Three years ago, we moved to a new home in Fleetwood and were excited about the location with a view and the house, which was beautifully finished and reasonably priced for the Lower Mainland.
The location seemed ideal - a quiet street adjacent to a cul-de-sac and near an elementary school. But three years later, we were anxious to leave and recently sold to head back north of the Fraser.
People have asked us why. The answer is straightforward - Surrey ignores its bylaws and the neighbourhood has been allowed to evolve into an industrial zone, a multifamily community of suites and an RV parking lot.
A walk down our street is like a tour through an RV sales lot as various euphemistically named moving homes of lengths well in excess of 20 feet fill many of the driveways and push out into the public space. The suites double the traffic and fill the streets with extra parked cars, especially where moving homes and boats already occupy the driveways.
And home-based businesses are flourishing unimpeded. Within sight of the anticipated serenity of our back deck we have maintenance business vehicles, landscaping service vehicles and an automobile repair business (the later usually parking a tow truck with attached vehicle nearby on the street).
Plus, there is the in-home beauty service, a daycare and a tutoring business all within 500 feet of our home. What happened to the quiet residential neighbourhood we thought we were joining?
We have tried the route of raising the issue with bylaws enforcement. Interestingly, the only aspect they were interested in acting on were the unauthorized suites to ensure the suite fees were being collected.
We were told explicitly that the parking bylaws for suites were not being enforced - these would require that space be provided on the suite landlord's property for suite vehicles.
As for the industrial and other businesses - nothing could be done so long as the business vehicles that are parked on the street were moved at least every 72 hours.
And I won't even go into the noise bylaws that are flouted by power washing, leaf blowing and mowing well past the designated hours, let alone the low flying helicopters and late-night jets.
Well, we have had it. When we told friends we were first moving to Surrey, eyebrows were raised.
We now understand why. Surrey justifiably deserves its reputation and in our view is a place to avoid. We blame city hall and the soft bylaws and enforcement. Goodbye Surrey!
J. Reichert, Coquitlam
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