The B.C. government will spend up to $17 million over five years to help establish a new computer institute on the campus of Simon Fraser University in Surrey.
Premier John Horgan says the province sees Surrey as a second downtown to Vancouver in the Lower Mainland.
The Quantum Algorithms Institute at the university is part of that vision, and something that Horgan says will create jobs locally, raising Surrey’s standard of living.
The province says in a news release that the cost and availability of industrial land are two of the biggest constraints to growth in B.C.’s technology sector.
By developing Surrey as a hub of regional economic growth, Horgan says that will help ease those development pressures.
Horgan says helping Surrey become a so-called innovation hub is intended to complement what is happening in Vancouver, not replace it.
“We have, indeed, an innovation and technology hub developing right here south of the Fraser (River),” he said Wednesday.
A new hub would also take some pressure off the “booming economy” in Vancouver, Horgan added.
“What that means is we can reduce congestion. What that means is investment can look at a place to spread their wings where there is more property, where property values are lower and where they can attract and retain the skilled workers we are going to need for the next decade.”
Bruce Ralston, the minister of jobs, trade and technology, said the institute will train data scientists to help attract companies to Surrey.
“Quantum computer solutions will help develop the innovations of tomorrow in sectors such as transportation and logistics, medical research, advanced design and materials testing,” he said in a news release. “Adoption across these sectors is predicted to surpass $450 billion annually.”