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Hundreds sign petition fighting City of Surrey suite evictions

Last Updated Sep 21, 2017 at 10:57 pm PDT

A street in the neighbourhood of Clayton Heights. (Google Maps)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition fighting a decision that is forcing the eviction of hundreds of tenants in Clayton Heights to free up parking spaces.

The City of Surrey has sent letters to 175 homeowners telling them their illegal secondary suites need to be decommissioned because of increasing complaints about parking congestion.

The City says there have been more than 400 complaints about a lack of parking due to illegal suites over the past couple of years.

Richard is one of the people behind an online petition asking the City to consider other options.

“This is just not the best way of going about it,” he says.

He says there’ll be long-term consequences for housing affordability.

“There’ll be a shortage of inventory, certainly, because we’re depleting the inventory. There’ll be more people searching for accommodation and a result prices will just continue to go up.”

He says Vancouver is an example of an area that is being densified, but says that City found other ways to deal with parking issues.

“Not only do they have a parking permit program in place, but a lot of their residential communities are being densified…The whole goal for the City of Vancouer is to densify, to offer additional accommodation to try to alleviate the housing crunch. So, the City of Vancouver seems to have figured it out and they’re going in the exact opposite direction. You don’t hear the City of Vancouver evicting anybody, right?”

The City of Surrey’s manager of public safety operations, Jas Rehal, says the council has tried other options.

“We’ve done about eight or nine initiatives to try to alleviate the pressures and the issues facing that area, but unfortunately those did not result in any reduction in parking problems.

“So, to deal with the complaints we have, we have to go forward with enforcement action.”

He says the City is giving landlords and tenants a lot of time to organize other options.

“We usually give 60 days to deal with illegal suites. We’re giving six months here, because we want people to develop plans and get relocation plans in place.”

The City isn’t ruling out more suites being decommissioned.

“Right now, there are 175 that we identified through complaints. We’re getting more complaints as we move forward and we’re going to assess the area over the next few weeks,” Rehal says.