Now-Leader file photo Surrey’s Clayton neighbourhood has been plagued by parking — or lack thereof — for years.

Clayton parking complaint numbers bogus: Surrey landlord

City says illegal suite crackdown is to resolve parking issue, but landlord says documents reveal inflated numbers

A Clayton landlord says Freedom of Information requests prove the City of Surrey is lying about parking complaints it has received in East Clayton.

Greg Garner says the city is “misleading the public about why they are proceeding with these mass evictions” after 175 landlords received notices that the city would fine and take them to court if they didn’t remove suites by Jan. 31, 2018.

Bylaw manager Jas Rehal previously stated there were 7,600 complaints in three years, however an FOI document states that amount was received over five years, from 2013-2017.

Rehal acknowledged that he “should’ve said five years” not three.

The city says the crackdown is an effort to resolve parking issues that have plagued the area for years, but Garner says the FOI shows the number of complaints are being inflated.

See also: Surrey cracks down on illegal suites in Clayton

See also: HOME SUITE HOME: The faces of Clayton’s illegal suite crackdown

But residents didn’t stop there. Garner and several other targeted landlords FOI’d complaints against their property.

This, after Rehal told the Now-Leader that enforcement is “definitely complaint based.”

Garner said the results were “staggering.” Of the eight parking complaints associated with seven of the homes in the FOI, not one contained a license plate number.

Some properties didn’t have a single complaint.

One response from City of Surrey FOI Assistant Jennifer Baetz for a property on 72A Avenue stated, “The Bylaws Division conducted a search of records related to complaints, including parking complaints, for your address. The records related to parking complaints were gathered from a database search of the City’s third party provider for parking services, Concord Security Corporation.

It adds: “We have confirmed with the Bylaws Division, there are no records of complaints related to your address other than the records enclosed.”

See also: Clayton suites need to be ‘legalized immediately’ says Landlord BC

See also: Surrey Council asks staff to work with tenants in illegal Clayton suites

In response to another property on 68th Avenue, the FOI response stated the “Bylaws Division did not locate any parking complaints specifically related to the address.”

As for the homes that did have complaints, Garner says there would be no way to know who a vehicle parked on the street belonged to or connect it to a residence.

For example, a property on 195A Street had two complaints: one about vehicles blocking the laneway in 2014 and a subsequent one about a U-Haul truck being parked in the residential area all day.

Another example of this is a property on 72A Avenue about a car parked too close to a walkway.

And a property on 68th Avenue had a parking complaint lodged against it from 2016 regarding a vehicle and trailer, which had “Big Jesus billboards” on it.

The complaint said it parked in the same spot for over a week, taking up three parking stalls and obstructing the bike lane.

“This vehicle is well known in Clayton and belonged to the neighbour, yet the city registered the complaint against this homeowner,” said Garner.

He said the city is lying about the number of complaints, and says the statement they are relying on complaints to guide enforcement is also false.

“Residents of Clayton could unknowingly have parking complaints documented against their home in city databases without knowing it because someone you have never met parked illegally in front of your home,” said Garner.

“I would urge Surrey residents to call the city and get this rectified as maybe down the road they will use this information to do arbitrary enforcement on your home.”

See also: Surrey collecting more than $1 million a year on more than 2,400 illegal suites, documents reveal

Asked about the FOI results and the discrepancy between what the city has said, Rehal emailed this statement to the Now-Leader on Nov. 23.

“Enforcement is complaint based, but we also take into account the history of the property in our system (previous files/suite investigations), parking complaints in the surrounding area, and parking complaints on specific streets. We review all the relevant information that we have on hand and take the appropriate steps.”

Prior to that email, on Nov. 15, Rehal told the Now-Leader the 7,600 complaints are not tied to a specific address.

Rather, Rehal said the city has received 298 complaints this year that were tied to a specific address and “that wasn’t included in the FOI because it wasn’t asked for” or there was more information available if the applicants wished to pay a fee.

“We released what we could now, and responded back with a fee estimate to do more digging,” Rehal noted.

“That was not released so that’s some of the confusion.”

But Garner says his FOIs against seven properties have searched both of the city’s databases — Posse and Concord — so there is no avenue left to find complaints.

“I expect my elected officials and city representatives to be truthful and this clearly hasn’t happened in this case,” he said.

“It is easy to be truthful in this case, 7,600 parking complaints in five years, based on the FOI information provided. There shouldn’t be any variance in reporting this number but yet there has been.”

Furthermore, Garner questions how the city can “legally and morally use this inaccurate data” to evict people.

“The city themselves has said a blanket enforcement approach does not work yet they are using this approach on 175 homes in Clayton,” Garner stated.

Meantime, the city’s effort to crackdown on the many illegal suites in Clayton is still “on hold” after Surrey city council asked staff how they’re going to work with tenants in illegal suites.

While a report to council in October noted staff have received significant positive feedback about the move, it has also been met by much opposition, both from landlords, but also the tenants living in the homes.

See also: Petition launched against Surrey’s crackdown on Clayton suites

During that meeting, Councillor Bruce Hayne said he’d “like to see more on this corporate report from staff.”

While Hayne and several other councillors said there was no point in having bylaws in the city if they’re not enforced, he acknowledged this is a “human issue” and said “we have to work very closely and compassionately with the community.”

Haye said he’d “like to see more information from staff on how staff is going to work with the community, how we’re going to communicate with the community, to achieve these goals.”

That report has yet to materialize.

Councillor Judy Villeneuve told the Now-Leader that staff expect to have a report before council before the end of 2017, and that the city is “not taking any further action until we get the report back.”



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

Missing North Delta senior found deceased

88-year-old Jarnial Sanghera had been missing since the morning of Friday, May 15

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read