Michael Heeney, president and chief executive officer of Surrey City Development Corp., says an exodus away from Vancouver and toward Surrey is long overdue. The crisis should present the city with opportunities for expansion, including new office space and much-needed transit. After all, the population is already concentrated around Surrey. New Westminster is the geographic centre of the region’s population and it’s just across the Fraser River. Surrey is the second largest city in the region and Mr. Heeney is overseeing the growth of the downtown core at Surrey City Centre. He is frustrated by the focus on Vancouver.
“I think the future for Surrey is very bright, and if anything this pandemic will accelerate that,” Mr. Heeney says. “But having people sit in Vancouver and bellyache about the cost of housing and there’s no family housing, all this stuff—when they have never looked past the river, and probably not even east Vancouver – they just don’t get it.”