Cultural Diversity and Transportation Key Takeaways From Surrey Business Community Panel Discussion

Expert panel of Surrey business leaders and decision-makers discussed business opportunities and community development in B.C.’s soon to be largest city

July 28, 2020

Surrey, BC: On Thursday, July 23, Business in Vancouver in Partnership with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association (DSBIA) hosted an informative panel discussion with some of Surrey’s most prominent business community members at the forefront of the City’s long-term economic development plans.

The panel, comprised of Bob Rennie, Executive Director of rennie; Garry Begg, MLA for Surrey-Guildford; as well as DSBIA CEO Elizabeth Model, stressed the need for Surrey to continue building upon the strong economic foundation that has been established before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the key topics discussed was the need for a diverse cultural hub similar to Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre that could celebrate the regions Indo-Canadian and Filipino communities, as well as additional long-term incentives to attract developers. These measures, the panel noted, would help ensure that Surrey is able to position itself as a world-class city in the coming years.

The need for sustainable public transportation was also broached, with panelists highlighting that many young people are starting to move away from owning a vehicle to rely on transit or car-sharing services.

“The key to economic development is good transportation, be it light-rail, SkyTrain, bus, cycling lanes – it’s a combination of all of the above,” said DSBIA CEO Elizabeth Model. “The question that’s first and foremost for me is how is transit and the mayor’s council going to get people back to actually using transit instead of their cars. That would be the first step forward.”

The City of Surrey is poised to emerge this generation as British Columbia’s most populous centre, building upon an already diverse and vibrant economic powerhouse. Due to the current challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has now become more crucial than ever for Surrey business leaders to develop new strategies and ensure this positive momentum continues into the future.

“Right now, from January to June, we’re sitting at eight hundred million dollars in building permits for the City of Surrey,” explained Model. “From my standpoint in developing the downtown core, we have everything in place to move ourselves forward. We also have the population and the youth – a third of our population is under the age of 19 and we’re going to be 600,000 people next year.”

To view the panel discussion in its entirety, visit:

For more information about the Downtown Surrey BIA, please visit –

About the Downtown Surrey BIA: In 2001, a core group of concerned business and property owners in Whalley met to discuss issues of concern in their community. This ad hoc group was interested in the Business Improvement Area (BIA) concept and saw this as a promising planning and economic development tool for the area. Since that time, the BIA comprised a vast area of approximately 414 acres in North Surrey. The BIA stretches along the King George Boulevard from 96 to 112 Avenues; and is roughly bounded on the west and east by University Drive and Whalley Boulevard.

From left to right:
– Kirk LaPointe, Moderator
– Elizabeth Model, DSBIA CEO
– Garry Begg, MLA for Surrey-Guildford
– Bob Rennie, Executive Director of rennie