Two city councillors won't resign after it was discovered their properties don't meet zoning requirements
Two Surrey city councillors are in hot water this week after it was discovered that both of them have an illegal suite in their home. The City of Surrey does allow secondary suites, but only after they have been properly inspected and granted the necessary permits.
According to the PeaceArch News, councillors Tom Gill and Barinder Rasode have basement suites in their Surrey homes which they have not reported to city officials. Mayor Dianne Watts also has a suite, but she has already obtained the necessary permits and filed all those records with city officials. Watts states that she currently doesn't rent out her secondary suite.
What does Watts think of her colleagues not reporting their suites to city officials? Here is what she told the PeaceArch News:
At the end of the day, I think it's important to hold up rules and regulations. I will certainly have a conversation with Councillor Gill and Councillor Rasode about it.
There are apparently 20,000 secondary suites in Surrey, but only around 1,500 are considered legal. In her defense, Rasode states:
I pay extra utilities and taxes. I have not in any way, shape or form violated my oath of office. I understand the perception in that technically, it could be said there is not proper zoning. The zoning might not be the proper zoning, but there's nothing illegal about it.
Gill was also quick to defend his actions:
I rented it to a fellow, and he asked if he could sublease it, and I didn't have a problem with it. Do I see the problem there? I absolutely see the problem there. And I was doing my darndest to get out of this situation. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get out of the predicament....
I was really trying hard to get out of this house, and I knew I was off-side
According to the local paper, Gill has been trying to sell the property but has been unable to due the downturn in the housing market. Neither elected official has indicated they plan to step down as a result of this week's revelations.