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Jan. 23rd, 2018

Surrey LRT

 

A rendering of Surrey’s planned LRT line. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Surrey Board of Trade CEO makes case for light rail in a letter to Mayors’ Council chair Derek Corrigan

The Editor,

This is an open letter to Mayor Derek Corrigan, chair of the Mayors’ Council:

I am writing in support of Surrey’s Light Rail Transit project.

In fact, the Surrey Board of Trade would like to see all 27 kilometres of the proposed light rail to be built as soon as is feasible. In our most recent Surrey Road Survey, more than 80 per cent support to strongly support the building of the “City Centre-Guildford-Newton” and over 85 per cent support LRT along Fraser Highway through to Langley City.

Surrey is growing rapidly, and as it grows, the opportunity exists to shape it into a world-class destination in its own right. With nearly 1,000 new residents coming monthly, the need for a vision has never been more necessary. The LRT provides an opportunity to consider how to manage the growth, where to densify, how to move people, and how to create commercial space while achieving an attractive streetscape.

Businesses are on board with creating an economically viable city that is attractive to clients, customers, and employees alike. LRT sparks development along its corridors, a mid-rise, medium density, mixed-use type of development that will attract both families and business to the area while also maintaining affordability.

 

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.

 

We have done our due diligence and read through all available reports. We have had roundtables and panel dialogues. We have had all of our advocacy team members review material and provide feedback (12 teams with over 400 volunteers). We’ve reviewed the number of technology and route alternatives that were examined using multiple metrics to evaluate their effectiveness.

The Surrey Board of Trade has taken the position that the project should be completed in one phase to capitalize on lower construction costs and LRT fleet vehicles, and the simple fact that waiting for phase 2 will unnecessarily delay needed transit through Surrey.

We are concerned that those who oppose LRT in favour of increased buses and a SkyTrain down Fraser Highway are not fully considering what they are saying no to, or conversely what they would be saying yes to, if they in fact succeed to influence decision-makers.

 

Three things we know will occur if there is no support for LRT:

  • Increasing B-line buses will very quickly increase congestion on those routes as more and more would be required to move commuters, but they would still not be sufficient to meet anticipated future population growth as quickly as the LRT on its dedicated lanes — and within 10-15 years would need to be replaced with LRT to meet the demand.
  • The cost of the Surrey-Langley line is nearly a billion dollars more to build SkyTrain than LRT, money that can be spent elsewhere on needed infrastructure and services.
  • The ability to quickly adapt to growing town centres and expand the system through the large Surrey geography will be severely compromised by putting all available and future funding into one option.




We have observed that where the SkyTrain has gone, it encourages development only around the station, not along the line. The stations are relatively far apart and the ability for riders to view commercial options is minimized. The purpose would be to move people from one far distant point into the City of Vancouver Hub.

As it turns out, this is not necessary. Over 70 per cent of our survey respondents like to work and live south of the Fraser; and LRT encourages that liveability by also promoting affordable housing strategies along existing corridors.

Although the Pattullo Bridge and other crossings need to be improved to accommodate commuters, more are staying South of the river. Over 50 per cent live and work in Surrey, unchanged from 2016, and an additional 24 per cent commute into Surrey for employment.

Our businesses and our residents deserve a system that encourages growth along the corridors, the creation of liveable streetscapes, and the flexibility to add stops as required with the minimum of cost and disruption in the future — as well as extending the lines to loop through the city as it ought to be. We need a system that moves people around Surrey and South Fraser, with links to cross the river where appropriate to minimize congestion on river crossings.

With over 400 LRT systems worldwide, we know that this is a system that has proved itself many times over. We anticipate TransLink to release its business case very soon, so that all can likewise be assured of the value of the LRT and not rely on out-dated documents to put forward erroneous positions in the media.

We have determined that Surrey is the destination, not a thoroughfare to somewhere else. The demand for more transit increases annually, as reflected on our own surveys. Surrey is becoming the hub of the south Fraser Region. Businesses are moving here. People are moving here.



It makes no sense to build a system that by-passes the opportunity to develop and grow a city of our choosing to meet our own vision.

Without doubt, the LRT is the best system, dollar for dollar, for Surrey and South of Fraser. The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce has also indicated their support of the Light Rail Transit transportation system, which includes the Fraser Highway line.

Anita Huberman is CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.

 

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Is Fraser Valley the next big market in the B.C. housing sector?

 

 

Latest numbers from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) revealed that B.C.’s southwestern region has experienced significant home price growth in February, indicating a possible companion to the red-hot Vancouver market in the near future. Last week, the Board revealed that the benchmark price for a single-family property in the Valley increased by 20.4 per cent year-over-year and 0.4 per cent compared to January, hitting $859,300.

 

 

 

 

“This is the kind of February we like to see. Last year at this time, the incredible demand created a market that was difficult for consumers,”

according to FVREB president Gopal Sahota, as quoted by CBC News.

