One of the dozens of peacocks that call Surrey’s Sullivan Heights neighbourhood home. (Photo: Amy Reid)

Wild birds

Surrey’s Sullivan Heights peacocks staying put — for now

After frustrated homeowner cut down tree home to peacocks, city says community meeting will help decide what to do about the birds

SURREY — The city says the Sullivan Heights peacocks are staying put for the time being.

Surrey’s bylaw manager Jas Rehal said no decision will be made about possibly relocating the birds until after a community meeting, that he says will likely be set for late May.

“We need to engage with the community where they’re being impacted,” Rehal told the Now-Leader on Thursday. “My sense is that the community is split.

“We need to get together and talk about what the issues are, what people are facing,” he added.

Since the news broke that a homeowner had illegally cut down a tree earlier this week, that served as a home to many of the peacocks, organizations wanting to help have been contacting the city “including organizations throughout the Lower Mainland and throughout the province that care for peacocks,” said Rehal.

But no decisions will be made until after the meeting, he stressed.

SEE ALSO: Surrey man says he illegally cut peacock tree out of desperation

READ ALSO: SIMPSON: Peacock problems dragged on far too long in Surrey

Meantime, Rehal said city staff are awaiting a “formal report back from an arborist” before it decides if the homeowner who axed the tree will be facing further fines or if other legal action will be taken. A $1,000 fine has already been issued.

Councillor Mike Starchuk said no current laws exist on what to do with these peacocks.

“All of the bylaws we have don’t apply,” he explained. “This was just one area that was not addressed through BC Wildlife or SPCA through the bylaws.”

The city created bylaws for backyard chickens, which state a property can only have four, couldn’t have a rooster and “considered the whole issue around nuisance and health and safety and hygiene,” noted Starchuk.

But there’s just no law for this peacock situation.

“This isn’t a population of very small creatures that have no impact on the neighbourhood there,” said Starchuk. “We probably all endured being on somebody’s property where somebody nearby holds loud parties and throw their empties in somebody else’s yard, so the party is like the peacocks, and instead of beer cans it’s poop. How do we right this? It’s not a natural occurrence. Peacocks are not native to Surrey.

“I think there’s a part of society that says we should be able to, as homeowners, enjoy our property,” he added. “When the ability for me to enjoy my own backyard has been defeated, we really need to find a solution.”

Starchuk said “emotions are a little too raw to come out with a rational decision (right now).”

“As far as the solution, that’s the purpose of having these consultations,” he said.


Meantime, locals seem divided on the peacock problem.

While many are furious the Sullivan homeowner illegally cut down the tree, others have shown empathy and understanding to his situation.

Parm Brar told the Now-Leader he felt he out of options after pleading for three years with the city to do something about the birds.

“I can see people getting upset if I haven’t tried anything, if I just went and cut it down,” said Brar. “Then I’m totally guilty. But if I tried for three years? I have videos, I have the city emails.”

He added: “Ya I’m guilty, I did something I shouldn’t have done but what option did I have left? Why city did not do anything in three years? Even take 15 birds away, leave five, I’d just like to see something done.”

Brar has lived in the home for about seven years, and he said before he bought the property, he had no idea it served as a home of sorts to the area’s peacocks.

Brar said dozens of birds came to the tree every night, leaving massive amounts of feces around his yard and in his gutters. He also says they made loud calls at all hours of the night.

“My kids can’t use the backyard,” he said, shortly after work crews had finished clearing the tree’s remnants away Tuesday.

Some of his neighbours on the street supported the move.

TJ Shergill, who lives a few houses down, took the Now-Leader to his family’s yard, where peacocks sat on a deck covered in feces.

“This is bad,” Shergill said, “but (Brar) had it worst with that tree…. His father got injured. Broken arm, 10 stitches on the face. You can imagine. A tree is not worth more than his father’s life.”

But others are furious, such as Cindy Dalglish, who called for stiffer penalties from the city.

“I can imagine there’s also a sore spot for this owner in that he’s dealing with droppings of the peacocks and whatnot,” said Dalglish. “But at the end of the day he didn’t have a permit to cut down this tree and so we’re pretty upset not only that he’s taking their home away but that he did it without the approval from the city.”



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Three-peat for Semiahmoo at basketball’s Surrey RCMP Classic

South Surrey-based squad tops Lord Tweedsmuir in final at Enver Creek gym

Tardi earns first victory in quest for third national title

A Langley-based junior curling team is in Prince Albert, Sask. for the Canadian championships.

VIDEO: Surrey-based business wants customers to ‘Eat the Dishes’

New business plans to be one of the ongoing vendors at KPU’s new winter market

Surrey hunter fined $10,000 after shooting a bull moose and leaving it to die

The man was convicted for three Wildlife Act offences after shooting a bull moose not in season

Tonight’s Surrey RCMP Classic final: Cloverdale and South Surrey school teams to battle

Elsewhere, Holy Cross boys team aims to win another BC Catholics championship on home court

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

VIDEO: Koch’s OT winner sends Giants to sixth straight victory

Three games, three cities, three victories for Lower Mainland-based G-Men’s major junior hockey team.

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Most Read