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SURREY BUDGET: Here are some highlights in the city’s budget

Council holding a finance committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 22
Surrey Police Service officers gave demonstrations of different tactics at their training facility. That facility is part of the City of Surrey’s 2022 budget to retrofit the location for training purposes. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

The City of Surrey released its Five-Year (2022-2026) Financial Plan Friday (Dec. 17) ahead of a public meeting next week.

READ ALSO: Surrey releases 2022 budget days before consultation, vote, Dec. 18, 2021

The 65-page document will be discussed during a finance committee meeting at city hall on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 11 a.m., with council most likely considering final vote on Dec. 24.

Mayor Doug McCallum, and his Safe Surrey Coalition majority, have received criticism for the last-minute document and subsequent consultation process and final vote.

READ ALSO: Councillor slams Surrey’s ‘last-minute’ budget consultation, Dec. 17, 2021

A release from the City of Surrey late Friday touts that “for the fourth consecutive year, the proposed average property tax rate has been set at 2.9%.”

The report states a “property tax rate increase of approximately $63 for the average assessed single-family dwelling that will predominately be used to offset increased public safety resourcing and expenditures.”

However, earlier this year, many residents and businesses were shocked to find out their property tax hike was far greater than the promised 2.9 per cent.

READ ALSO: Huge increases in property taxes gobsmack Surrey business owners, June 7, 2021

READ ALSO: Surrey residents criticize ‘smoke-and-mirrors’ property tax hike, June 8, 2021

Meanwhile, the 2022-2026 budget includes a number of new projects touted by the city, including a police training facility, a third field hockey turf and change room at Tamanawis Park, Crescent Park pickleball courts, Fleetwood fire hall #6 relocation, a bus layover facility, new park washrooms, park improvements, disc golf at Port Mann Park and site development for a future sport facility.

Here are some of the highlights from those new projects.

A police training facility - $4 million

The report states the Surrey Police Service requires a facility to host police training, including an indoor firearms range, classrooms and other reality-based training spaces.

Currently, the SPS is running its training facility out of the city-owned Surrey Operations Centre at 148 Street and 66 Avenue.

READ ALSO: Surrey Police Service training facility readying officers for November deployment, Oct. 29, 2021

The report notes the location will be retrofitted to accommodate the training, with the facility upgrades expected to be completed in phases. The first phase would be for firearms training.

Surrey Police Service capital and transition requirements - $63.7 million

The report notes the city’s policing transition department continues to plan and procure “one-time investments to replace key components of the existing Surrey RCMP infrastructure and equipment.”

That includes information and technology equipment , uniforms, office equipment and fleet transition costs.

The first SPS officers were officially deployed at the end of November, working alongside the Surrey RCMP.

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP, Surrey Police Service officers now patrolling together, Nov. 30, 2021

Fleetwood fire hall #6 relocation - $14.25 million

This is related to the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension.

Currently located at 9049 152 St., the budget notes the funding will go toward the construction of the relocated fire hall “to accommodate the anticipated growth in Fleetwood, along the Surrey Langley Skytrain line.”

The report does not indicate where it could be relocated.

Bus layover facility - $10.2 million

The City of Surrey has been planning a “Centre Block” development at the site of the now-defunct North Surrey Recreation Centre.

READ ALSO: North Surrey rec centre doors will close for good this weekend, Dec. 18, 2019

Previously, a June 2019 report to Surrey city council detailed plans to decommission and eventually demolish the aging building. The city plans to replace the building with a mixed-use “Centre Block” development that would radically change the look of the area, adjacent to Surrey Central SkyTrain station.

According to the 2022 budget, to advance that development, the city is working to construct a new bus layover facility just west of University Boulevard.

That would then allow for the Surrey Central bus exchange to be decommissioned “and provide the City the ability to acquire a portion of this currently encumbered land and incorporate it into the Centre Block development application.”

Interactive Art Museum - $15 million for 2024-25; $60 million total)

Located in City Centre, the 2022 budget details this “first world-class facility in Surrey and a major attraction in City Centre.”

The Interactive Art Museum (iAM) would feature creative spaces for learning, such as a TechLab, MakerSpace, art exhibition spaces, a performance hall and outdoor space for creative temporary projects.

The report notes it would be a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility, but doesn’t say where it would be located.

While the total project is expected to cost $60 million, the report notes the first $15 million in initial funding would be allocated across 2024 and 2025 to begin work on this concept.

The full budget can be found here.

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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