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OUR VIEW: Bring hammer down on illegal construction in Surrey

City of Surrey is moving to double fines to $1,000 from $500. It’s a good start

It’s high time for Surrey to bring the hammer down on illegal construction.

The city is moving to double fines to $1,000 from $500 for infractions such as preventing an inspection, construction without a permit, occupancy without a permit, and ignoring a stop-work order.

It can be argued that the fines should be even higher. In fact, that’s what we’ll do right here and now.

Not only can illegal construction present an awful eyesore to neighbours by flouting any standard of decent workmanship or the building code, it can also pose a danger to anyone who ventures near it.

READ ALSO: Surrey to tackle illegal construction by doubling fines

Council-in-Committee heard in a presentation Monday afternoon that public complaints have been increasing in Surrey since 2018 but the problem is by no means limited to this city as a full one-quarter of the underground economy in Canada is related to illegal and unpermitted construction.

City staff attend roughly 1,100 building inspections each week for permitted projects and the burden of dealing with illegal and unpermitted work rides on top of that, inevitably cutting into time spent on legit projects.

In response, it’s the city’s intention to issue fines daily for scofflaws who ignore posted orders and, separate to the fines, to recover fees for staff time wasted on having to repeatedly visit properties. Being able to issue multiple tickets for a same offence is definitely a good addition to the City of Surrey’s toolbox.

The message of course is to avoid getting hit with a stop-work order, stop engaging in illegal construction.

Sound wisdom, right?


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