Time for a change at city hall

Illegal construction continues unabated in Surrey.

A Newton resident is fuming over the illegal builing. He is not alone. The same thing is happening all over this city.

The issue is not just the building fill ins, but flagrant violations of bylaws in so many areas.

There are illegal signs, there are illegal auto wrecking shops and truck parking, and garbage piles and the list goes on and on. What is the problem?

The program is a complete lack of leadership and decision making at the city council level. Not enough will to enforce the rules. The mayor and the current Surrey First council are afraid to enforce their own bylaws for fear of losing blocks of voters. So bylaws in Surrey have become a joke.

Our bylaw inspectors do the best they can given the lack of support or even any direction by our council.

Excessive suites, advertised in real estate papers, are reported again and again. House in-fills are rampant because this council is so wishy-washy that many people in the void of leadership push the envelope of acceptability.

We need safe accessible truck parking so people can feel comfortable about leaving their livelihood parked overnight somewhere. We need clear suite guidelines and enforcement. We need clear parameters of what is acceptable and what is not.

As stated in a recent Leader article, Don Luymes, acting general manager of planning and development, acknowledged there’s a large volume of illegal construction in the city.

Three years ago, city building inspectors said they felt like their jobs had become a joke after Surrey council dropped litigation against more than 70 illegal and unsafe homes just weeks before the civic election. Saving votes? You decide.

When our council stops protecting our city from those who look for loopholes, when our bylaws eepartment has no clear direction from Ccouncil and isn’t given solid support and backing we end up where we are today.

It is time for a change in direction.

Decisions must made based on what is best for the city, not what is best for votes. Council has known about the illegal building and infilling of houses since the ’90s, but has failed to act.

The demolition of a couple of illegally built structures would get the point across to the people who ignore the bylaws.

Why are our schools crushed? Partly because of over-occupancy in neighbourhoods.

I support mortgage helpers and suites in proper locations that pay their fair share. Affordable housing is hard enough to find as it is. Suites help people by houses and people afford a place to live.

But those who flaunt our bylaws and ignore our rules are simply laughing at council. Council has failed.

All we seem to hear is, it is someone else’s fault, or someone else’s responsibility. Now we even have a councillor who admits he didn’t even read a multi-million-dollar approval document before he signed it on behalf of his city. It is your city, folks, and you deserve a council that will protect and serve our city.

Gary T. Robinson

Council candidate

Surrey Civic Coalition

 

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