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And the total cost of the new Surrey city hall/civic plaza/ parkade is….. ( drumroll please…) $138 million plus.

Much more than the $97 million dollars borrowed by the city to build the city hall :

What no one from the city has mentioned yet, is that the building cost of the parkade that services the City Hall and Library, was an additional cost of $32 million, as per this bylaw that authorized the city to borrow that money in July of 2010:

In addition, the cost of the Civic Centre plaza is not included in the cost of the city hall, it was set aside as a separate project, and is estimated to be in the range of $9 million dollars, which is said to have been budgeted  for out of regular revenues. It is included in this list of Build Surrey projects, many of which have not been completed, such as the improvments to Newton.

The grand total for the City hall, parkade and civic centre plaza? Not including the new furnishings etc?

Approximately $138 million dollars, most of borrowed, not including carrying costs and interest.

While the city might rely on the partial rental of the old city hall to offset the costs of the new one, what exactly is going to offset the costs of this other loan? Why aren’t these other costs included in the total being presented to the public?

While city staff have justified the build out by stating that it has brought over $3 billion dollars of  investment into the city centre, residents who have been told there is no money for the required amount of RCMP officers the city needs to keep pace with its growth find the amount of money borrowed for this project, staggering.



  1. Well the new city hall is finished here in Surrey. Now I want those of you who live in Surrey to remember back a few years ago when the plans for a new city hall first became the big project! First off the cost was 17 million, then it was announced to cost 21 million. Well the cost is actually close to 100 million! 97 million estimated cost start to finish to be exact. So this new city hall cost is just 80 million above the original cost quote made just two years ago. Happy tax paying people of Surrey. I don’t know about any of the other sheep but this seems a little outrageous to me. In the past leaders of a city, province or country would have been hung by the neck. I think the people should actually call for the immediate resignation of Diane Watts and all the other confidence men in her elected office!


  2. “The mayor’s office, with adjoining balcony facing south, is on the top floor, which was closed during The Leader’s visit on Thursday.”

    Diane, why can’t us commoners, who paid for your digs see what they got?
    Arrogant and out of touch with the “real people” of Surrey. Yeah, that’s our Mayor Watts all right. Borrow, borrow, borrow. It’s only the public’s money.

    Where have I heard that before? Why it’s Christie, Gordo, Kevie, Stevie. You know all the lib/cons.

    In briefly going through your links Laila, Newton is STILL waiting for a long list of things going back, but I see she got her palace, (priority I guess) getting her pool down there in surrey – south.

    Sheesh, how appalling.


  3. In speaking with another reporter, the occupancy permit has not been granted for her office and the press will be invited back once it has and its ready.

    In addition, according to the minutes of Metro Vancouver’s finance committee meeting of July 19th, 2013, the board approved the city of Surrey Borrowing request of $67,335,000.oo to build the new Grandview Heights pool and the Fleetwood Heights Rec centre addition:

    The city approved that bylaw for the pool build in May of last year and I believe the city recently approved an increase for this pool based on the amount borrowed didn’t include a contingency – that document I am looking for right now.


  4. Exactly Laila! And the cost of borrowing with the terms that have been negotiated actually DOUBLES the TRUE cost of the city hall complex to over $200 Million. Why can’t they simply tell the truth for once? Why does everything have to be about spin and concealment?

    No money to protect the people but plenty of money to pay for concrete, marble and palatial offices. Can’t wait to see the pictures of the Mayor’s penthouse with walk out deck. I wonder how many lives have been lost to pay for this wasteful spending on the palatial offices in the lavish tower that serves as testament to corrupt waste and greed. Funny how nobody has been able to access the office and provide picture yet isn’t it?

    I see that the under-resourced rcmp have had to go to an online reporting system for crimes up to $5000 in surrey because they just can’t keep up and need to be focusing their understaffed resources that they have on the accelerated of Violent Crime in surrey. How great is that? Maybe they will upgrade to the advanced model where not only is reporting online but so is the policing. Actually, since I never see rcmp on the streets in surrey where they deploy “drive by policing” I suspect that they may already have it.

    The real story about the city hall is not just the unnecessary and wasteful expenditure of over $200 Million nor is it all of the energy and time that so much of the city administration has had to focus on this for so long now but the real cost is the cost to the rest of surrey which has essentially been abandoned while all efforts and cash have been funneled into the Watts Mahal in Whalley.

    Like Curt this statement really caught my attention. “The mayor’s office, with adjoining balcony facing south, is on the top floor, which was closed during The Leader’s visit on Thursday.” Because of the limitations placed on reporters employed by profit seeking corporations the reporters working locally are gagged and hobbled from revealing the truth about their papers most profitable source of income but if you read between the lines you can see the magnitude of frustration that is getting to even them. Soon they may be writing in some kind of code for the commoners.

    Maybe we could start a contest with a price for the first pictures of the inside of the Mayor’s palatial penthouse suite. ….ross buchanan


    • I have to push back Ross, your venom is starting to infect your own good judgment.

      You start by challenging the numbers (cost) making it a condition that they lied because you believe it cost more than advertised. Then you suggest that somehow any public spending can only happen after you have spent your last nickel on policing and related public safety. Then you simply choose to attack the Mayor because she has an office you and I have yet to see, but is testament to corruption and waste.

