The City of Surrey's now-revived for-profit development corporation, the Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC), will be back in action shortly, with its annual general meeting set for Thursday, November 23.
The Surrey City Development Corporation was originally incorporated in 2007 with the City as its sole shareholder. It set out a mandate to optimize the value of surplus land owned by the City, with support from the City that included property transfers, loans, and equity investments.
However, Council made the decision to dissolve the SCDC in June 2020, opting to bring the corporation's activities back under the purview of the City, with most of its assets transferred back to the City as part of the process.
"Council believes the time is right to bring these activities back under the purview of the City and have the work done in-house," then-Mayor Doug McCallum said at the time.
Shortly after last year's municipal elections, however, the new Council moved to restart the SCDC, which became official in April with the re-establishment of the SCDC's Board of Directors. The board will consist of two City directors — City Manager Vincent Lalonde and Director of Strategic Initiatives Jeff Arason — and five independent directors — Howard Nemtin, Bruce Joyce, Christine Lundvall, Scott Dutchak, and Sukhi Sekhon.
"SCDC's model is unique and has had success in kickstarting investment in the City Centre area," said Mayor Brenda Locke in April. "In its second iteration, I hope to see SCDC continue to innovate, continue to spur and attract investment, and focus on creating new and diverse housing options in Surrey."
City Manager Vincent Lalonde, however, subsequently announced his retirement in August after 26 years of service at the City of Surrey. The retirement announcement did not address his role at the SCDC, but named Rob Costanzo as the Acting City Manager, who was also identified as a director in a recent draft of the partnering agreement between the City and the SCDC.
Former SCDC President and CEO Michael Heeney was named Interim President and CEO in April, but the interim tag has since been removed, according to the City.
The SCDC's updated mandate will focus on the Centre Block, Gateway, Campbell Heights, and Newtown Town Centre areas of Surrey. According to SCDC financial statements, the corporation had an accumulated operating surplus of $36,208,518 as of December 31, 2022.
In February, the City said re-operationalizing the SCDC would be relatively straightforward because "SCDC and its subsidiaries still remain as active companies." According to the aforementioned financial statements, those subsidiaries include:
- Surrey City Investment Corporation (SCIC);
- Grove Limited Partnership;
- Grove (GP) Inc.;
- Surrey City Investment Industrial Corporation (SCIIC); and
- Kwantlen Park Development Corporation (KPDC).
On the agenda for the Annual General Meeting on November 23 is the approval of minutes from the last meeting held on December 14, 2022, the aforementioned financial statements, and the naming of BDO as the SCDC's auditor.
The City says that consulting teams to support the SCDC's Centre Block and Gateway development applications have been re-engaged, potentially providing a hint of what the SCDC will be working on when it is back up and fully running.
The SCDC's resumed activity comes as the City of Burnaby granted approval to incorporate its own municipal development corporation, the Burnaby Housing Authority, this week. The City also remains in an ongoing fight with the Province over the transition to the Surrey Police Service, launching court proceedings against the Province last week seeking to halt the transition.