Surrey Voters Should Demand Zero Tolerance For School Portables: Councillor Linda Annis
Provincial election candidates should be challenged to support ridding Surrey of portables.
Surrey, B.C.: Councillor Linda Annis is calling on provincial election candidates in Surrey’s nine ridings to support a “zero tolerance” approach to the problem of school portables in Surrey. Annis said the current process for planning, funding and building schools in Surrey has “missed the mark” and the provincial government needs a more creative solution as BC’s largest school district continues with more than 350 school portables.
“Earlier this year, the school district proposed a budget to reduce the number of portables by almost half over a five year period, but by then thousands of additional students will be here,” added Annis. “What this means is that Surrey parents and students are being told to just get used to living with portables as a permanent fixture, something that Surrey voters and families shouldn’t accept. If we don’t take a zero tolerance approach to the issue of portables, they will become a permanent fixture in our city and students and their tax-paying parents deserve better.”
Annis said the province and the city need to re-think the current method of planning, funding and building schools, and city hall has a role to play here because of responsibility for zoning, development, and permits. “I’d like the city to work with the province and the school district to take a new approach that will get students out of portables permanently,” explained Annis.
Annis said one of the best solutions for delivering schools faster and more efficiently is found in Saskatchewan, where a public-private partnership bundles multiple school construction projects and builds them at one time. As a result, the private sector partner is responsible for delivering the schools on time, on budget and with savings to taxpayers because of the efficiencies that come with economies of scale and bulk buying.
“This model works and it means schools are being built faster and at less cost to taxpayers,” noted Annis. “In addition, their school designs allow for modular additions that are actually part of the school, unlike portables that are parked next door. At the same time, the private sector partner is responsible for maintenance and upkeep. The fact is, governments are notorious when it comes to not keeping up with maintenance, particularly when budgets are tight.
As a result, they will often simply defer the work that’s needed. In the Saskatchewan model, the private sector partner doesn’t have that option and as a result maintenance and upkeep are not allowed to slide.” Annis said provincial candidates need to demonstrate that they are serious about getting rid of portables in Surrey.
“Surrey kids should not be in portables, there is absolutely no need for that, particularly if the province is prepared to take a zero tolerance approach. Surrey is growing every year, that’s a reality and something we’re proud of, “ added Annis. “But don’t punish Surrey students because they live in a popular place where people want to live. As a city we can also do more, particularly when it comes to fast-tracking land assembly, zoning and permits so that schools can be built faster and more efficiently.” Annis said Victoria “shouldn’t be afraid” when it comes to adopting good ideas from other places, such as Saskatchewan.
“If our nine Surrey MLAs don’t think outside of the existing process then we shouldn’t be surprised that portables are a fixture in the lives of far too many students here in Surrey,” said Annis. “This election, we should be challenging candidates and asking them if they support a zero tolerance approach to finally ridding our city of portables, once and for all.”
5 Restaurants and a New Year in Surrey!
Another new year approaches: Surrey 2022 here we go! But with the new Covid restrictions, where are you going to enjoy this Friday night, whether you intend to celebrate New Years Eve or just celebrate because it’s Friday?
We have a list, albeit a short one, of restaurants that are open on New Year’s Eve.
Open until midnight. Reservations are recommended but not a must. This Surrey restaurant is well known for their Canadian dishes, complemented by an exciting list of cocktails, BC wines, and local craft beer, in an open concept restaurant with high top tables and chairs. Bones: they will be offering an all day happy hour on Friday.
Open until 2am. The Clayton is a unique choice. Although there will not be a party they do have a DJ, along with classic tasty Canadian dishes and appetizers, plus 3 incredible fire tables available in their fully covered & heated patio spaces. Also, they have a ton of drink specials, just in case you might be drinking responsibly during your visit.
Open until 10pm. Featuring a $60 New Year’s Eve menu, The Cabin is a solid choice for a Pacific Northwest experience featuring seafood, “AAA” steaks, gourmet pasta, local craft beers, and a healthy selection of wine. It should be noted, as of right now, 7:30pm onwards is fully booked, however we’ve been told there might be some cancellations. You can and should put your name on the waitlist.
Open until 10pm. Featuring traditional Afghan cuisine. If you live in Surrey, you know this place is amazing. If you don’t, that’s ok, just watch this episode about them on CBC Vancouver’s YouTube. Mom’s cooking never tasted better. Now, perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “Nothing special here, where’s the party!?” however, since many restaurants are closing early this year, and especially living in one of the most diverse cities in BC, what better way to enjoy your end of year than with a local culinary “staycation” at one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants!