 

 

“Now, we have sales moving upward from the winter months at a typical, healthy pace and a growing inventory to support it,”
Sahota stated, adding that the numbers are so far showing a “return to normal historical sales numbers.” Apartment prices also rose sharply by 26 per cent compared to February 2016 and 1.8 per cent month-over-month, up to $267,000. Meanwhile, average townhome costs grew by 25 per cent year-over-year and 0.5 per cent since January, reaching $422,400. Recently, Finance Minister Bill Morneau assured that the federal government is still closely monitoring the Canadian housing market, amid seemingly inexorable price growth in Vancouver and Toronto. 

 

“We continue to be very focused on thinking about how we can manage what is peoples’ most significant investment. And we do watch the level of indebtedness, in particular around housing,” Morneau stated, adding that “strong underlying markets” continue to drive the two cities’ outsized performance.  “So in Toronto and Vancouver, unemployment is lower in those two places than it is in some other places. Incomes are higher. The economy is doing better. So there are underlying reasons for the housing markets to do better and we’ll continue to monitor, to work with provinces and municipalities who have an important role to play here to manage what we see [as] a challenge, but not one that isn’t manageable.”

 

 

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Renee Bernard
Posted Apr 22, 2016 9:44 pm PDT

 

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – The Surrey Board of Education is making an unusual move in dealing with overcrowded schools.

Trustees are asking the city to temporarily halt new development in three neighbourhoods.

“At the moment we are in a crisis. This is the worst I have ever seen it on the board,” says Laurae McNally, a 30-year veteran of the board, who spearheaded the motion directed at the city.

The board wants the city to “temporarily suspend all new development approvals in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey and South Newton regions until the Surrey School District receives adequate provincial capital funding to support the many new students in these regions.”



“We have 275 classroom portables, which we have to pay for out our operating budget. We have four high schools on extended days,” McNally explains.

Plus, a couple of schools need to run five kindergarten classes to meet demand.

“The $4 million a year that the portables cost us is the equivalent of 50 teachers that we could put in our system.”

She says teachers, students and parents have been very patient but they are getting very tired of the situation.

“Everybody wants to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

 


 

Earlier in the school year we had the opportunity to experience one of the Semiahmoo Music Society's various concerts. While we had heard great things about the school music program, we were blown away...

 

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Continuing low interest rates and a healthy stream of newcomers will ensure the good times keep rolling in 2015

BY BARBARA YAFFE, VANCOUVER SUN COLUMNIST JANUARY 26, 2015


 

 

Barbara Yaffe: Property developers bullish on Metro Vancouver real estate market

Photograph by: ian lindsay , Vancouver Sun

 


Residential construction, and densification, in the Lower Mainland will keep rolling along in 2015.



VANCOUVER — Continuing low interest rates and a healthy stream of newcomers will ensure the good times keep rolling in 2015 for the Lower Mainland’s property development industry. But it also means pricing will continue to pose a challenge.

Three of B.C.’s biggest developers used adjectives like “great” and “incredibly positive” as they delivered a forecast last week to more than 1,100 industry insiders and politicians attending an Urban Development Institute luncheon.

“Vancouver is going to do well, everyone wants to be here,” declared David Negrin, president of Aquilini Development.

He said a recent crackdown on democracy protesters in Hong Kong is likely to enhance Vancouver’s prospects. “We’re very positive on Vancouver, and it’s going to continue for some time.”

Added Neil Chrystal, CEO of Polygon Homes: “We’re picturesque, have a healthy environment, we’re a clean, safe city offering excellent health care and educational opportunities. We are politically stable and close to Asia.



“I see no sign of the residential market slowing down. ... The market will remain balanced and stable in the year ahead.”

B.C. will experience net immigration in 2015 of some 34,600 immigrants and 2,600 provincial migrants, according to research by Mac Marketing Solutions, a company that plans and markets housing projects.

Mac, with offices in Vancouver and Calgary, forecasts that in subsequent years even larger numbers of both immigrants and Canadians will arrive, noting Alberta’s economic slowdown will make heading further west all the more attractive.

So, while a total of 37,200 newcomers are expected this year, the number should grow to 53,200 by 2018.

Combine that trend with low interest rates and a low vacancy rate in the region, and you have a recipe for continuing strong growth in the property development and real estate sectors. Unfortunately, that does not augur well for affordability.

Between 2006 and 2014, benchmark prices for all types of real estate in Metro Vancouver saw significant price jumps, according to Mac research, with the greatest increase — 46 per cent — recorded in Vancouver’s east side. West Vancouver and Vancouver’s west side both saw increases of 41 per cent.

Referencing the retail sector, Kevin Layden, CEO of Wesbild, said North American stores are downsizing as they move online. But even here, Vancouver is well positioned, never having enthusiastically adopted a big-box retail model.

The city has 13 square feet of retail space per capita, compared to a Canadian per capita rate of 19 square feet and the U.S.’s 30 square feet.

Commenting on Vancouver’s affordability crisis, Negrin cited the high cost of land and remarked: “Everyone is frustrated.” The only way to keep prices down is to increase density, he said.

Yet a Demographia study released last week on housing affordability argues density and urban land containment boost housing prices by restricting development of cheaper perimeter lands.

