Please take one minute to view our video with the Mayor of Surrey, B.C., Dianne Watts, who was interviewed at a recent i-CANADA Summit on the importance of community leadership to creating Canada's competitive innovation nation.
In this video, Mayor Watts talks about how we need to have connectivity with each city in order to support excellence areas such as transportation, healthcare and education.
About Mayor Watts
In 2005 Dianne Watts became the first woman elected Mayor in the City of Surrey.
Over the past three years, 119 new RCMP officers have been put on the streets. In addition, 960 grow-ops have been shut down, and 185 drug and derelict houses have been demolished.
Under the leadership of Mayor Dianne Watts, Surrey became the first city in BC to establish a Homelessness and Housing Foundation to tackle homelessness head-on. Mayor Watts is also a strong supporter of the outreach worker program in Surrey that has seen 512 homeless placed in permanent housing over the past two years.
In one of her first decisions as newly elected Mayor, Dianne Watts re-established the Transportation Committee, disbanded by previous Councils, and charged it with developing the first comprehensive Transportation Plan for Surrey in a decade.
Based on developable land Surrey's density is greater than Burnaby's, yet Surrey is underserved in terms of public transit, receiving only 25% of the level of service per person compared to residents of Vancouver.
Mayor Dianne Watts is committed to working for light rail public transit options as an alternative to the more expensive Sky Train system. Translink has estimated the cost of light rail at $27 million per kilometre versus $127 million per kilometre for the Evergreen Line and $233 million for the UBC / Broadway Line.
Mayor Dianne Watts believes that an important part of Surrey's economic development strategy is the ambitious revitalization of City Centre which involves the relocation of City Hall, a new regional library, a new Performing Arts Centre, and, a new museum.
Committed to ensuring that Surrey is an attractive place for new investment and new businesses, Mayor Dianne Watts has worked hard to keep Surrey's property and business taxes the lowest in the region. She also believes that balancing growth, investment and job creation in our community while protecting the environment is the foundation for sustainable cities. During Dianne Watts' term as Mayor, not a single acre of land was removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve for residential, commercial or industrial development.
Mayor Watts is proud that in recent years, Surrey has invested $316 million to acquire 694 acres of parkland, including the 16-acre Kwomais Point Park. She also initiated Surrey's street landscaping and tree planting projects that resulted in Surrey planting 56,000 new trees in Surrey parks and boulevards over the last 3 years. In 2007, this effort was recognized when Surrey won the Green Streets Award for planting the most boulevard trees in Canada.
During her first term as Mayor, Dianne Watts has made openness and transparency at City Hall a key priority. Under Mayor Dianne Watts: Surrey was the first city in BC to enact a Whistleblower Policy to protect employees who report fraud, waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars at City Hall.
Surrey was the first city in BC to require those who are hired to lobby members of Council and City staff on land use issues and other important decisions of Council to register under the City's Lobbyist Registry and disclose the nature of their activities.
In 2001, Mayor Dianne Watts was honoured as the first elected official in the history of Surrey to become an Honorary Firefighter for her work with the Surrey Fire Service.
Her family has owned and operated a manufacturing facility in Surrey for over 30 years and Mayor Dianne Watts and her husband Brian are raising two daughters in Cloverdale.
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