Adaptive Sports Documentary (Part 2)

The final half of my film takes me to Burnaby, where I meet Team BC wheelchair racer Tristan Smyth to accompany him on one of his push exercises. Tristan discusses how he got involved in sports and the direction things are heading in.

Special thanks to Tristan Smyth, Arley McNeney, Tara Cleave and The Running Room in Market Crossing.

Thanks for watching.

Adaptive Sports Documentary (Part 1)

British Columbia is expanding the availability its adaptive sports programs to give more and more people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to get involved in adaptive sports. The first half of my journey begins at one of Surrey’s free wheelchair basketball and tennis ‘Try it’ days, where seasoned pros of the wheelchair sports world are helping to shape the next generation of B.C.’s young athletes.

Special thanks to Tanner and Nadene Jung, Ross MacDonald, Marni Abbott-Peter, Arley McNeney, Tara Cleave, the City of Surrey, the Cloverdale Recreation Centre staff, all the participants in the Jan. 17 ‘Try it’ day event and the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society.

Crime prevention advocates want community court

A local crime prevention group agrees with the NDP’s opinion that Surrey should have its own community court.

Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains recently stated that the city “could have had a community court in place years ago had the Liberal government acted on its commitments.” Karen Reid Sidhu, executive director of the Surrey Crime Prevention Society pointed out some of the benefits of having one.

“Clearly it would speed up the [judicial] process,” said Sidhu. “And speeding up the process would enable earlier intervention.”

Sidhu also underscored the importance of community safety, which could be improved with the addition of a community court.

“Clearly the city is recommending that we move in that direction and they’ve been wanting it for many, many years,” said Sidhu. “So it’s a positive thing in their view and a positive thing in our view.”

Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell said court officials, including former Attorney General Wally Oppal, have gone on record stating that the Vancouver community court has been successful since it opened in 2008.

“No more excuses — it’s time for this government to step up and help make Surrey a safer, healthier community,” said Hammell.

Bains, Hammell and Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston will be hosting a public discussion about the future of Surrey at the Surrey Arts Centre Studio Theatre on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. 

Reactions mixed to BC Hydro rate increases

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It’s no secret; the cost of electricity in B.C. is on the rise

Though the rate increases announced in late November are much lower than those leaked from a BC Hydro Rates Working Group paper in August, which estimated that rates needed to increase by 26.4  per cent in the next two years. many businesses and experts are still wary of the increases.

“The economy is still struggling as are many of our members and increases to electricity rates will be a difficult challenge for many businesses including public institutions,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.  “At the same time we recognize that the aging grid and power generation infrastructure across the province must be addressed.” Continue reading

New bike route being planned for Surrey ‘by no means unique’: more projects planned

family-bikingThe City of Surrey is continuing its expansion of cycling infrastructure with a bike route planned from City Centre to the Port Mann Bridge, but some local residents are concerned about the construction of a new cycling bridge.

The city sent close to 800 letters to local residents living near the proposed route and held an open house on Dec. 2.

“We had about 35 people come to the open house [of which] the majority were in support of the overpass in the range of 60 to 65 per cent,” said transportation planning manager Philip Bellefontaine. “There are people who are concerned and we recognize those concerns.”

The  multi-use pedestrian and cycling only Bon Accord Bridge will connect 109 Avenue between 143A Street and 144 Street. Bellefontaine said most of those opposed live within close proximity to that location.

Bellefontaine identified the route as one of a number of such projects being undertaken by the city

“There’s an ongoing expansion of investment in cycling in Surrey.”

The new route is planned to extend from City Centre to the newly constructed overpass over Highway 1 leading into Fraser Heights.

“We’ve identified this part of Surrey as having real potential for increased cycling. That’s been because our city centre has really started to pick up in terms of development and growth,” said Bellefontaine. “At one end, we had City Centre and at the other end we had this new connection that had been created, so there was a logic to connect these two communities together.”

An ongoing process

Surrey currently has roughly 480km of bike routes, with an additional 12 or so being added each year. The most high profile projects included highway overpasses, such as the one in North Surrey and over Highway 99 in South Surrey.

Bellefontaine acknowledged the fact that Surrey’s large geographical size makes it more difficult for bike travel than cities like Vancouver, but said the city is not worried.

“Cycling is most optimum in that 5km to 10km range. That’s why we see our opportunities for cycling to really pick up in our town centres,” said Bellefontaine. “Our network we’re developing sort of meets both objectives of dealing with those more local trips. I don’t think our geographical size is a barrier in terms of what we plan to do in terms of investment and developing.”

Due to its proximity to the Port Mann Bridge, over 50 per cent of the route construction costs will be funded by the Gateway Project.

For details on other cycling projects in Surrey, click here.

Surrey Tree Lighting Festival returning for its third year

TreeLightingFestivalLogoThe Christmas spirit is coming to Surrey once again. Nov. 23 marks the date of Surrey’s third annual Tree Lighting Festival at the Central City Mall.

