Surrey grows up: City poised to become B.C.’s biggest by 2041

VIDEO: Surrey, B.C.’s boom town. Rumina Daya reports.

Surrey is the fastest-growing city in the province and one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada.

Right now, its population is a close second to Vancouver but it’s expected to become the largest city in B.C. by 2041 with more than 760,000 residents.

To prepare for the influx, the city has been pumping billions of dollars into the future city core called Central City. A spectacular new City Hall and Library have already opened, and more projects are on the way.

The investment is absolutely necessary, says Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.

“When you have a city of half a million people, you need to have an identifiable downtown core,” says Watts. “By doing the investment we did, we leveraged $11 billion of private and public sector funding into this area.”

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But some communities outside the city’s core say they’re being neglected.

The City of Surrey claims $116 million has been spent developing the Newton neighbourhood, but a spokesperson for the community says residents haven’t seen any significant revitalization.

“When they say no neighbourhood has been left behind, does that mean 20 years down the road?” says Doug Elford from the Newton Community Association. “We don’t know but all that I know in Newton is that we are asking for things to happen now.”

VIDEO: New traffic centre keeps Surrey moving. Jas Johal reports

A big challenge that comes with a booming population is how to move everyone around efficiently.

Surrey has just opened a new “real time traffic management centre at the cost of $2.7 million.

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175 intersection cameras have been installed with an eventual plan to have 500 cameras.

The cameras are monitored by a team at City Hall from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Global BC’s Squire Barnes went for a drive with Mayor Dianne Watts to learn more about the big changes in B.C.’s second-largest city.

VIDEO: Politicians in cars getting coffee: Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts

— with files from Rumina Daya and Jas Johal

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