The DSBIA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of local business people and property owners. Board members formulate and oversee implementation of policies consistent with the purpose of the Downtown Surrey BIA. At the Annual General Meeting held Thursday February 19, 2015, the following members were elected to the Board:

James Stewart (Chair)

Partner at Hamilton Duncan Armstrong & Stewart Law Corporation

For over 30 years, James Stewart has been an integral part of the transformation and evolution of a city he has served, lived in, and loved.

A senior partner since 1983 with the City Centre business and litigation firm of Hamilton Duncan Armstrong & Stewart Law Corporation, he specializes in land development, business law, real estate, wills, and estates. His expertise in residential and commercial real estate development business operations, often from land acquisition and development through to sale, has placed him at the leading edge of numerous local and regional projects.

His law firm was a founding business member of the BIA and he has served on the board for several years as a director, vice president, and current president.

Stewart’s commitment to service won him the 2010 Surrey Community Leader of the Year award, honouring his contributions to furthering business, education, sustainability and wellness. Such contributions and involvement include: the City of Surrey Environmental Advisory Committee, 2012 BC Summer Games, Surrey Board of Trade, Centre for Child Development, and Chair of the SFU Surrey Community Advisory Council.

“This is a very unique and exciting time in Surrey’s evolution. Surrey is a great place to be and the huge influx of families and businesses and flourishing communities proves that. It’s important that everyone contribute to a legacy of an interesting, well-thought-out, sustainable community; to be part of its vision, leadership and sense of possibilities.

Andrew Westlund

President, Westlund Group of Companies

A corporate team builder, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Andrew brings his drive and sense of adventure to all facets of his life. Living by his “Work hard, play hard” motto, he encourages his hundreds of employees to dream big and follow their vision. From his leading edge, twelve-location APEX Wireless Communications, to THE AGENCY Media Group to SKY Helicopters, resorts and outdoor adventures, Andrew has been creating and running businesses from his North Surrey location for over 25 years.

Besides his dynamic business and family life, Andrew engages in “adventures with purpose,” visiting over 40 countries, indulging his passions in aviation, motocross and long distance cycling, sustainable city life, and volunteering to improve the lives of disadvantaged people.

“I want to do my part and give back to this community through my input with the BIA as a business owner. We are so marketable, so ready to do business and it’s our time to shine on the world stage.”


Bill Rempel  (Board Treasurer, Finance and Audit Committee Chair)

Vice President & General Manager, Blackwood Partners Management Corp., Central City

After receiving his CGA designation in 1988, Bill has spent over 25 years building a phenomenal real estate portfolio. Upon completion of his BOMI Canada RPA and Queens University leadership education, Rempel joined the Downtown Surrey’s Central City in 2010. Committed to sustainability and ‘green’ business buildings, Bill implemented innovative strategies at Central City in social media, reduced hydro consumption and state-of-the-art security technology and safety practices. His numerous business and community-related board positions include: President of the Downtown Vancouver BIA, Burnaby Board of Trade President, International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) provincial chair, BC Shopping Centre Association Treasurer/Director, and RCMP Advisory Council.

To honour his community contributions he has been awarded the Certified General Accountants Community Service Award for British Columbia and named Business Person of the Year by the Surrey Board of Trade. Deeply committed to community and his family, he has been a local resident for over 30 years. Bill  looks forward to continuing to be part of the process during a very exciting period in Surrey’s development.


Charan Sethi
Founder & President, Tien Sher Group of Companies

Charan Sethi laid the foundations of his highly successful development career during twenty-two years as one of Metro Vancouver’s top realtors.

Since immigrating from India in 1978, this visionary former machinist, turned real estate development entrepreneur, heads his large-scale land development venture throughout Metro Vancouver, creating varied commercial properties and over 1,400 residential units.

Sethi has two large land holdings in City Centre. He owns the City Centre Quattro tower project, which will bring 5,000 new residents into the community as well as a second four-tower commercial and residential project under development in the Flamingo block. Sethi also has a deep commitment to his new community, contributing to many community events, projects and fundraisers, such as Movie Under the Stars, Surrey Christmas Bureau and the Quattro Street Fair.

“The City is so receptive to new ideas and development and is working closely with us to build the downtown area and create a brand new neighbourhood that benefits everybody.”

David Halkett (Safety Committee Co-Chair)

Lawyer, Partner, McQuarrie Hunter LLP

An associate and partner in McQuarrie Hunter since 2003, David brings a wealth of legal, commerce and directorial experience to the board. Specializing in family law for the past 20 years, he is a member of several professional associations, authored a chapter in the British Columbia Family Practice Manual and is a past president of the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce.

