Recent fire highlights growth issues

Both levels of government are benefiting through property taxes collected by new development.

First off, let me point out that it was welcome news that all occupants of the recent side-by-side house fires in Fleetwood escaped unharmed.

It does however highlight some troubling issues with respect to Surrey, past and present councils, and the lack of desire or ability to address illegal suites and defend the older neighbourhoods.

I have lived in this community for over 20 years, a few blocks from these houses, and was quite alarmed to find out 25 people lived in the two “single-family” homes.

What should also be pointed out is that one house stood originally on this corner lot, but several years ago it was torn down and two houses built. The house that was torn down was newer than my house.

So, in its place, higher-density single-family housing was built in an area where this density does not exist. This no doubt contributed to the fact that both houses caught fire.

So, perhaps a large family of six occupied the original house where 25 people now live in two houses. The area’s roads, parks, parking for cars, enrolment in the local schools are all impacted from this changing of density combined with illegal suites in a neighbourhood not designed for it.

This is one corner, of one street of one neighbourhood in Surrey. How many more are out there?

We wonder why all our schools have portables? Get used to it because it will never change in our lifetime, or our children’s lifetime.

The city council is just as culpable as the provincial government for lack of infrastructure such as schools and transit when they develop at will and not control the rate of growth.

Both levels of government are benefiting through property taxes collected by new development, and the provincial government has increased income tax revenue when people continue to move into the area.

Perhaps Ms. Watts will allow some of the house fire victims to move into the new $87-million city hall when it is completed.


Lyle Roemer, Fleetwood

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