Surrey Board of Trade Wants a More Strategic Focus for Tourism, Arts & Culture in Surrey’s Economic Development Strategy

SURREY, BC – The Surrey Board of Trade has released its Tourism, Arts & Culture Recommendations to the City of Surrey, asking for a focus on a progressive, strategic tourism, arts and culture infrastructure strategy.

“To ensure Surrey continues to be an opportunity city, an economic development focus on tourism, arts and culture, with a commitment to building or working on needed assets in collaboration with the private sector, is essential to supporting and attracting business and ensuring a sustainable workforce,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The Surrey Board of Trade’s Recommendation Paper explores the following areas:

1.     Surrey as an arts capital

2.     Surrey as a destination

3.     Marketing/branding to businesses/residents

4.     Supporting local artists

5.     Surrey’s music city potential

6.     Capital assets that are needed such as a Performing Arts Centre

“We are building a city of great cultural spaces, but there is still so much more work to do. The creation of new arts and culture infrastructure continues to lag behind population growth. For the next 10 years, it is vitally important that we focus on activating arts and culture infrastructure in all areas of Surrey.”

The Surrey Board of Trade is focusing on building momentum.

The Surrey Board of Trade indicates that municipal investment in arts and culture infrastructure unlocks and leverages much bigger dollars, resulting in the development of anchor spaces, major community arts centres, and incubator spaces.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our history to unleash the power of arts and culture in diversifying our economy and shaping our city’s identity.”

In summary, the recommendations are to:

1. Ensure arts and culture infrastructure reflects demographic changes and population growth.


·  Indoor and outdoor infrastructure priorities meet the needs of our diverse community. The infrastructure must not be attached to public institutions such as schools but should be independent and operated by the arts society.

2.  Infuse neighbourhoods throughout the city with creativity through accessible and vibrant spaces.

·       For Surrey to have suitable arts and culture space that meets their evolving needs in appropriate locations.

·       Creative placemaking includes artists and arts and culture organizations to create vibrant neighbourhoods.

3.  Protect and sustain our current arts and culture infrastructure.

·       Owners/operators of arts and culture infrastructure have sustainable funds to cover operating and maintenance expenses.

·       The use of existing arts and culture infrastructure is financially accessible for Surrey residents and workers.

·       Arts and culture infrastructure to achieve its fullest and best use.

4.  Continue to invest in the creation of new tourism, arts and culture infrastructure, building on what we’ve learned over the past 10 years

·       Government, philanthropic organizations and the private sector continue to invest jointly in needed arts and culture infrastructure in Surrey.

·       Organizations leading capital projects have adequate resources to determine project viability at an early stage of project planning.

·       Municipal funds earmarked for arts and culture infrastructure go toward projects that will fill an identified gap in Surrey’s arts and culture infrastructure, such as infrastructure that supports Indigenous culture, major outdoor events, incubator spaces including all-ages/youth space, live-work spaces and multi-tenant hubs.

·       It may also include infrastructure in underserved areas within the city.

·       Increase awareness in and the ability of bylaw and other municipal mechanisms to encourage the development of cultural space and tourism assets.

Read the full report here