Surrey’s suites bylaw is ‘draconian’

If Surrey had affordable housing, these suites would not have been built.

Bylaw 1993, No.12000 empowers the City of Surrey to close down 25,000 illegal suites. If Surrey had affordable housing, these suites would not have been built. The city has been aware that soon after new homes are approved as single-family homes, one or more suites are added on because the market needs it.

Duty to build enough affordable homes is that of province and city but it is unofficially delegated to some homeowners to develop suites in their homes. Politics is at its best – a government-generated problem that should not have been allowed to occur.

Surrey and other satellite cities have allowed such suites to pop up without official approval only to meet needs of their growing population. If Surrey doesn’t have enough money to provide affordable housing, why does it make a bylaw to close down illegal suites? Lately Surrey has allowed only one legal suite in a house, so the next one is under the hatchet.

Here you can get one to two bedrooms between $450 and $650 a month inclusive – heat, hydro, cable and maybe laundry too. The B.C. government only provides $375 per person as a housing allowance to those on social assistance.

Maybe the City of Surrey has learned from Metro Toronto’s problems, where certain publicly funded buildings have become ghettos with ongoing law-and-order problems and real estate values in their neighbourhoods have permanently dropped.

Mayor Dianne Watts has been declared fourth best mayor in the world. She could not enjoy this honour without the law-abiding tenants in the “illegal” suites and well-maintained houses by their owners.

Suites in the private houses mean government saves its housing and management costs and collects more property tax from such homes. In this win-win situation, instead of the City of Surrey appreciating the private sector’s contributions, it has a draconian bylaw to harass.

Mayor, please repeal this bylaw.

Shan Rana


Surrey North Delta Leader

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