With that said, last but not least by any means:
Open until 1130pm. Serving a delicious blend of Nepalese, Indo-Chinese, and Western Cuisine. Like we said, while in Surrey, try something new. Allow your tastebuds to create a mini celebration for you, safely at your table.
Have we helped? We certainly hope so!
No matter how you plan to enjoy this Friday December 31, stay safe, stay warm and we wish, as always, the very best for you and your family.
See you next year!
Desire Kokuvi Amouzou
The best trails to explore in Surrey this fall
There is something beautiful about walking or biking along a trail full of trees with changing leaves and this is the perfect time of year to experience it. Surrey Centre has some amazing trails to explore in the Green Timbers and Holland Park areas that are perfect for a leisurely stroll, a jog, a bike ride or a family affair that the pets and kids can join. Here is a list of the best trails to check out.
Holland Park Loop
Holland Park is a popular park in Surrey, one that hosts plenty of outdoor events, music festivals and gatherings. On top of that, the park also includes a trail loop perfect for a leisurely stroll. The Holland Park Loop is 0.8 kilometres long and is good for all skill levels. The trail is popular for walking, running, and road biking. There are often dogs seen on the trail when it’s nice out, and it’s a great place to take the family and kids. This loop is best used from April to November.
Birch and Willow Trail
Part of Green Timbers forest, the Birch and Willow Trail is a 1.8-km loop. This trail offers scenic views as it features a lake that is often full of ducks. It’s a great walk for kids as well, and has plenty of signs to follow. The trail is popular for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips. The gravel makes it a nice trail even on a rainy day.
Birch Salal and Douglas Loop
Another loop in Green Timbers is the Birch, Salal and Douglas Loop. This is a bit longer at 2.9 km. This loop also features the lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is flat with lots of shade. It’s a great place to go for a walk, jog, or bike ride. There is an area for picnics by the lake where you can take a rest after your exercise. This trail is often used for hiking, walking, running, and biking. There is limited parking in the area, so be prepared to walk to the trail.
Salmonberry, Yellow Arum, Douglas Fir and Hemlock Loop
If you are looking for a longer trail in Green Timbers, you will find the Salmonberry, Yellow Arum, Douglas Fir and Hemlock Loop. This is a 5.6-km loop. As the name implies there are beautiful trees along this hike. The trail is acceptable for all levels, though it is a bit longer so it’s best to prepare ahead. The trail is popular for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips. In certain spots the trail comes close to the road, and some areas can be waterlogged at times, but it’s an enjoyable walk all the same.
Hawthorne Park Loop
Hawthorne Park Loop is a 1.9-km trail in beautiful Hawthorne Park. There is a lot of nature to take in here including plenty of beautiful wildflowers making this loop a favourite among birdwatchers. Good for all skill levels, this trail is popular for walking, running, and nature trips. Dogs are welcome on this trail but must be on a leash. This area is very popular amongst hikers and runners, for good reason.
Willow, Cedar and Pine Trail
There is one more Green Timbers trail worth mentioning. The Willow, Cedar and Pine Trail is a 2.6-km back trail. The lake is accessible from this trail as well and it is suitable for beginner hikers. This loop is great for a walk or run.
5 ways Affordable Housing will Benefit the City of Surrey
Lack of affordable housing has quickly become one of the largest barriers in preventing homelessness in British Columbia. Having served the Lower Mainland for the past 50 years, Options Community Services and Habitat Housing Society are working to provide safe, affordable rental units for the local community.
Options provides essential social services in Surrey, Delta, White Rock/South Surrey and Langley. Recently, the organization has partnered with 50 local women to help raise $1.5 million in funding for a new affordable housing building in Surrey, BC. The money raised in this partnership will go towards the 100-unit complex at 81st and King George Boulevard. Of these 100 units, 30 will be market rentals, while the remaining 70 will be well below market rates —designated as affordable housing, with rent starting as low as $375 per month. This building and the resources connected to it will make a monumental impact on the community. Here are 5 ways that this building will directly impact Surrey:
1. Additional Resources:
Not only will the affordable housing build feature 100 new rental units, but it will also feature several community services provided by Options. These services include Early Years, special needs services for children and mental health outreach. Having these programs available for tenants in the building will be a bonus for all.
