Surrey’s Community Climate Action Strategy: A big step towards sustainability

SurreyCityCentreDaytimeIn November, Surrey city council will be voting on the community climate action strategy, which aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

What is the community climate action strategy?

The strategy consists of two plans: the community energy and emissions plan and the climate adaptation strategy. The plan is still in the draft stages, but City officials say they have been working closely with various organizations and members of the community to produce and edit the plan.

“We’ve had a lot of engagement with businesses and non-profits and so on throughout the process,” said sustainability manager Anna Mathewson. “We’re getting some minor edits and minor comments, but [the public is] generally very supportive of the draft.”

The community climate action strategy is one of the first major steps taken by the city since it became a signatory to B.C.’s Climate Action Charter in 2007.

In September 2008, Surrey city council adopted the Sustainability Charter, which set a framework for a “long-term 50-year vision for a sustainable city”.

Areas of focus

The main areas the city will be focusing on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are a high-quality rapid transit network, more energy-efficient building standards, bike infrastructure between town centres, a “green car” strategy and building on the city’s Rethink Waste program.

The climate adaptation strategy focuses on six areas: infrastructure, flood management and drainage, ecosystems and natural areas, agriculture and food society, and urban trees and landscaping.

“We kind of have to find some trees that will adapt to that climate change,” said Hedy Dyck, chief operating for the BC Landscape and Nursery Association. “[It will be] hotter in the summer, colder in the winter, with more severe fluctuations in temperature and severe weather acts. We need to find plants that are more resilient.”

The BCLNA is one of the many organizations helping the city shape its plan. Mathewson said in addition to various businesses and private citizens, the Surrey Board of Trade, TransLink, BC Housing, BC Hydro and FortisBC have also been involved in the process.

Fortis BC communications advisor Grace Pickell says the plan involves a framework for the steadily rising building energy standards.

“We offer quite a few incentives to builders and developers to help them make more energy-efficient developments and we also provide more natural gas for transportation in vehicles,” said Pickell. “Those are two examples of strategies they’re looking at that we’ll be involved in.”

Other incentives include rebates for people who install high-efficiency appliances in their homes.


The city is considering a light rail transit system as a green alternative to fossil fuel powered cars. King George Blvd, 104 ave and Fraser Hwy are the three corridors being considered for light rail construction.

To view a corporate report on the community climate action strategy, click here.

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