In Chuck’s 34 years as Surrey resident, he’s called several of its communities home but it was in Cloverdale where his professional interests originated. In 1976, his family owned Cloverdale Raceway, now better known as Fraser Downs; today, he works for the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation – owner of the operation. Not many people have such a long-term vested interest in the both Surrey’s community and its marketplace. We chatted with this local luminary-turned avid paddleboarder to find out what makes him tick…
Tourism Surrey: What do you love about Surrey?
Chuck Keeling: I grew up in Surrey when the city’s reputation (unfairly, I might add) suggested it was not an ideal community to live in. Well, that reputation has changed; so much so, in fact, that I believe both those within the city and outside of it recognize the social, economic and political powerhouse the city is and continues to become. More personally, everything my family needs is in Surrey: recreational opportunities, diverse shopping experiences and a great way of life in general.
TS: What’s the most valuable thing that you provide Surrey?
CK: My role as an ambassador. Professionally, most of my time is spent in other lower mainland communities so I’m afforded the chance to talk a lot about where I grew up, where I live, and why. I like to think that there’s an army of professionals out there that get to talk about Surrey with their counterparts from other communities.
TS: What’s the most valuable thing that Surrey provides you?
CK: A place to raise my family. This is where I was raised, where my wife was raised, where many of our relatives live and now my daughter is growing up as a Surrey resident.
TS: How does Surrey inspire you?
CK: Much of what I’ve learned came from my experiences in Surrey. I went to elementary, junior and high school in Surrey, and after graduating university, came back to work in Surrey. Through that experience, I’ve learned to appreciate the sheer diversity of the people and the experiences available in Surrey. That’s equipped me well both personally and professionally.
TS: What’s changed about Surrey in the last 10 years?
CK: Surrey has very much become a ‘city’ in the last ten years. The services and experiences people look for – whether professionally or personally – are all here in Surrey now.
TS: What do you picture Surrey looking like in the next ten years?
CK:I imagine a city defined by its diverse experiences – a modern, urban experience in the downtown core, a more relaxed, laid-back experience in South Surrey, a comfortable family-based experience in communities like Fleetwood, Cloverdale and Newton… but all within the context of a growing, vibrant and healthy city that other communities will aspire to.
Chuck Keeling also sits on the Boards of the Surrey Board of Trade and the Surrey Food Bank and has been involved in numerous other community initiatives.