Vibrant communities have places for walking and biking, green spaces, and a variety of housing types, shops and services. But keeping neighbours connected is equally important for livability. That’s why Surrey residents gathered for this inspiring session.
On February 22nd, local leaders and community members gathered at the Surrey Arts Centre — to join in the launch of the Surrey Steps Up program.
Superintendent Bill Fordy of the Surrey RCMP detachment was on hand to introduce the program.
“Surrey Steps up is an initiative designed to improve the livability of our community,” said Fordy, noting that youth, businesses, and neighbourhoods will all be encouraged to participate in Surrey Steps Up.
The inspiring highlight of the event was a presentation by Jason Roberts, of the Better Block Project, explaining how small, short-term initiatives can lead to long-lasting community improvements.
“When I looked at the problems of doing a mile corridor, that was too much for my mind to get around,” said Roberts, recounting how the organization came into existence through a temporary beautification project in his Dallas neighbourhood of Oak Cliff. “But I could fix a few hundred feet.”
Now Roberts is spreading his message of do-it-yourself neighbourhood improvement projects to a global audience.
“That’s how change happens,” says Roberts, continuing a theme of small, immediate actions as a catalyst for major shifts, “It’s these little simple things and you showing up and putting ideas out there and say why not?”
One of the key goals of Surrey Steps Up will be harnessing the energy of the city’s young population.
“You have a lot of kids in your community who are designers,” says Roberts. “Use those skills.”
Surrey mayor Diane Watts was also at the event. She shares Roberts’ perspective regarding the value of youth engagement.
“We’ve got some pretty amazing kids in this community. So, I think this was a shining example of how being positive and being creative really brings everybody together.”