The City of Surrey is moving forward with a “proactive” plan to help accelerate the recovery of businesses, residents, and municipal operations, following City Council’s approval of the strategy in a virtual meeting on Monday.
There will be a 90-day extension on late payment penalties for residential and commercial property tax payments, with late payment charges to come into effect on October 1 instead of July 3.
On the construction industry side, new and in-stream projects with a construction value of over $25 million will benefit from a 50% reduction of many development-related fees.
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To date, the City has approved building permits worth over $455 million, creating 1,300 single-detached and multi-family homes.
To support businesses across Vancouver, late payment penalties for business licenses continue to be deferred, and will only be applied 30 days after the provincial state of emergency ends. The municipal government’s Store to Door initiative has also helped support some struggling businesses through online sales and deliveries, with 166 companies signing up and over 30,000 online connections established.
There have also been parking enforcement changes, with parking fees waived for city-operated parking spaces around Surrey Memorial Hospital and around City Hall.
For residents, the City has launched a number of supportive programs to help keep citizens physically and mentally active, including online fitness classes, pre-recorded and live-streamed performances, virtual artmaking lessons, virtual library read-along storytimes, and supportive programs for seniors including the procurement of Chromebooks to distribute to isolated elderly individuals. The municipality is also hosting virtual job fairs over the coming months.
“While the safety of our people is first and foremost, City Council has taken a forward-thinking approach when it comes to keeping our local economy afloat during this time of pandemic,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a statement.
“With the Surrey Economic Action and Recovery Plan, the City is taking care of its economic house while keeping a keen eye on how we can ease the financial burden of our residents and businesses during this challenging time.”