A letter writer says an honest discussion about secondary suites in Surrey is needed in order to resolve the contentious issue.

A letter writer says an honest discussion about secondary suites in Surrey is needed in order to resolve the contentious issue.

Confront the secondary suite problem

In the last few months, there have been numerous letters complaining about the lack of enforcement of pre-existing secondary suite bylaws. Not surprisingly, the new bylaw asking people to get “permits” for secondary suites in their houses has been a failure, so people are now lamenting that as well.

However, the underlying problem regarding the controversy over illegal suites is that nobody wants to address the elephant in the room.

If we’re going to get to the root of the problem, we need to act like adults and admit that race plays a major role in the city’s inability to enforce the law. Let’s be honest, many of the secondary suites tend to be owned by one ethnic group.

It seems to me that the city is petrified that it will look like it is singling out and discriminating against one ethnic group if it cracks down on secondary suites.

This may sound politically incorrect, but I honestly feel that the owners of illegal suites sense the “white-liberal guilt” of city council and continue to ignore the bylaws because they know that the city will never make a sincere effort to stop them.

I’ve lived in Surrey for a number of years and I’ve sensed racial resentments and anger simmering beneath the surface as one racial group seems to get a free pass when it comes to obeying the bylaws.

The owners of illegal suites get to pad their incomes (tax free) while other citizens have to work even harder and sacrifice in order to make ends meet. The owners, of course, claim that they need to accommodate “extended families” as part of their culture, but by now most people in Surrey know that’s not really the true intention behind building large homes with suites.

If we’re going to solve this problem, we need to be completely honest and get everything out on the table.

For the good of the entire community, the city needs to make a tougher stand against illegal suites before the problem worsens and resentments finally explode.

Mohammed Sahib, Surrey

Surrey Now Leader