He came to Surrey searching for a quiet suburban area to settle down in and seemingly found it in a small Fleetwood neighbourhood.
But just three years after Jim Reichert made his move to the City of Parks, he's sold his house and moved back north of the Fraser.
The reason? During his three years in Fleetwood, Reichert saw what he thought was his ideal suburban landscape turn into "an industrial zone, a multi-family community of suites and an RV parking lot."
In a letter submitted to the Now, Reichert says in the few years he lived in Surrey, the area around him has become so dense and overpopulated that it no longer resembles the once peaceful neighbourhood.
According to Reichert's letter (you can read it in full on page 15), the area in question has become saturated with RVs that overflow into the streets from driveways and has cars parked up and down the streets as a result of the multi-family suites and various home-based businesses.
"Within sight of the anticipated serenity of our back deck we have maintenance business vehicles, landscaping service vehicles and an automobile repair business," wrote Reichert.
"Plus there is the in-home beauty service, a daycare and a tutoring business all within 500 feet of our home."
What's worse, wrote Reichert, is that the City of Surrey did not appear interested in enforcing certain bylaws save for making sure suite fees were being collected.
According to a city spokesperson, bylaw officers investigated Reichert's complaints and found there were no violations being broken and that all suites and businesses were properly licensed. Fed up with the changes made to his once-quiet neighbourhood, Reichert sold his house earlier this year and moved north of the Fraser River.
Prior to his move, Reichert said he was aware Surrey had a reputation of being a place to avoid and, for him, the last three years did nothing but reinforce that.
Reichert's letter also comes at the same time that Surrey was ranked as one of Canada's top real-estate investment cities by Business Review Canada.
The report takes into account things like market stability, real estate prices and the potential for future growth. It says Surrey's location is a key feature in being primed for further population and business growth.
But while the report says one thing, Reichert says another. Densification has been noticed in neighbourhoods all around Surrey and the topic of illegal suites has been a thorn in the side of Surreyites for years now.
It's something Coun. Barinder Rasode has heard time and time again from residents, and admits is part of Surrey's "growing pains" as it moves into its next phase as a major Canadian city.
"One of the challenges we have is that Surrey doesn't get its fair share when it comes to, transportation," said Rasode, noting that people would be more inclined to ditch their cars if public transit was better.
"These issues are fair and do come up, and where our hands get tied is looking at getting the provincial government to put money into this community."
However, Rasode said highdensity neighbourhoods are good for Surrey's growth and eventual future.
"I am in support of highdensity neighbourhoods," she said, noting that while illegal suites are an unfortunate part of these neighbourhoods, the city can't simply start throwing people out onto the street.
In the past few months, the city has hired two bylaw officers to exclusively deal with illegal suites in Surrey. As of May 31, 2012, there were 22,500 secondary suites in Surrey.
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