ELECTION: Surrey First commits to creating ‘cultural corridor’

SURREY — Surrey First wants to establish a “cultural corridor” in the city along King George Boulevard, all the way from City Centre to South Surrey.

The slate promises the corridor will become a regional and international tourist destination showing off Surrey’s cultural diversity.

“The cultural corridor allows us to advance opportunities for incubating creativity – whether that’s design studios, art studios, dance studios, anything that engages the creative mind,” said Surrey First’s mayoral contender Linda Hepner.

“We want to make sure we can cluster our cultural groups enough to create a critical mass,” she added.  

A $57.5 million performing arts centre is part of the slate’s cultural platform, funded through a public-private partnership through the Surrey City Development Corporation. It is still subject to senior government levels of funding.

The facility, which is set to have a 1,600 and 250-seat theatre, is currently within the Build Surrey program and doesn’t have a completion date set.

Hepner said the team has been talking about the “creative economy” – aligning business and creativity. She envisions an economic hub, not just a hub of culture and the arts.

Surrey First wants to facilitate the creation of “hybrid organizations” that combine business with community arts, heritage and education groups.  

“We can also do things to leverage opportunities. In some places having difficulty leasing for extended periods of time, they could be used as an incubator for creative business and either become successful enough on their own to stay there, or they will have filled a void.”

Hepner noted one in four children are engaged with creative activities and she hopes to stimulate job creation in the sector for future generations.

The team also commits to $3 million for phase two of the Surrey Museum, to be funded through the Build Surrey framework.

Stops along the proposed cultural corridor include Surrey Centre Stage (in Surrey City Hall), SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology, the new performing arts centre, Holland Park, Surrey Arts Centre gallery, Newton Cultural Centre, artists and cultural hub with studios and shops, KPU’s School of Design, and a 350-seat theatre for a performing arts theatre that is part of a development in South Surrey.

Twitter @amyreid87


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