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 28, 2013, the following members were elected to the Board:

James Stewart (Current 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. His three decades of business-directed law in Surrey has touched many different lives and businesses, bringing a deep and broad perspective of its diverse communities.

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. including 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.

“The BIA has a significant role in identifying what changes can be made and what imaginative and innovative programs can be put in place to build Surrey into a vibrant and brand new city. We continue to work hand-in-glove with the City and our other business and community partners.”

                                           Andrew Westlund, Apex Wireless  – Bio in progress


Bill Rempel  (Past Chair) Vice President & General Manager, Blackwood Partners Management Corp., Central City

After 25 years with an award-winning BC real estate portfolio of downtown offices, mega shopping centres and industrial properties, Bill joined Central City in early 2010. His pivotal involvement in the Metrotown development and his CGA, BOMI Canada RPA, and Queens University Leadership education, have been invaluable assets to the business community.

Bill’s numerous business and community-related board positions include Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association President, Burnaby Board of Trade President, International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) provincial chair, BC Shopping Centre Association Treasurer/Director, and RCMP Advisory Council. He sees that many of the challenges and opportunities he worked with in Vancouver and Burnaby are present in downtown Surrey.

As a local resident and equestrian for nearly 30 years, he looks forward to being a part of the process during a very exciting period in Surrey’s development.

Charan Sethi, Tien Sher Group of Companies.

After working as a licensed Machinist in England and BC Charan became first a successful realtor, beginning in 1985 and then added property development beginning in 2001. Since then he has done of single-family and multi-family residential developments and subdivisions in Surrey, Richmond, North Delta and New Westminster, totaling over 1,400 homes. He is a member of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association and the Urban Development Institute. Charan has been a member of the DS BIA’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee for two years. Charan feels that it is important to be involved in the BIA to ensure that the focus and energy required to create a vibrant downtown is maintained.

Cheryl Christensen, (Current Vice Chair) Prospera Credit Union

Currently Cheryl works for Prospera Credit Union as a Branch Manager, Surrey Centre as well as the Regional Manager for Surrey and Vancouver (3 Branches in Surrey & 1 Vancouver). She has 22 years in the Financial Services Industry mainly in the Credit Union System.  She has held almost every positioning the branch but spent most of her career in Management positions.

“As a Board Member I would bring strong business experience, interpersonal and communication skills with a successful track record in leading strong teams.  I have had the pleasure to be involved in The Whalley Festival and Movies Under the Stars and have found the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Centre to be an exciting partner in these events and look forward to working with them in the future.”

David  C. Halkett, McQuarrie Hunter

An associate 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 gives legal seminars to a variety of social organizations, served on several chambers of commerce and co-founded two BIA’s in Vancouver.

An experienced lobbyist, David has served on the board for two years as a Director at Large and on the Safety Committee with a view to civic government relations. Besides legal expertise, he offers an exceptional ability to analyze situations and create the best possible solutions for everyone. A hockey buff, he writes a regular website column for the Montreal Canadiens.

David Pel (current board treasurer) ~ CGA, David Pel & Company Inc.

CGA in 1983 in the top one percent in Canada

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. He has served on the board since its inception in 2003, functioning as Treasurer, Vice-president, Finance Committee member and membership community liaison person. He is most passionate about engaging membership through networking events and introductory sessions for non-member businesses to encourage involvement.

He opened his thriving local accounting practice in 1991 and was soon at work on his legendary garden. David also serves his community on the SFU Advisory Board, and as Treasurer of Classis and the Ministry of Seafarers for over 12 years. Along with economic development he looks forward to continuing positive social change in the city core.

Elfie Stumpf (Secretary), Whalley Optical Centre Ltd.

Elfie is a founding director of the BIA. “I am a proud owner of a small business for the past 19 years and enjoy working in Whalley. Contrary to what people will say this is a 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 and member of the Management committee and chair of the Safety committee and “ 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. The BIA is still growing and always changing.”


Glenda Sawatzky (past president, current board) Vice President, Property Management Western Canada, Dundee Realty

A founding member of the Whalley Business 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.

A Surrey resident for 20 years, Glenda is actively involved in the community through numerous social and athletic organizations and has two children in the Surrey school system. Professionally and personally, she has a keen understanding of the issues facing Surrey and its downtown core.

Why has he put his name forward? “Very simple, I love Surrey and strongly believes that you can’t only take, you also must give back.”

Greg Mitchell ~ PCI Developments Corp., Project Manager & Senior Planner

From Surrey city planner to major developer to BIA board of directors, Greg has come full circle in his commitment to helping build a sustainable, successful and vibrant Surrey. With a significant background and education in urban and regional planning, he specializes in project management, transportation, negotiation, facilitation, community engagement and social media, in both municipal and institutional settings.

