SURREY â€” The City of Surrey has created the "Green Surrey" program, a key piece in the environmental pillar of the city’s Sustainability Charter.
The program is intended to build on existing initiatives and provide new opportunities in the areas of conservation, investment and community engagement.
"Strengthening and expanding our green infrastructure is crucial to maintaining Surrey’s status as one of Canada’s most livable cities," said Coun. Bruce Hayne, chair of the city’s environmental sustainability advisory committee.
There are many projects underway, he said, including district energy in the downtown core, development of an organic biofuel facility in Port Kells and the creation of a research chair in energy systems.
The $65-million biofuel facility will be the largest of its kind in Canada and will be able to process 80,000 metric tonnes of waste per year.
It will be the only fully integrated closedloop waste management system in North America upon its completion in 2015.
Organic waste collected will be processed into fuel and used to power the city’s fleet of waste collection vehicles.
Hayne said the facility will produce more fuel than the city needs for its fleet, and some will be put back on the grid through FortisBC.
And in City Centre, Surrey’s district energy system distributes thermal energy, in the form of steam, heated or cooled water, through a network of pipes to heat, cool and provide hot water for the City Centre Library and the new city hall.
Once completed, it will do so for 3 Civic Plaza, a planned 50-storey mixeduse hotel and residential project, as well as some other towers in the area, said Hayne.
And coming down the pipeline is the city’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (BCS) and a Riparian Area Bylaw.
Hayne said the BCS will be meaningful for the city.
"It lays out a plan of the most sensitive and most high value lands in the city that we want to identify and preserve in perpetuity."
While the city has acquired 725 acres of parkland over the last decade, Hayne said Surrey is looking at a strategy to preserve an additional 2,000 more acres of park land – 1,000 through acquisition and 1,000 through the development process.
"And this isn’t parkland. This is natural land. There’s not going to be any soccer fields on this or anything like that."
Hayne said the city’s Sustainability Charter lays out "very aggressive" carbon reduction targets – 20 per cent by 2020.
He said the city has many initiatives underway to help reach that goal, just one of which has been creating electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city.
There are stations at a variety of Surrey locations, including Surrey Art Gallery, Newton Seniors Centre, Guildford Library and the new city hall.
The city has a fleet of electric vehicles it uses, as well.
"We wanted to bring it all together under one umbrella," Hayne said of the Green Surrey program. "Over the past eight years, we’ve had the Build Surrey program and that has gone into every community in the city with various projects – pools and rec centres and of course the new city hall. We want very much to be able to balance that with our sustainability and green initiatives. We want to have a focus on it."