) hosted its first ever State of Newton on Wednesday, October 17.

Minister of Labour Harry Bains commenced the presentation with an opening speech while Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston delivered a keynote address. Both Bains and Ralston have been elect MLAs for Surrey-Newton and Surrey-Whalley respectively.

In his keynote speech, Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology Bruce Ralston recalled several of the promises extended by the new NDP provincial government that would affect Newton town centre. These include, lowering the tax levied on small businesses down by 20 per cent and increasing the provincial funding for light rapid transit to 40 per cent.

Ralston also mentioned the new NDP annual grant of $500,000 towards Surrey’s Wrap program for at-risk youth. “This program provides kids with counselling, recreational activities, mentoring, substance abuse and mental health supports when needed, life skills, job placements, and more,” said Ralston. “We know that dedicated intervention and mentoring can have a profound effect not only for those children who receive assistance but also for their families, friends, schoolmates, and future employers.”

Phillip Aguirre addresses the crowd for Newton BIA’s presentation for the State of Newton

“This means better public safety while keep our kids focused on what’s important and building skills for their future.”

“Surrey is my home for both me and my family, and it’s a place I care very deeply about,” said Ralston, who has served as MLA for Surrey-Whalley since 2005. Phillip Aguirre, executive director of Newton BIA presented on the orgranization’s aims on revitalizing Newton. The Newton BIA seeks to broaden the cultural aspect of the town centre  by providing spaces and events for the community to engage itself and consequentially, rebrand as a diverse, dynamic community. Newton BIA believes bringing light rail transit to Surrey will help urbanize Newton as a town centre.

“We believe that light rapid transit is key for Newton, to make Newton a terminus station and a hub for the lower half of the City of Surrey,” said Aguirre in an interview. “That can include a cultural entertainment district for the entire city, where the population that’s growing can come to and spend their entertainment dollars.”

To complete its mission, the organization intends to band together with other local businesses to collaborate and better Newton. “What we have is an amazing opportunity in Newton to build a community. And we build community by building relationships. That’s what we’re doing today, building relationships, one conversation at a time,” said Aguirre.

Sheetal Reddy
Sheetal Reddy is a multimedia journalist located in Surrey. While she is still new to the media scene, she is most interested in covering topics such as social issues and politics.