Chrystal argued development is being constrained by an overly complex and time-consuming municipal approval process. At UBC, he reported, the development approval process takes six months, compared to 12 to 30 months elsewhere in the region.



Added Negrin: “We have to find a way to streamline the process. Anything over one year is too long.”

Chrystal pointed to another challenge for Lower Mainland developers — offshore buyers are starting to purchase land for development that he said could lead to oversupply in certain markets.

They are also posing a challenge in terms of what they are prepared to pay for land acquisitions. “They may be parking money from offshore. We can’t compete on price.”

The developers complained of increasing costs for building materials and a stronger U.S. dollar, forcing higher costs. Prices for drywall, windows and steel were cited.

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My neighbour asked me this the other day. It was 3 p.m. and I was checking the mail.

 


-What does a Realtor do all day,


 

He came over and said, “Busy day today, I see. Are we lounging this afternoon again? It must be nice to sell a few houses and make the big bucks and then lounge from home all day.”

 

I smiled and changed the subject. There’s no need to try to convince him otherwise. 

 

Then he said, “What do you really do all day? There are some days that I don’t even see your Jeep leave the driveway. Seriously … what do you do all day?”

I smiled again and explained that I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, on the phone and answering texts. I found myself trying too hard to convince him that I really do work hard, and I work a lot of hours. I ended the conversation and went back inside. No harm, no foul.

His question really got me thinking.

What do Realtors really do all day? 


Time to break out my calendar and explain what I do all day.

Monday: I met with a Mortgage Broker at my office in the morning. He was explaining what products he had to offer. That was followed by a lunch with a Real State Lawyer, a listing appointment that afternoon, and a few showings that evening.
Tuesday: I was sick on the couch (that’s rare!), but I was still able to get up and around by the evening to show view properties. I had to cancel a pretty big real estate webinar that day, though. Bummer.
Wednesday: I blogged a lot and spent a good part of the afternoon working on real estate videos. That evening I showed a home to some seller/buyers, and then showed homes to another buyer. We found the one and will be writing an offer today.
Thursday: Right now it’s 9:17 a.m. I just finished my smoothie, got a great blog idea, and then I’m going for a bike ride. Then I need to schedule three closings for next week followed by another listing appointment tonight. I may try to squeeze nine holes of golf in before my listing presentation tonight.
Friday: More videos during the morning followed by an afternoon of phone calls to past clients. Friday night will consist of me showing a few more homes to yet another buyer client.
Saturday: There’s a possibility that we’ll have a listing appointment followed by dinner with past clients. (See, we work our sphere of influence and past client base to not only say hello and catch up, but to ask for referrals to grow our business.)
Sunday: We have yet another new listing appointment that afternoon. Hopefully, that will end the work week and I can watch some hockey with my boys.

Don’t forget all of the phone calls, texts, and all of the emails we receive throughout the day and evening. Oh, and don’t forget about the interaction on Facebook and all of the other social media sites that bring in business. I do most of that in the evenings.

Oh, and don’t forget that we also touch base with each and every seller on a weekly basis, and our Monthly Newsletter that we take time to prepare, and our mail marketing that we work on weekly, and …

Are you catching my drift here? 

Being two full-time Realtors with a thriving and growing business is more than a full-time job. We don’t clock out as much as we should. We live and breathe real estate almost every day and almost every evening.

Sure, it may look like we have it easy, and to be honest, sometimes I think we do. Doing what you love rarely feels like work.

 

But it is work. 

 

Time for me to log off, go push some weights and hit the cardio, and then get back to my life of leisure, fun in the sun, and my daily massages and mojitos.

 

Or something …


 


 

This was originally posted by our associates, Amanda and Jared Christiansen on ActiveRain. The Christiansens specialize in Fort Wayne, Ind., real estate for Century 21.


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by Alex Browne - Peace Arch News
posted Mar 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM

 

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman says a residential towers and arts amenity project planned for South Surrey will help boost the city's economic development.

 

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman says a residential towers and arts amenity project planned for South Surrey will help boost the city

 

The Surrey Board of Trade has thrown its support behind a controversial two-highrise residential development proposed for South Surrey that includes significant arts amenities – among them a 350-seat theatre and a contemporary arts café/gallery.

 

The development, planned for 152 Street at 19 Avenue by co-developers the Surrey City Development Corporation  and  the Reifel Cooke Group, has met some opposition based on height – the equivalent of 27 storeys in most recently published plans.

CEO Anita Huberman said in a SBOT news release that “artists and cultural spaces are powerful agents of change in the community.

 

“(They) make Surrey a destination not only for local residents but also for the region and the province.”

Huberman said the proposed development would “help create a cultural hub in South Surrey.”

whiterockSemiahmoo_ProposedMixofUses_Large

SBOT’s comprehensive strategic plan, she added, encompasses creating an action plan on how to accelerate the “creative economy” in Surrey – identifying creative industries and noting why they are necessary for economic development.


Related stories:

 

 


“There’s no time like the present to begin talking about strategic investments and initiatives in Surrey that will strengthen our creative industries such as theatre, film, digital animation, the development of galleries both public and private, the inclusion of public art in civic and private developments, and more.”

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