WWF-Canada Blog:
Climate


City of Surrey delivering on its commitment to a greener future

Written by Anna Mathewson, Manager of Sustainability, City of Surrey

For the second year in a row, the City of Surrey has been named a finalist in WWF’s global green city challenge. This year Surrey is in the running, along with Edmonton and the City of North Vancouver, for Canada’s National Earth Hour Capital award. Surrey Sustainability Manager Anna Mathewson tells us how B.C.’s second-largest city is delivering on its commitment to a greener future.

© We Love Cities / WWF

© We Love Cities / WWF

We’re thrilled to once again, be a Canadian finalist City in the Earth Hour City Challenge! As one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, Surrey also has ambitious plans to be one of the most sustainable places to live.

We’re very excited to open our new LEED-Gold City Hall building this past month. It’s heated by a district energy system based on geo-thermal power and includes a new public plaza for events and community gatherings, like the popular Surrey Urban Farmers’ Market. We also have plans to expand this to include new developments in our burgeoning City Centre.

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Sketch of Surrey’s new City Hall © City of Surrey

Our Corporate Emissions Action Plan includes a target to reduce corporate emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.  We’ve upgraded city buildings and conducted an energy audit that shows our buildings are performing extremely well.  We’re expanding the city’s electric vehicle pool and at the New City Hall, have joined with our partner Modo to offer car-sharing to employees and the neighbouring community in off-hours.

Recently awarded a Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Sustainable Communities Award, our “Rethink Waste” Program includes curbside organics collection for residences, a fleet of Compressed Natural Gas collection vehicles, and development of an innovative biofuel facility to provide biogas to power these vehicles.

Our ‘closed loop system’ is a first in Canada: Organic waste creates biofuel that will, in turn, power the trucks that collect the waste.  Since the curb-side collection was implemented in October 2012, we diverted 70 per cent of all organic waste that was destined for the landfill.

Our Community Climate Action Strategy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the city and help adapt to climate change. We’re preparing for climate impacts with flood protection from sea level rise, and ensuring we have suitable soil and space for a diversity of tree species.

To help shift to a lower carbon future, the City has located Electric Vehicle charging stations throughout the City and passed an Alternative Fuels Bylaw that requires new or redeveloping service stations to provide at least one alternative fuel – such as an EV charging station.

Surrey

The City has located Electric Vehicle charging stations throughout the City and passed an Alternative Fuels Bylaw that requires new or redeveloping service stations to provide at least one alternative fuel – such as an EV charging station. © City of Surrey

Surrey is thrilled to share these successes through site tours of our city to international delegates attending the Earth Hour City Challenge awards in Vancouver, March 26, 27.  And we’re proud to be leaders on a path to a more sustainable, lower carbon city. One that, in turn, offers a high quality of life for our residents and businesses.

Vote for your favourite cities, share what you love about them via photos and videos, and submit suggestions for how they can become more sustainable. Show your support for the impressive efforts our 33 finalist cities are making towards sustainability.