The City of Surrey is trying to address the parking problem in East Clayton.
City Council approved two recommendations for increasing parking in Clayton at a meeting held July 13.
Detailed in a corporate report from July 9, the measures could add between 18 and 24 additional parking spaces to the area.
But one Clayton resident says the approved measures won’t solve anything.
“It’s just smoke and mirrors,” said Clayton resident Mauro Hrelia. “How are two dozen spots going to solve the problem for all of East Clayton?”
Those “two dozen spots” will be garnered by removing redundant fire hydrants and curb bulges. Nine hydrants will be decommissioned (see map below) to make 14-18 new spots and two mid-block curb bulges on 68A Avenue, between 190 Street and 192 Street, will be taken out to add four to six spots.
(Decommissioned hydrants will be painted blue and marked “inactive – parking permitted.” The hydrants will remain operational. The report notes, “In the event of an emergency, these hydrants could still be used by SFS as a secondary option.”)
Hrelia noted East Clayton definitely needs more parking, but the City won’t listen to what he and other residents have been saying for years.
“The issue in East Clayton is the illegal suites, period,” he said.
Hrelia’s been fighting with the City over the issue since 2010.
“On December 10 2010, the City put in a bylaw that no secondary suites were permitted with a coach home on the property,” he said. “This has never been enforced. All the City cares about is collecting the extra suite fees.”
This means some homes could have three different tenants. Renters, or owners, in the main house, renters in a secondary suite, and renters in a coach house.
Hrelia said he can’t have friends or family come to visit him because they can’t find parking on his street. And they can’t find parking on adjacent streets either.
“We’ve contacted the City regarding this issue, only to be ignored,” Hrelia said. “We had the city manager and bylaw manager at our house along with 11 other homeowners—that’s 12 of 14 homeowners on this street—to address this situation.”
Hrelia said they were told to report the illegal suites and something would be done. Hrelia claims they did this, but nothing happened.
Hrelia also chuckled at councillor Laurie Guerra’s assertion Skytrain to Langley will solve his neighbourhood’s parking headache.
“At the end of the day, I think that we just really need to get the SkyTrain going all the way to Langley,” Guerra said at a July 13 council meeting. “I think that’s the best solution for their parking problem.”
“What planet is she on?” Hrelia laughed. “Skytrain won’t solve the parking problem here.”
Hrelia said there are two ways to solve East Clayton’s parking woes and he said he’d be happy with either fix.
“It’s easy: shut these illegal suites down,” explained Hrelia. “In the absence of that, give us the permit parking pilot (project).”
He said the City promised, on three different occasions, to set up permit parking on a pilot project basis, but nothing has ever come to pass. He also said a majority of residents, 87 per cent, had agreed to the pilot project, unlike the 28 per cent approval rate for the recently quashed queuing street conversion pilot project.
That project was quashed “based on the low level of resident support across all 14 proposed queuing streets,” according the City report from July 9.
He said the City doesn’t care about East Claytonians as much as the City cares about the extra suite fees they get.
“If they do not want to shut down these suites, then we are entitled to our permit parking!” Hrelia exclaimed. “We have been lied to and inconvenienced long enough!”