He provides legal seminars to a variety of social organizations, served on several chambers of commerce, and co-founded two BIA’s in Vancouver. He is also Chair of Social Media Committee at McQuarrie Hunter and an instructor at Vancouver Community College. An experienced lobbyist, David has served on the DSBIA board for six years and on the Safety Committee for five years, focusing on civic government relations.

“Promoting the downtown of Surrey as a place to live, work and play is very important and conducive to business.”


David Pel CGA (2nd Vice President)

Owner, David Pel & Company Inc.

Lauded as the top one percent of CGA graduates in Canada in 1983, David Pel opened his thriving City Centre accounting practice, David Pel & Company, in 1991. David joined the Whalley BIA in 2001 in the second wave of foundation members and has always believed that real change in City Centre can only be affected by commercial development.

Currently the Finance Committee chair, he has served on the board since its inception in 2003, functioning as Treasurer, Vice-president, Finance Committee Member, and Membership Community liaison person. David also serves his community on the SFU Advisory Board and as Treasurer of Classis and the Ministry of Seafarers for over 12 years.

“I got involved to be a part of social change here. I saw that joining the BIA was an opportunity to affect that change – to encourage business to move here instead of away from. I think the BIA has done great work.”

Elfie Stumpf (Safety Committee Co-Chair)

Licensed Optician, Whalley Optical Centre Ltd.

Along with countless other community activities, Elfie co-founded the Whalley BIA in 2000 and has served as board secretary in the past and currently as the Safety Committee Co-Chair. Her service to the community, its business sector and the DSBIA is a lifelong commitment.

A licensed optician, Elfie is co-owner and operator of Whalley Optical in City Centre, a family business for nearly thirty years. Elfie says is most proud of the Safety and Security Committee’s Mobile Patrol work, which she chairs. Acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community, program volunteers patrol local businesses and public areas and report any concerns and suggestions to the BIA office.

“I’m committed to helping people be accountable and the best community members possible. As a proud owner of a small business I enjoy working in this wonderful community full of diverse families that have lived here a long time. There is a lot of history here and we should be proud of it. As a director, I have met countless business people of small and large businesses who all have their own views about how to help the BIA area grow.”

Glenda Sawatzky

Vice President, Property Management Western Canada, Dream Realty

A founding member of the Whalley Business Improvement Association Society, now the Downtown Surrey BIA, Glenda has been a key player in commercial real estate for 25 years. She has overseen Dundee’s Western Canada operations from Station Tower since 1997, a flagship asset of a one billion dollar portfolio.

She believes that creating a major business hub south of the Fraser River is important to the overall region’s growth, sustainability, and livability. Providing Surrey residents and others with the opportunity to work, live and play in Surrey’s downtown is critical. Professionally and personally, she has a keen understanding of the issues facing Surrey and its downtown core.

“We have an opportunity to create a place that we can all be proud of and it’s exciting to be part of this. One can really feel the momentum continuing to grow.”

Joanne curry headshot 2014

Joanne Curry (1st Vice-President)

Simon Fraser University

Joanne is Dean of Life-Long Learning for SFU. Until 2013, she was posted at SFU Surrey campus where she worked for 12 years as the founding executive director.  Prior to joining SFU, Joanne also held positions in the banking, consulting and biotechnology sectors and was an Executive Director of a national research centre of excellence.

She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba and a Masters of Business Administration degree from SFU. Joanne has been a director with the BIA since 2005 and is on the Government Relations committee.  She has also chaired the Communications committee and Nominating committee.

Kelly Botchar ~ Marketing Committee Chair
Branch Manager, Personal Financial Planner, ScotiaBank.

For over 30 years, Kelly had provided financial and banking expertise to the communities of Surrey and White Rock, through the Scotiabank. As long-time manager and a personal financial planner at the Scotiabank branch at King George & 102 Avenue, she has actively contributed to the DSBIA board for over six years as a member of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Marketing Committee.

Through the Scotiabank, she has actively participated in numerous fundraising events for various local charities, including the Surrey Food Bank and the BC Cancer Foundation. She also is on a community advisory council for the BC Cancer Foundation.

A Surrey resident for nearly 40 years, she has seen many positive changes in the city’s diverse communities and envisions a dynamic future for Surrey.

“Working in conjunction with the BIA board and its other committees, I look forward to continuing to promote Downtown Surrey for all the residents, investors and stakeholders to live, work and play in the area.”

