What do community-minded people do on a Wednesday night in Surrey? They attend the Surrey604 premiere launch of their new web series called “The Local” with host David Smith of David Smith Homes and video production by Joseph Kafka of Little Bird Production. It is a video series that introduces interesting local people and their connections to Surrey and surrounding area.
Some of those people were standing in the lobby of the Hollywood 3 cinemas last Wednesday night, munching on the free popcorn and sampling local beer from Trading Post Brewing, waiting for the premiere launch of the series. So who comes to these kinds of parties? Well…
Tyler and Kimberly Deblieck admitted that the free beer was a draw but as friends of the show’s host, David Smith of David Smith Homes, they were also curious to see what he had created.
“I expect to see stories about people that live in the community. I’m curious to see the people around us and their stories and maybe meet some interesting people” said Tyler.
One of the companies that was featured was ElleBox, and two of it’s three founders, Bunny Ghatrora and Taran Ghatrora, had a lot to say about “The Local” and what they were hoping the outcome of being featured on the program would mean to them.
“Each month we ship out organic feminine hygiene comfort products to take care of you during your time of need. We are a small innovative Surrey based company and community is about the small businesses and networking. It’s about shopping local.
We wanted to work with other local Canadian businesses. During our monthly shipment of comfort items that cater to your period symptoms, we feature different local business people each month. It gives them an opportunity to introduce their customer base to our products and our customer base to them so we’re hoping that participating in these community events will do the same thing.”
In this premiere episode of “The Local”, host David Smith talks to Sammy Piccolo from Prado Cafe. We get a tour of the shell of his space at 3 Civic Plaza and his dreams of creating a welcoming and classy space for Surrey’s movers and shakers to meet. One of those movers and shakers, Councillor Vera LeFranc from the City of Surrey was interviewed about the city plans for the area and the amazing opportunities the city offers.
A large portion of the new building welcomes tenants, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Dr. Sal Ferreras was on hand to explain the vision KPU has for it’s student body and for it’s participation in the community of Surrey. The program rounded off with comments by Norm Laube the Surrey City Development Corporation and a number of representatives from the developer, Century Group. They love to talk about the energy efficiency of the building and how using energy exchange is in keeping with the green energy targets set by the city. The development is proving to be a landmark in the city and a true community hub.
The buzzword of the evening was community and connection. Jane Stark, a contractor in the tourism sector described community as “A sense of belonging, knowing that you have a whole set of troops rallying behind you whatever you decide to do.”
Kristin Bishop, Director of Sales at The Civic Hotel described community as collaboration, rallying together, being stronger together.
Host David Smith explained his vision for “The Local” as a way for people to learn about the people in their community. It is his hope that people will begin to recognize people from the show and stop in and introduce themselves.
“We have an isolation crisis here and that is causing health problems. We need to develop more community and connections. We need to know who our neighbours are. There’s seasonality to life in the Pacific Northwest that’s really difficult to overcome this, the summer is phenomenal for meeting people but in the winter everybody shuts themselves inside their house.
We need to have more opportunities and places for people to connect, whether it’s the library or a local cafe or any place that families can go. This show is about pointing the lens on community opportunities and community builders.”
Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian knows all about community. Surrey’s many libraries are hubs for community gatherings. “Community is really knowing one another and getting together for things like this premiere event”
Also attending the premiere event was Mayor Linda Hepner. As the mayor of the fastest growing city in North America, she had a strong sense of the challenges in building community when we are so spread out. With four city centres, a transit plan was needed to connect our people to one another. The newly announced LRT will be her legacy project, fulfilling her campaign promise to bring rapid transit to Surrey.
“Community is the sense of feeling connected, that you belong, that you know who your neighbours are, that you care about where you’re living, that you care about what’s going on in your community and that you connect with people. It really is all about connection,” says Mayor Hepner.
And connect we did. The evening introduced us to Jamey MacDonald who runs New Hope, and Lance Verhoeff, who is the owner of Trading Post Brewing. New Hope is an immigrant support agency assisting in the settlement of Syrian refugees; so if you have some time and want to help, check out the next episode to find out more. Lance Verhoeff will introduce you to some good food and some excellent local craft beer. You will have to watch his episode to find out more. In each episode we meet another Surrey community builder and learn why they chose Surrey or what they do for Surrey and ways that we can get involved.
Someone who knows a lot about community is Philip Aguirre, owner of the Old Surrey Restaurant and the president of the Newton Business Improvement Association.
“ Community means the people that live in it, the people that are shopping, the people that are talking and the people that are coming together. It’s everything from the businesses to residential. Community is everybody coming together to talk about what is good and bad and what needs to be done. It is about continuing to build. It’s not a destination; it is an every day event. We need to be proactive and get in there and start talking.”
His friend and fellow premiere attendee, David Dalley, had a different take on community.
“I would add a story perspective to it and say that community is where our stories connect and intersect. We all have our individual stories about our work lives and our home lives but the more our stories overlap, the more we become part of each other’s stories. Community is a space where you can unite.”
Host David Smith says that community is about legitimate connections, real genuine connections to the people that live next to us.
“It’s about people knowing my name and me knowing theirs. I want them to know elements of my life and about their lives. In Surrey, diversity and multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic means everybody learning from each other and leveraging each other’s strengths. “
Community is about getting involved. If you need a better connection to your community, check out all the things you can get involved with. Come out and meet some new people, talk about the things you would like to see in Surrey, meet your neighbours, be part of the solutions.
Put down your remote control and step away from the TV. Welcome to Surrey, this is a community of great people. Let us introduce you to them.
Next time, let’s put you in the picture. Come meet your community. We are a friendly and welcoming bunch. Get to know our neighbours. Come and get to know us.
Surrey604’s The Local Season 1 Trailer
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Did I miss your favorite one? Comment below. Where do you like to meet your community?
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