LETTER: No permit, no consequences

The Editor,

This is an open letter to the City of Surrey, mayor and the building, bylaw, engineering, and legal departments.

I am writing in hopes of encouraging other Surrey residents to call city hall and complain when they observe illegal paving of city boulevards and illegal additions to homes occurring.

I have observed this happening all over my neighborhood, and complained to the city bylaw, building and engineering department. There are also new homes being constructed and, upon final approval, they relocate their driveway to a busy road when that was not approved as per their construction drawings. I have seen a home add two more driveways, on top of the two approved. Of course, that’s paving more of the boulevard in two more locations.

I have yet to see one incident where the city has made the homeowner removing their illegally-paved city land or illegally constructed addition. The older neighborhood streets look trashy; some homes having lawn up to the road, some have gravel and others choose to simply pave it.

Regarding the paving, I was told by the city transportation and planning department that when they receive my complaint, the homeowner gets a $100 fine for no permit – but they can keep their pavement unless it is an extreme hazard.

Why would anyone apply for a permit, when you simply pave first, pay $100 and get to keep your pavement?

The City of Surrey has let this get way out of hand. Our boulevards, which should be green spaces, are being paved and turned into parking lots.

Next is illegal construction, mostly of closing in open decks. Again, of all the complaints I have made, not one has been dealt with. The building department simply comes out and posts a stop-work order. After one month, if the illegal construction is still there, they forward the file to the city’s legal department, which I believe is not actively suing people for these offences.

One final note: When I phone the city and tried to follow up on my complaints, I leave message after message for city staff, and they don’t seem to return phone calls. In one case, I left messages for a month before I received a return phone call; apparently there was something wrong with his voicemail. Seems they just want to ignore the issue.

James King

Surrey

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