East Clayton. (File photo)

TONIGHT: Surrey considering legalization of illegal suites

Report to council gives recommendations on how to handle illegal suite dilemma

It’s a far cry from what the City of Surrey was preaching a few short months ago.

However, a new report from Director of Public Safety Terry Waterhouse suggests that council should consider the legalization of “multiple suites.”

City council will consider the report Monday (Dec. 4.)

Waterhouse’s report, titled the Multiple Suite Compliance Program, details strategies for city council’s consideration.

The City of Surrey has been dealing with problems caused by illegal multiple suites, particularly in the East Clayton neighbourhood.

The report comes after owners of 175 multiple suites in East Clayton were given six months’ notice to evict their tenants by the end of January 2018.

That plan was endorsed by city council on July 24th, which brought on an onslaught on protest from the community.

A rally was held at city hall at the end of October, and a petition titled ‘Stop the displacement of 300+ families in Clayton’ received nearly 3,000 signatures.

On the flip side, the city said it received complaints from “a number of individuals” who supported the removal and enforcement of illegal suites.

The animosity surrounding the eviction of many families led to mayor Linda Hepner announcing on Oct. 16th that the Clayton suite crackdown would be put “on hold” until further notice.

Although the recent report from Waterhouse merely provides suggestions for city council to consider, it does provide some insight into options for the city moving forward.

Waterhouse’s report says current multiple suites would be “legalized or eliminated” over the medium or long term.

For those that do have multiple suites, the city would continue to collect fees to support the additional costs placed on infrastructure and neighbourhoods.

One thing that Waterhouse makes clear in his report, is that no new multiple suites will be tolerated by the city.

Since 2010, the City of Surrey says it has received 11,247 complaints in relation to multiple suites, including parking and congestion issues. The report highlights other concerns that arise from multiple suites, such as an increase in traffic collisions, discord in neighbourhoods, and potential fire risks from violations of the B.C. Building Code.

Click here to read the report from Waterhouse in full.


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