SURREY â€” The City of Surrey has been named one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 by New York-based think tank Intelligent Community Forum.
Out of more than 300 nominations, Surrey is the only Canadian city in the top seven list and is now in the running for the Intelligent Community of the Year award, to be announced in June. This is the first time Surrey has made the list.
The Top7 list includes cities and towns from five nations. In addition to Surrey are three communities from the U.S. (Arlington County, Columbus and Mitchell), one from Australia (Ipswich), one from Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), and one from Taiwan (New Taipei City). The winner will take over the title from Toronto, which won in 2014.
In a release, ICF says Surrey is â€œa city in transition from a suburban past in the shadow of Vancouver to a sustainable urban future. To gain greater control over its destiny, Surrey has developed a diversification strategy calling for deepening the partnership between its institutions of higher learning and local business.â€
Specifically mentioned was Innovation Boulevard, a high-tech health sector occupying one square mile of Surreyâ€™s City Centre between SFU and Surrey Memorial Hospital. The city hopes to foster a network of health institutions and community of talented academics, clinicians and researchers here.
The city credits the award to its approach in the Smart Surrey Strategy, which includes Innovation Boulevard, as well as many other initiatives such as an organic waste biofuel processing facility in the works, a district energy system, a traffic management system, an extensive open data catalogue and more. Citywide Wi-Fi is in the works, which will be offered free at more than 40 key locations throughout the city.
â€œAs the most rapidly growing city in the region, investing in technology and innovation is crucial to building a city that is ready for the challenge of the future,â€ said Mayor Linda Hepner in a release.
Coun. Bruce Hayne, who chairs the cityâ€™s investment and innovation committee, said this is a milestone for Surrey as it acknowledges that Surrey is â€œon the right track with sustainable economic growth, innovative service delivery and sound infrastructure investments.â€
For more information on the award visit intelligentcommunity.org.
Earlier this month, Surrey received the Canadian Award for Financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the 17th year in a row.
The award is chosen by professional staff of the GFOA and a review committee made up of industry professionals.