Three long serving members of Surrey City Council were recognized at last week’s regular council meeting. Mayor Linda Hepner, Councillor Judy Villeneuve, and Councillor Mary Martin will be stepping away from public life at the end of this term. Collectively they have served 55 years on Surrey City Council.
“The bar that Mayor Hepner, Councillor Villeneuve and Councillor Martin have set for future Council members is extremely high,” said Councillor and Acting Mayor Vera LeFranc in her presentation. “Public life can be challenging and demanding, and it goes without saying that the three of them have handled it with aplomb and grace.”
Mayor Linda Hepner has been with the City of Surrey for 33 years. She worked as a staff member for more than 20 years before being elected to City Council for four terms, three as Councillor and as Mayor in her final term. Under her leadership, the tremendous progress and momentum that the City of Surrey is experiencing continues unabated. Her ability to work with people and all levels of government, regardless of political stripe, has resulted in some record breaking investment into Surrey.
Mayor Hepner’s accomplishments include:
- With her work on the Mayors’ Council, the $1.65 billion Surrey Newton Guildford Light Rail Transit line is now fully funded. The funding partnerships with the Federal and Provincial governments have resulted in the single largest investment in infrastructure in the City of Surrey’s history.
- As City Councillor, she successfully lobbied to make Surrey an official Olympic partner and celebration site for the 2010 Winter Games.
- The creation of the Surrey Economic Summit. This event brought together Presidential and other world leaders for an exchange of financial policy insight.
Councillor Judy Villeneuve was first elected in 1989 and in her almost three decades on Council she has helped shape Surrey in numerous ways. As the longest serving member on Council, Councillor Villeneuve recognized the need to balance the development of infrastructure while protecting green spaces.
Cllr Villeneuve played an integral role in the development of Arts and Culture within Surrey. As Council Liaison to the Public Arts Advisory Committee, Councillor Villeneuve helped shape many of the policies and programs on this front. As the Chair to the Social Policy Committee, she championed the need to eradicate homelessness. Councillor Villeneuve established the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society and Foundation, which was the first of its kind in B.C.
Councillor Mary Martin was first elected in 2005 with the desire to build a Surrey that was inclusive and connected. Councillor Martin has been instrumental in advocating for healthy communities and has served on numerous committees from Finance, to Health, to Climate Change.
As Chair of the Diversity Committee and member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee, her work with Surrey’s Fusion Fest helped earn the title “Best Public Festival,” awarded by the Canadian Event Industry Awards. As Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Health, Councillor Martin was instrumental in her support of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Emergency Tower Project which opened in 2014.