The event will be hosted in the Central City Plaza by Mayor Dianne Watts and city council members along with Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost and even Santa himself.

Fun for the whole family

Attractions include free concerts and dance performances, sleigh rides, ice carving, road hockey. Hot dogs, hot chocolate and even ferris wheel rides are available by donation.

Headlining the event will be singer, dancer and actor Victoria Duffield.

“It’s really about community and holiday spirit,” said Kim Heron, City of Surrey Marketing Coordinator. “People are excited to come back year after year.”

Heron said thanks to the support of sponsors, admission is free.

“We attract about 15,000 people over the course of the day to the tree lighting festival, so sponsors are excited to be a part of it,” said Heron. “Because of our sponsorship levels, we’re able to keep this festival fee for the public … so it makes it very community inclusive.”

There will be a free ‘Rudolph Trolley’ to transport attendants back and forth from the City Centre Library, where the Festival of Trees and Storyville events will be taking place.

The festival runs from 12 noon until 8 p.m. and the tree will be up until Jan. 6.

‘Project SWOOP’ aiming to curb dangerous driving

Surrey RCMP are hitting the streets to crack down on risky driving behavior in Surrey’s streets.

Project SWOOP is a Surrey-wide day of enforcement and education, utilizing speed watch volunteers as well as police members from various agencies and auxiliaries. The goals are to educate, inform, prevent and enforce to reduce automobile crimes such as speeding and driving while on a cell phone.

“[Project SWOOP] targets drivers in all areas of Surrey, both in the morning and afternoon, to ensure we reach out to as many drivers as possible,” said Cpl. Bert Paquet.

Today wasn’t the first time the police have done this. June 25 was the last time the initiative was put into action and today won’t be the last.

“No dates have been scheduled yet, but we do see the benefits of this initiative in promoting road safety and plan on doing it again next year,” said Paquet. “Slow down and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to your destination, so you never find yourself in a hurry to get anywhere. The majority of accidents are the result of one or more wrong decisions. Make sure you make the safe one.”

Surrey businesses, residents display mixed emotion to food truck strategy

Food_Truck_in_City_CentreThe City of Surrey held an open house on Nov. 18 at the City Centre Library to discuss plans for a possible food truck program for the city.

The strategy is still in the early planning stages and hasn’t been voted on yet but the City is taking surveys from residents, businesses and food truck vendors to determine possible truck locations and get public input on any problems, issues or concerns about a food truck strategy.

“At this stage we’re just advertising that survey, marketing it to get the feedback of the general public, restaurant owners and operators and also food truck vendors to get their input about what the program should look like,” said project coordinator Sukhi Bahia. “[To determine] what are some of the issues we need to address moving forward so that we can have sort of a hea start on what those issues or problems may be and how to address them and mitigate them before we get going.” Continue reading

12 new police officers planned for in Surrey’s 2014 budget

LOCAL-NEWS-2-rcmp-logo2The City of Surrey’s finance committee will be meeting on Nov. 25 to discuss the 2014 budget proposal. The $763-million budget includes 12 new police officers and 5 additional support staff.

RCMP say they are still determining where the additional officers will be assigned.

“We are a fast growing community and any additional resources are a welcome addition, whatever the number of officers and staff,” said RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet. “Their specific deployments and assignments would be decided in consultation with our crime analysts, team leaders and senior management, based on crime trends at that time.”

Karen Reid Sidhu, executive director of the Surrey Crime Prevention Society said she thinks the 12 new officers will be enough to meet the policing needs of the community.

“There are a number of community agencies that work together with the RCMP and I believe that the individuals who are making these decisions are capable of determining the resources needed for the city itself,” said Sidhu.

Though Paquet was uncertain as to which departments the officers would be delegated in the event that the budget was approved, he did identify general duty officers as being the top priority.

“Front line policing is always the first priority we address. This relates directly to General Duty officers that are on the road, responding to calls for service,” said Paquet. “Once we can confirm that our daily response levels are sufficient, we then look at other specialized or supporting sections. Our decisions are based on enhancing the safety of our community and its residents first.”

DC Fast Charge stations coming to Surrey


Surrey opened up its first DC Fast Charge (DCFC) station for electric vehicles on Nov. 4.

The new station, located near the Surrey Museum in Cloverdale, just off 176 and 56A Ave, has the capability to fully charge an electric vehicle in approximately 30 minutes and is the first one of its kind south of the Fraser River.

Anna Mathewson, sustainability manager for the city of Surrey anticipates the station to be “quite busy.”

“We have already seen quite a bit of use at this Surrey Museum station, including drivers coming up from Washington state,” said Mathewson, who also pointed out the station’s strategic location. “It was located at the crossroads of Highways 10 and 15, in part to address the charging needs of travelers moving both north/south and east/west.”

Continue reading