2. Build Relationships:
Whether it’s a social worker or an elementary school teacher, having and maintaining long-lasting relationships is crucial to establishing roots in a community. These networks of support will help at-risk individuals and vulnerable people build stability in their lives and increase their sense of community. Knowing there are people in your neighbourhood that can help support you can be a relief for individuals who do not have friends, family, or any other source of support.
Currently, the housing market is very hot and the number of buyers is outnumbering the available stock. This applies to both home buyers and renters who are looking for affordable places to stay. This building offers 100 brand-new units that are affordable for low-income families. These families otherwise might not have any other options to turn to and be forced to consider unsafe housing conditions. Priced at $375 monthly for a one-bedroom, these homes can change the lives of those who are in need.
4. Increased Safety:
By having a door to lock and a place to call home, the safety and security of the community is enhanced. Far too often, vulnerable peoples are subjected to unsafe conditions or forced to make tough choices. Many of these individuals are women fleeing violence, refugees, displaced seniors, at-risk youth or persons living on a disability income. . Housing such as this will better protect these groups and ensure that they have access to safe, secure and affordable places to live.
5. Job Growth:
The success of our vulnerable community members is a success for us all. In communities with affordable housing, there is often a growth in job opportunities. A study by the New York State Association for Affordable Housing found that affordable housing projects created nearly 330,000 jobs in New York between 2011 and 2015, with many of them being permanent or long-lasting contracts (source). From engineers to health care workers, the growth of a community can directly contribute to an increased demand for workers.
The Women of Options campaign was created to support the build at King George and 81st. More information and a profile on each of the 50 Women of Options can be found at womenofoptions.ca. Community support is vital to ensure its success. To learn more about ways to help or donate, please visit womenofoptions.ca.
Plastic Bag and Foam Takeout Container Ban Planned To Come Into In Effect November 2021
The City of Surrey moves a step closer in eliminating the negative environmental impacts of plastic bags and other single-use Items.
At last night’s Regular Council Meeting, Council approved the Communication and Education Plan to prepare businesses for the ban on plastic bags and foam takeout container and cups, planned to begin in November 2021.
“I’m proud that Surrey is anticipated to be the first city in the Metro Vancouver region to implement a ban on plastic checkout bags,” says Mayor McCallum.
“Council has been leading the way on green initiatives and this step is proof of the measures we are prepared to take to protect and better our environment. This move affirms Surrey’s commitment to reducing landfill waste and pollution created by these types of materials.
In the coming months, we will be working closely with our business community to support them on this very important initiative that is good for our citizens, our communities and our City.”
The City will lead a comprehensive communication and education plan to help businesses phase out and eliminate the use and distribution of plastic checkout bags, foam cups and take-out containers.
The plan outlines key tools, resources and awareness activities which will prepare businesses and the public for the upcoming ban.
The plan will include:
- A business toolkit;
- Virtual information sessions;
- Brochures; and
- Additional engagement activities and resources.
Other municipalities, provinces, and the federal government are making similar commitments to reducing unnecessary waste and pollution caused by short-lived plastics that are designed for limited use with limited recyclability.
For more information on Surrey’s please visit our site.
Surrey Libraries Offers Access to O’Reilly eBooks and Videos
Surrey Libraries is excited to announce the addition of O’Reilly eBooks to its list of online resources. This platform offers over 35,000 eBooks and 30,000 hours of video courses on technology, business, design, science, engineering, travel, hobbies, health and more, all free with a Surrey Libraries card!
O’Reilly has books and videos for makers, gamers and tinkerers. There are more than 100 hobbyist titles including a STEAM Lab for Kids and The Lego Build-It Book, Volumes 1 & 2. More than 900 books from the “For Dummies” series are included, as well as over 150 titles on job-seeking and career development.
The resource also has technology learning paths like SQL Fundamentals – SQL for Data Analysis and Database Design, case studies like “Pinterest’s Journey to the Cloud,” and countless hours of video instruction on topics like Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Linux Fundamentals, or Amazon Web Services.
O’Reilly is one of many online resources Surrey Libraries offers its members. No library card? No problem! Sign up for a card online or visit any one of ten branch locations.
We’re excited to welcome you back to our branches! Check our website for information on hours and available services and what we’re doing to keep everyone safe.
– View All Events –