Surrey city council on a typical five-to-four vote approved a report Monday night concerning the transfer of all of Surrey City Development Corporation’s activities in-house and to appoint two city employees as directors of the new board.
The City of Surrey dissolved the SCDC in June and has taken over all of its assets. It was set up in 2007 under then-mayor Dianne Watt’s watch so Surrey residents could manage their own land assets.
Safe Surrey Coalition’s five council members supported the move, with councillors Linda Annis, Jack Hundial, Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew opposed.
Annis said Monday she would not support “anything to do” with the SCDC being brought in-house. “I have concerns about our lands getting sold,” she said. “I fear that if this comes in house it will diminish and go away.”
Locke she’s spoken with “leading” real estate consultants and city planners and “many of them said that they would never shut down something like SCDC and how much of a benefit it was to this city and it was not prudent or in the best interest of this city to do that.”
Hundial said experts called the SCDC, as it was, “a model to keep.”
“It was also providing us with a revenue stream every year, guaranteed moving forward,” he said.
Councillor Allison Patton spoke in support of the move, saying she’s “very sure” land will not be sold off.
“I was part of a number of the meetings involved with analyzing the SCDC and as they were going through a potential rebranding etcetera,” Patton said. “Even before I was involved at all in this role I heard a number of concerns from the public about the SCDC and its particular perspective and how it was set up so I do think that it is the absolute right thing to do to bring it in house and I’m very sure that we would not be selling off lands – it’s definitely not at all part of the mandate, so I’m very confident that that will not happen.”
Council’s majority voted to appoint Jeff Arason and Vipin Sachdeva as directors of the board effective Nov. 10 and city staff have formed a transition team comprised of Surrey’s general manager, finance, the city solicitor and director, strategic initiatives and corporate reporting to work with the board and staff concerning SCDC’s dissolution, and the transition of its projects, obligations and liabilities to the City of Surrey.
“Staff are working to have Council authorize the transfer of the majority of SCDC’s real estate assets to the City by the end of the year,” a corporate report reads.
“To support this transfer and continue to deliver these projects, additional staffing resources are necessary. As required by legislation, SCDC will be preserved as a legal entity until it no longer has any assets and has satisfied or made adequate provision for all of its liabilities. While some assets will remain with SCDC and their subsidiaries, City staff will manage all items related to these projects and will report to SCDC’s Board, which is recommended to be made up of only City employees beginning January 1, 2021.”