News / Vancouver

Surrey to consider parking control instead of evictions in Clayton Heights

Better transit and residential parking permit system prefereable to evicting renters, say organizations

Heidi Thomas and her six-year-old son, Brandon, on October 3, 2017. The family is one of hundreds of renters who may have to move because of a crackdown on basement suites in Surrey's Clayton Heights neighbourhood.

Jennifer Gauthier / For Metro

Heidi Thomas and her six-year-old son, Brandon, on October 3, 2017. The family is one of hundreds of renters who may have to move because of a crackdown on basement suites in Surrey's Clayton Heights neighbourhood.

Surrey will "re-examine" a residential parking permit program for the Clayton Heights neighbourhood as a possible alternative to evicting hundreds of renters.

Groups representing landlords and the non-profit sector met with Surrey’s mayor last week to encourage the city to find a way to allow secondary suites to remain in the Clayton Heights neighbourhood.

David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC and Kishone Roy, CEO of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association, say they met with Hepner last week and agreed on the following approaches to ease parking congestion in Clayton Heights:

1) The need to continue advocating for better transit infrastructure and investments in this populated, walkable neighbourhood.

2) New provincial transit investments are anticipated in the region, which will help to provide viable alternatives for all Clayton residents.

3) Re-examining a residential parking permit program, reinforcing the need to better utilize on-site parking and limiting the number of cars per household that can park on-street. 

4) Working together to build new purpose-built market and non-market rental to meet existing and future demand in the City.

Homeowners in Surrey are allowed to rent just one suite, but in the Clayton Heights neighbourhood, built to include coach homes and basement suites, multiple suites have proliferated for years. Like many neighbourhoods in Surrey, the area is poorly served by public transit.

After receiving thousands of complaints about parking congestion over several years, Surrey sent letters to 175 homeowners who are renting more than one suite on their single family home properties, ordering them to decommission the illegal suites by Jan. 31, 2018.

After an outcry from renters and landlords, the decommissining process is now on hold as council awaits a report back from staff.

Surrey’s rental vacancy rate is at just 0.4 per cent, and some renters say they can’t afford current rental market rates — or even find a new landlord who will rent to them.

Mayor Linda Hepner previously told Metro that the city had suggested several parking control ideas, but they had been rejected by the community. Those ideas included a residential parking permit system and “queuing:” allowing more streets to have parking on both sides of streets, which means only one car at a time can travel down the centre of the street.

David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC and Kishone Roy, CEO of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association, say they met with Hepner last week and agreed on the following approaches to ease parking congestion in Clayton Heights:

More on Metronews.ca