Judge upholds Surrey park bylaw banning people after dark

A man who challenged the City of Surrey's bylaw prohibiting people from being in public parks between dusk and dawn has lost.

A man who challenged the City of Surrey's bylaw prohibiting people from being in public parks between dusk and dawn has lost. A provincial court judge found the city's bylaw to be 'reasonable.'

SURREY — A Surrey provincial court judge has upheld a City of Surrey bylaw prohibiting people from being in public parks between dusk and dawn after it was challenged on grounds it violated Charter rights.

The case was called City of Surrey versus Christopher Lewis, with Lewis representing himself.

Judge Peder Gulbransen heard Lewis had gone for a walk in Bakerview Park in South Surrey shortly after midnight on Nov. 13, 2013. Someone called police to complain and an officer was dispatched. Knowing he was violating a city bylaw prohibiting people from being in a park between dusk and dawn, and expecting an officer to show up, Lewis waited and told the officer he wouldn’t leave until he was given a violation ticket, which he then challenged in court on grounds it violated his rights under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

What do you think? CLICK HERE to email us your thoughts on this issue.

Section 7 says everyone “has a right to life, liberty and the security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in  accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Violating the city bylaw carries a fine of $50 to $2,000 or three months in prison.

Gulbransen found that although Lewis “believes passionately” that enjoying a peaceful walk in a park at night “involves a very significant exercise of his right to liberty, it is not obvious to me that this activity involves a fundamental notion of human dignity or a decision of fundamental personal importance.”

The judge noted laws restricting activities, such as opening liquor in public or prohibiting dogs from being unleashed, are “not unusual in urban society.

“Whether someone should be prohibited from choosing to walk in the park at night is just not an issue of fundamental personal importance.”

Lewis argued the bylaw is too broad because it lumps law-abiding citizens together with troublemakers who would party, light bonfires, dump trash or deal drugs in parks at night. Law enforcers should focus on these instead, he argued.

But Gulbransen noted the city holds its parks in trust for local residents and found its bylaw to be a “reasonable law” enacted within the city’s power to regulate land under its jurisdiction.

“It is unrealistic to expect the City of Surrey to spend relatively large sums of money to provide resources to monitor in detail what goes on at parks at night,” the judge said.


Just Posted

Proudly Surrey modifies child-care policy

Slate wants to use school board property for child-care spaces

Surrey school board wants to expand French Immersion program

District had to close program at Cougar Creek Elementary due to low enrolment

VIDEO: Scarecrow festival kicks off in Port Kells

Fourth-annual event will be on until Halloween

Delta to craft whistle-blower policy

The policy is meant to increase public trust and create support for staff in questionable situations

VIDEO: North Delta Studio Stomp back for sixth year

The annual art event has local artists opening their studios to the public this weekend

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read