B.C. Liberals’ refusal to fund Community Safety legislation leaves Surrey neighbourhoods in fear

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August 19, 2015

SURREY— Problem properties in Surrey have neighbours living in fear with no immediate solutions in sight because the B.C. Liberals have turned their backs on funding a practical solution to protect the community.

Two single family dwellings that have been operating illegally as controversial lodging houses have become the source of an alarming amount of criminal activity including daylight robberies and violence which has resulted in over 100 police visits. Surrounding residents have resorted to barricading their homes and installing security devices. The City of Surrey is stuck in a zoning regulation court battle with the landlords of the problem homes – allowing crime, noise and nuisance issues to continue disrupting the lives of residents .

“It’s outrageous that the B.C. Liberals aren’t taking action to address this issue of problem houses and restore a sense of security for Surrey residents,” said Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston. “The government has legislation in place which could deal with this serious problem, yet they are refusing to fund it and therefore can’t implement it.”

In Spring 2013, the Liberal government brought in the Community Safety Act which is modelled on Ralston’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act that he had previously tabled in the legislature. The act authorizes a provincial response to target problem landlords and shut down properties where unlawful activities impact neighbours. This approach is already being used successfully in five other provinces.

“If the B.C. Liberals would only implement their own legislation, then the problems and danger that Surrey residents are facing could be dealt with directly,” said Ralston. “It’s shameful that the government promised to provide this practical tool to protect residents, yet refuses to actually implement it at a time when it is desperately needed.”

“It seems like the Liberals passed the Community Safety Act just for show before an election,” said Ralston. “The Justice minister even admitted in the legislature, when I asked her, that the Liberals have no future plans to fund or implement the legislation.”