      Ross, I can’t help but feel that “in your world”, the thought control police would be at the forefront of any municipal decision coupled with telling everyone how they must feel about those decisions.

      Somehow, your convenient interpretation of the “way forward” quickly becomes an exercise in shouting down anyone who might disagree with you. Not a particularly democratic method despite your claim to champion all that is right… according to you anyway.

      But perhaps I missed the point….. you can never have too many police.

      If this was all it took to prevent crime, I suspect we would have done it a long time ago. Your solution, taken to the extreme would dash any semblance of personal response ability, something that is already in too short supply with most everyone.

      I would just leave the name calling alone, even if you were right on your assertions, you don’t come off with any credibility by name calling an elected official.

      Your judgmental opinion on policing practices clearly demonstrate that you have not a clue as to what policing entails, be it in Surrey, Newton or anywhere else.

      As to your opinion on whether we needed a new City Hall, I will accept your awkward assertion that you disagree in principle with creating a defined “City Centre” that in time will identify the City of Surrey as a City with a core….. just like any other large city.

      I highly doubt that the rest of Surrey has been abandoned as you suggest. On this I would ask if you get out and about…. the City is growing and changing very rapidly, and not all bad as you seem to believe.

      I have no problem with Laila, or anyone else making a point of conjecture… just do it in an informed and respectable manner. If you can’t do that, your audience will always be the fringe few that do not seem at all interested in coming out and standing in the sunshine trying to make a difference.


      • “the under-resourced rcmp have had to go to an online reporting system for crimes up to $5000”
        I guess they are expecting a drop in reported crimes under $5K, isn’t it usually your highly portable home computers that get stolen along with your Internet Access TV, Ipads etc.


  5. well, I for one am glad I do not live in Surrey. However this is a big problem, we have a Provincial government selling assets to balance a budget that will never be balanced until we stop paying close to 3 billion dollars a year in interest on our debt and now Surrey is financing projects the same way with money they do not have. Same goes for translink, BC Ferries, hydro, ICBC I could go on for ever but the trend has been set by the Provincial Liberals and unless we do something we will quickly become the next Greece.


  6. Thanks Agent K:
    Waste. The area was already transforming itself.

    Yes Ross, I agree with the rest of Surrey basically, (except maybe Surrey South) being left behind. They blew Clayton area totally. What a disaster. And Panorama is way overbuilt and this is continuing out on the Bose farmlands. Where’s the infrastructure? Transit? Where are the supports for these neighborhoods? City Hall looks like.


    • There’s lots of traffic congestion around elementary schools in Clayton that’s a big accident waiting to happen. Recently there was a fire in some townhome complex in Fleetwood and six units burned down. This is why it’s really a bad idea to shove large families into these cheap wooden townhouses.


  7. Just like Crusty and the Liberals Watts knows she can and will get away with just about anything as long as there is no effective opposition. A palatial Grand Taj for a city hall, excess travel and expense accounts, hidden projects and lack of openness and accountability. The Vancouver media are in love with Watts and she has few vocal and organized critics in Surrey so she flies under any real look at how she and her party operates. When critics dare question anything they are shrugged off with a smile and a smirk. No wonder the Vancouver media think she’s going to be the next premier.


  8. Referendums to approve the financing of major capital projects would be order, in my opinion. If the tax payers are going to be on the hook for them including interest costs that can raise the total costs to 50% or so of the initial cost – well I think we all need a bit more say.
    The other thing that strikes me – justifying the cost by saying it has brought in $3 billion of investment. The other way Surrey is encouraging development in some areas is reducing development cost charges. This means more infrastructure cost burden on taxpayers. If Surrey is truly so wonderful investment would come, without this kind of spending and revenue loss leaders to attract investment.
    Curious about what that $3 billion of investment actually means to the city in terms of taxes and revenues. The developers are putting money in to get money out and the City could be charging them, public art fees, transit / transportation development fees, affordable housing deferment fees, public park space fees, public day cares, district energy utility fees, etc Is the City of Surrey getting these kinds of revenues and funding from developers which is occurring in other jurisdictions? If not it is time to start moving in those directions instead of discounting revenues and throwing away tax payers $$$ to entice development.


  9. Layla, I think Ross is probably close to the true cost of New City Hall being $200 million.
    $138 million plus…
    -expropriation costs for the lands, the previous tenants didn’t give it away.
    -relocation of major infrastructure on 104 avenue (including fibre optic cable).
    -relocation of seniors centre.
    -demolition costs of all existing buildings.
    -interest costs for $97 million dollar loan equals $50 million over 25 years.
    The true cost is likely closer to $250 million.

    The Mayor has stated “over $3 billion in investment as a result of the new city hall”. This is absurd. The new library was in place before construction even started on the hall and the area was also designated as an economic development zone. This allowed developers to reduce the development cost charges by 50% and have several years of tax exemption. This was much more likely to have been the catalyst for the development in the area. In addition, Civic 3 plaza construction (50 storey building) was only confirmed recently so how can this be attributed to the new hall.



    • Just ran the figures on debt service costs for the borrowed $97 million. I used a 30 year amortization and borrowing rates as per Municipal Finance Authority.

      The monthly debt service costs (interest and principal): $435,573.35!
      Total cost of repayment (interest and principal): $156,806,404.98
      Total interest paid: $59,806,404.98

      What no referendum for capital expenditures? And we may think the palace made for the former president of the Ukraine excessive.


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