Mayor Watts – Looking Forward to the New Year
Mayor Watts gave us an early Christmas present when she announced she would be running for another term as Mayor of Surrey and not jumping into Provincial politics.
Over the last five years, Watts has grown into her role a Mayor and leader for our City. Recently she was recognized worldwide as the 4th best Mayor in the World.
When asked what her immediate plans are, she replied, “The redevelopment of our town centres and the City Centre certainly is top of mind. The transportation issues are absolutely key and making sure that our Economic Investment Action Plan is really positioned in a way where we are attracting the jobs that we need to have within the City of Surrey to insure that our population has jobs close to home”
Watts has identified “the funding of transportation and the need for extensive transportation South of the Fraser” as the key challenges looking forward to 2011.
“The challenge is that mega projects were implemented in other areas of the Lower Mainland which we all support. Now is the time for South of the Fraser to have that infrastructure. We can be very innovative and very flexible. We don’t need these multibillion dollar Cadillac infrastructure pieces. We can do a lot with looking in our community and looking at how we connect it internally because 80% of the trips are within the South of the Fraser region.”
Surrey is investing in City Centre with the new Library and City Hall. There are plans for a performing arts centre and the eventual relocation of the North Surrey Arena. The City will continue to invest special events, like Fusion Fest and Winterfest. But the City can’t do everything.
“I would definitely like to partner with both the provincial and federal governments on a performing arts centre, on a convention centre and most certainly looking at different types of infrastructure. We have been very lucky in terms of securing dollars for roads and bridges and that type of hard infrastructure but now we need to look at our arts and culture.”
With a young and growing population, Watts identifies education as another challenge for the upcoming year. “We really need to make sure that we are properly funded in terms of education and capital plans for building additional schools.”
Another project Watts has identified for 2011 is the entrance or gateway to Surrey from New Westminster. “One of the areas that we really need to foster is the businesses in the Bridgeview area. I think that has continued to be a challenge and working more closely with those businesses is key to all of us moving forward. “
When talking about the people of Surrey, Watts feels that “In the City of Surrey we are extraordinarily blessed to have the kind of volunteers and the business community that we have. I think that in everything that we do, from creating events and festivals, business events, everybody participates. It speaks to the Surrey Spirit and who we are as a community. I am very proud what we have been able to accomplish over the years and I would encourage people to continue with that, because the most valuable thing you can give of yourself is time.”
Watts has modest personal goals for 2011. “I’m looking forward to some time off with my family. As we know next year is an election year so I’ll have my little break in the spring and that is about it.”