Larry Fisher ~ Economic Development Committee
Founder & President, The Lark Group

Now a cornerstone of City Centre, Larry Fisher and his family-owned and operated company The Lark Group have been developing, managing and constructing urban projects throughout Surrey, the Lower Mainland, and as far as Quebec for over 40 years.

Originally focused on mobile home projects, their meteoric growth soon included industrial, commercial works and joint ventures. With over 100 employees, $20 million annually in construction, and over a half-million sq ft of management property, they have further diversified into shopping centres, hockey rinks and hotels. Their twelve-floor, 180,000 square foot professional tower in downtown Surrey houses their new head office and other companies as part of a power nucleus attracting significant businesses to downtown Surrey.

“We are very proud of being a catalyst for the southern end of the phenomenal Innovation Boulevard and look forward to moving forward with the BIA, and its board to bring the City to the next level. You don’t have to struggle to make positive changes here and Surrey is in an excellent position to draw business.”

Michael McNaughtMichael McNaught – Area Enhancement Co-chair

Stantec,  Principal and Architect AIBC MRAIC

Michael is a new design and strategic development leader, with expertise in synergies between Urban Development, Healthy Living and Life Long Learning, for Stantec Architecture.

His recent award winning projects are the New Cloverdale Recreation & Senior Centre, SFU School for Contemporary Arts and the LEED Gold, Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower. The community design strategy for the Hospital was widely accepted and was developed using a successful ‘3 Levels of Community Care Strategy – City Care, Campus Care & Personal Care.

His dedication to overseeing projects throughout all stages has allowed Michael to build strong client relationships, convincing business cases, and lead the design team to create exceptional forward thinking award winning projects that inspire people.

Michael Wilson ~  Area Enhancement Co-chair
Executive Director, Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society

Michael is the founder and Executive Director of the thirty-million-dollar Phoenix Society which offers integrated addiction services and new hope to people with addictions. With an MA and a PhD in Human and Organizational Development in progress, he helped grow a grassroots social support system for twenty years into its current ground-breaking form.

In partnership with University College and Kwantlen Polytech University, Phoenix also provides education and employment services along with a phenomenal scope of services to support the mind, body and soul. The Society has been honoured with the Surrey Board of Trade’s Business Excellence Award and a VanCity award.

With passionate interest in community development, urban planning, co-operative economy, social housing, workforce development, poverty reduction and social inclusion, he participates in several professional groups, community committees and task forces on health, housing, crime reduction and education.

“I’m very excited by the work in Surrey Central and Surrey as a whole. Government partnerships at all levels and the proper alignment of stimulus dollars to this area, is key to the development of City Centre and creating synergies for investment in an emerging infrastructure.”

Robert Dominick (Past President)

Vice President Development, WestStone Group; President & CEO, Lightyear Digital Theatre (Canada) Ltd.

First as a major force in residential real estate development and then as BIA board President, Robert has lent his considerable voice and expertise to the evolution of City Centre.

The WestStone Group is building the $1-billion West Village development, ultimately comprising of some 2,800 homes in Surrey City Centre. He also heads a leading-edge digital theatre company based in Beverly Hills and Downtown Surrey which donated a world-class 200-seat digital theatre system to the SFU Surrey Campus.

Robert is Chair of the DSBIA Economic Development Committee. He is a strong advocate and tireless supporter of the community and the exceptional investment potential of Downtown Surrey as it steps onto the world stage as the next great metropolitan centre of the Lower Mainland.


Soleman Hashmi
Hashmi Law


Wolfgang Degemann ~  Finance Committee
Founder & Business Consultant, Eurocan Industries

For over fifty years, this extraordinary businessman and visionary is the quintessential immigrant success story. From labourer to restaurateur to developer to business mentor, he continues to balance phenomenal success with commitment to culture and community. A co-founder of the Langley BIA, Wolfgang has built a business legacy in large-scale construction and business/real estate development, consulting and liaising with top international financial and business institutions. He was instrumental in Whistler’s early development and in bringing Vancouver’s Expo 86 to fruition.

City Centre has been his family home and business location for decades, with his new 10,000 square foot Eurocan offices and residential complex providing a wealth of professional services for business owners.

Now semi-retired from his family business, he is a major supporter of local business development through his world-wide contacts and is currently working on creating a European Cultural Centre in the Fraser Valley.

“I am very proud to work closely with all parts of the community, the BIA and RCMP to help transform the neighbourhood and make downtown Surrey a major business centre and economic force.”


Bruce Hayne  (Ex-Officio Director)

Councillor, City of Surrey