Surrey’s mayor has delivered her second State of the City address, talking up the city’s economic outlook, but also conceding its reputation for crime takes a hit with every reported gunshot.
There was a lot to talk up; Mayor Linda Hepner told an audience of around 450 business people that Surrey was embracing new TV and film studios, smart technology firms, and new public safety initiatives.
Violent crime down
On that, Hepner says crime is down.
“Unfortunately as good as the latest statistics or the trend might be, we all know that one single shot fired by a gang member shatters our image for public safety, and pushes any otherwise positive news or trend to the back pages of our newspaper.”
The new initiatives include hiring the city’s first Director of Public Safety, and plans to bring in an Integrated Public Safety Strategy. As well, Surrey is getting 16 more RCMP officers.
RCMP stats say that so far this year violent crime in Surrey is down compared to last year.
That’s despite the city seeing its 40th shooting so far this year, and it’s not even halfway through.
But Hepner doesn’t think the rate of violent crime will get worse.
“I think that we’ve had an escalation but we have actually taken eleven people off the streets relative to what we think are related or in an alleged relationship to that very issue, so I’d say we’re making progress.”
Hollywood North expands to Surrey
Hepner revealed Skydance Studios will be building five sound stages at the old Pacific Press building in Newton, saying the studios would bring what she describes as “economic spin-off opportunities”.
“It also speaks to the creative city and reputation that I want to get out there is that we’re building on the arts and the culture in the city as well as technology and innovation within the jobs arena.”
The first project is called Altered Carbon for Netflix. Where better, Hepner quipped, to film a show about a city of the future.