More than 200 people turned out to Fleetwood Park Secondary Wednesday for a community forum on Surrey's efforts to assist Syrian refugees to settle in.

Forum on refugee efforts draws 200

Surrey 'well-positioned' to meet role in settling Syrian refugees: Villeneuve

A forum to share information on what Surrey is doing to help settle Syrian refugees in the city drew more than 200 people to Fleetwood Park Secondary Wednesday evening.

The event, Coun. Judy Villeneuve told Peace Arch News, was organized to address questions surrounding the city and school district’s ability to manage the influx of new immigrants, along with interest from the community on how they can get involved.

“We had so many people coming forward asking how they could help,” Villeneuve said.

Last month, it was estimated that as many as 800 refugees could end up living in Surrey, as part of the federal government’s commitment to settle 25,000 across the country before March.

The city has so far permanently settled 32 sponsored refugees, Villeneuve said, and everyone “feels positive… we’ll be able to meet our role.”

Villeneuve said Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy spoke Wednesday of a need to break down stereotypes around refugees, “and the fact there was no security threats.”

She said another challenge is finding housing for the new arrivals, noting it’s not uncommon for the families to include four or five children, she said.

Efforts undertaken to help ease their settlement include arranging space in the city’s libraries for such things as welcoming and childcare; along with opportunities for daytime use of the pools and rec centres.

Noting Surrey’s population is already diverse, Villeneuve said an exercise at the forum highlighted the role immigration has had in the city’s history. Attendees were asked to stand if they were immigrants themselves; those still seated were then asked to rise if their parents or grandparents had moved here.

By the end, “almost the entire room was standing,” Villeneuve said.

“We realized that Canada is really built on immigration.”

In addition to Fordy and Villeneuve, speakers at the forum included Mayor Linda Hepner, Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk, Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender and Chris Friesen of the Immigrant Services Society of B.C.

 

Just Posted

Province to pass $1.25-million repair bill for South Surrey overpass on to ICBC

152 Street overpass was struck by overheight truck on Dec. 4, 2017

Ex-Mountie who investigated ‘Surrey six’ murders gets conditional sentence

Derek Brassington pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday

How fallen Surrey Mountie’s Stetson ended up in Europe puzzles police

Constable Terry Draginda’s hat is repatriated after being found at a flea market in Hamburg, Germany

Delta considering extending tax freeze, fee waiver for developers on Scott Road

The incentives are aimed at creating more diverse development in the area, says Delta’s city manager

Surrey social justice activist wins Sher Vancouver’s Youth Leadership Award

Shilpa Narayan says her work is about ‘ensuring a safe space’ for marginalized youth

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read