On April 6, the City of Surrey will host its first community summit to engage residents in discussions about the issues they feel are most pertinent to the city.
The summit - set to be held at Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus - follows a series of six town hall meetings held in 2012 that garnered feedback from residents about such ongoing concerns as transportation, public safety and the local environment.
"The purpose is to increase participation and engagement, and provide more information to residents about the city and other organizations within the city," said Coun.
Barinder Rasode, who is chairing the community summit.
"This isn't a conference. We don't want people to come there and be talked to - this is really a two-way dialogue."
Mayor Dianne Watts, city council and the senior management team representing all departments at city hall will be on-hand at the summit.
The event's featured speaker is Gord Hume, an author and entrepreneur who is heavily involved in municipal government and community issues.
In the coming weeks, the city will set up a website with a list of issues - plus a category to submit topics - that residents can vote on for discussion at the summit.
"We're really saying to the community, 'This is your summit. You tell us what are the issues you'd like to talk about,'" said Rasode, noting that issues surrounding youth, seniors and Surrey's immigrant refugee population have been popular subjects at the town hall meetings.
Rasode added that if the summit is popular with residents, it could become an annual occurrence.
Residents can currently submit their ideas for discussion topics by email to clerks@ surrey.ca. The city is still working out if there will be an admission fee.