Christopher Lewis

Surrey parks bylaw faces court challenge

Resident says legislation banning park use at night violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A Surrey bylaw is under attack on the basis that it violates fundamental Canadian rights.

Christopher Lewis has been warned and fined for walking in Surrey parks at night. The city has ramped up its enforcement of the bylaw, issuing 16 tickets in 2005 and 314 in 2013.

Surrey’s manager of bylaws told The Leader that dropped down to 151 last year, but couldn’t explain the decrease right away.

Lewis says he likes to walk in the city’s green spaces to decompress after a day’s work, or to pace off sleeplessness.

He is taking the city to court over a section of Bylaw #13480, which prohibits being in a park after dark.

Lewis has written a 10-page challenge of the bylaw, arguing it violates two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In his challenge, sent to the city and attorneys-general of B.C. and Canada, Lewis contends the bylaw violates Section 7, which ensures the right to “life, liberty and security,” and Section 9, which ensures the right not to be “arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.”

Lewis, who works as an inspector of pressurized pipes, said in his submission that people are being forced to travel on dark streets, at night, where  being hit by a car is becoming increasingly likely.

He contends that’s a violation of Section 7.

He believes every time people are stopped by police or bylaw officers, their right to freedom from being arbitrarily detained is being violated – a violation of Section 9.

The 27-year-old, who does not have legal experience, cites case law to back up his arguments.

In Regina v. Oakes (1986), Chief Justice Dickson ruled on proportional means.

To that end: “the means must be rationally connected to the objective; there must be minimal impairment of rights (and) there must be proportionality between the infringement and the objective.”

Lewis believes the Surrey bylaw fails on all three counts.

“A blanket ban on everyone from parks at night is not rationally connected with just targeting vandalism,” the challenge says.

Vandalism is often the rationale given for the necessity of the bylaw.

“There is a complete lack of proportionality between the infringement and the objective,” he writes.

Benjie Lee, the City of Surrey lawyer handling the case, said he could not comment on the case as it’s before the courts.

Lewis and the city are back in Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday, April 28.

 

Just Posted

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

SFU unveils new lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Combination of MRI, MEG allows for ‘best possible windows’ intro brain function

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read