He brings a unique cross-section of experience and perspective on growth and change, particularly in Downtown Surrey. During his six years as a Surrey city planner, Greg was instrumental in the City Centre Transit Plan, Sustainability Charter, and City Hall relocation. With PCI Development’s landmark City Centre project, he is a significant contributor to the shaping of Surrey’s downtown. He has always been moved by the tremendous pride in community throughout the city’s diverse neighbourhoods and groups, especially during a time of dramatic and positive change.

He has been involved in global events on planning for disasters and continues his mentorship of future planners with UBC geography students and emerging professionals.

“It’s been a fascinating process watching Surrey evolve over the years, and I am very excited to be working with a city with such a great demographic and location. The board represents an excellent cross-section of perspectives and sectors and seem very passionate about Surrey and its future. Surrey is an easy place to do good work, no matter what the project, and a very good place to do business. I am honoured to be part of this process.”

Jay Redmond (Current Vice president) ~ Lawyer, Campbell Redmond, Barristers & Solicitors

With a BA in Economics and Business from SFU and an LLB (legal degree) from UBC, this born-and-bred Surreyite represents community and small business, bringing its voice to the table for the past four years as a BIA board member and past president.

He has practiced law in Surrey since 1991 and in 1994, along with three partners, built the local property where his offices are still located. Jay has served in numerous charitable organizations including the Surrey Food Bank, Surrey Christmas Bureau, two years as a director on the Surrey Memorial Hospital Board, and is currently an active member of the North Surrey Lions.

Jay sees downtown Surrey becoming the next great commercial centre and believes that with a strong, diversified board, the BIA will be a major change agent and force for local redevelopment and growth.

Joanne Curry, Simon Fraser University – Surrey

Joanne is associate vice-president external relations with responsibility for community engagement and the 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. When she is not working she plays hockey and cooks to relax. 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, ScotiaBank.

Kelly is the manager and a personal financial planner at the Scotiabank .branch at King George & 102 Avenue. She has been in the Surrey/White Rock area for most of her 30 years with Scotiabank. Through the bank she has participated in numerous fundraising events for various local charities including the Surrey Food Bank and the BC Cancer Foundation – Fraser Valley. Recently Kelly joined a community advisory council for the BC Cancer Foundation and looks forward to raising funds to help improve care for patients from Surrey and the Fraser Valley. Kelly has lived in Surrey since 1965. “I have seen a lot of positive changes in our City and am looking forward to participating on the BIA [Board] in support of future initiatives.

Larry Fisher ~ The Lark Group, Co-Founder and President

For over 40 years, Larry Fisher and his family-owned and operated The Lark Group have been developing, managing and constructing new urban projects throughout Surrey, the Lower Mainland, and as far as Quebec. With drive and determination, Larry and his wife Joy manifested their entrepreneurial vision, quickly moving from managing mobile home parks to building and developing industrial parks and commercial works, operated from an 11,000 sq ft office complex in Cloverdale with over 100 employees, $20 million annually in construction, and over a half-million sq ft of management property.

With daughter Laura managing the property holdings and sales/leasing and son Kirk overseeing the construction projects and assessing new ventures, they have further diversified into shopping centres, hockey rinks and hotels. Currently under construction is a twelve floor, 180,000 sq ft professional tower in City Centre to house their new head office and other companies coming on board as part of a power nucleus attracting significant businesses to downtown Surrey.

“We’re interested in a better city, a better Surrey and we are happy to do anything we can to help that happen. City Centre is the key element along with the BIA, a great city council and Mayor Watts, in the growth and expansion of Surrey. They are open to new ideas and points of view and they work with the whole community to make positive changes. Surrey is very unique and we’re very pleased to be part of Surrey now and into the future”                      

                                          Michael McNaught, Stantec  – Bio in progress


Michael Wilson, Phoenix Centre

Michael is the founder and executive director of Phoenix Drug an Alcohol Recovery and Education Society. Michael has a MA and is currently a PhD candidate in Human and Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University. His interests include community development, urban planning, co-operative economy, social housing, workforce development, poverty reduction and social inclusion. He is involved in several professional groups, community committees and task forces on health, housing, crime reduction and education in order to enhance the health and wellness of the community. Michael views the opportunity to join the BIA Board “as an opportunity to bring my strong interests and expertise in the areas of poverty reduction, social housing, substance misuse and workforce development to contribute toward building a safe, healthy and sustainable community”.

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 SFU, Surrey Campus in 2010.

Robert is BIA board Chairman of the Economic Development and Land Use 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.

Wolfgang Degemann (current board) ~ founder/business consultant, Eurocan Industries

For over fifty years, this extraordinary businessman and visionary is the quintessential immigrant success story, balancing 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. The numerous awards, gifts, and commemorative plaques in his office speak of his lifelong love of soccer, which he still actively plays and promotes locally and around the world. 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.

Marvin Hunt (Ex-Officio Director), Councillor, City of Surrey

Linda Hepner (Ex-Officio Director), Councillor, City of Surrey