Re: Problems multiplied, June 12 letters.
I read with interest the letter from Steve Burke on Surrey’s handling of secondary suites and agree wholeheartedly with his comments.
I would add that the council ignored the problem of suites initially, and allowed them to populate the city. When the problem became too much of a bother for them to act, they legalized homes with a single suite, provided they registered with the city, which very few of them did.
Currently, the homes are getting much larger and multiple suites are the rule, not the exception.
One only has to look at the number of vehicles parked on the roads to realize that the problem is real.
The fact is that, among others, immigrants from the Punjab, Somalia, Pakistan, etc., are flocking to Surrey for rental suites. Our schools are overloaded, the welfare system is in shambles with new claimants, and the demands on the economic infrastructure have become overwhelming.
Roads are deteriorating with no money, it seems, for repairs, though Surrey issues new building permits at an alarming pace. Surrey is living up to its reputation as a ghetto community, and its slogan of City of Parks is clearly mistaken. As well, its “future is here” claim should scare investors and potential new “non-monster” homeowners away, based on what we see today.
The past argument of suites as affordable housing has proven ineffective, in that suite owners do not pay income taxes on the rental income, are not taxed at a proper rate from the municipality, and tenants are overloading municipal, provincial and federal services.
The education system needs an overhaul, with parents paying an annual fee per child enrolled in the public school system. If this was the case, there would be no shortage of funds for new schools. This type of system would be fair to all, and pinpoint where suites of all description are located.
It is high time Mayor Dianne Watts and council stopped pandering to real-estate cheats and started representing the whole of Surrey.
John Conley, Surrey