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Surrey man fighting city hall over ‘crazy’ drilling

‘The shockwaves impact you, you know, not only the sound,’ Richard Porta says
A view of Surrey City Hall. (File photo)

Fleetwood resident Richard Porta is being driven to despair by drilling at a construction site behind his home and says the City of Surrey is failing to ease his frustration.

Porta says a developer is digging an underground parking lot for a townhouse project behind his complex, near 156 Street and Fraser Highway. “First week of July, basically, is when the drilling started,” he told the Now-Leader on Sept. 30. “This will be going on for the next two years.”

At one point, he said, he couldn’t make a phone call from his den. “My windows were vibrating.”

“General construction noise doesn’t bother me – it’s that horrendous 1940s rock drill that they use that doesn’t have any baffles on it and it just rattles, it’s crazy,” Porta said. “The shockwaves impact you, you know, not only the sound.”

“Listen, I emailed five city councillors a week ago,” Porta said, adding he “finally” got a response from a bylaw officer after “11 weeks or whatever” of complaining.

Still, he said Friday, “the drilling went on for six hours yesterday.”

“They start work at 7 a.m., is when the machines start up, and the drillers have been starting a little bit later than that.”

Porta says the racket typically continues until about 3:30 p.m.

“What’s interesting is the same bylaw officer was in here and took a complaint about somebody using a leaf blower or power washer. So they want to enforce it against somebody in the park doing maintenance yet they won’t enforce it against a machine that’s a hundred times as loud and disturbing many more people.”

A letter from a Surrey bylaw enforcement officer dated Aug. 16 to a unit in Porta’s complex notes the Cityof Surrey received “concerns” about “ongoing maintenance equipment including pressure washers, weed wackers and other motorized equipment.” The letter cites Surrey’s Noise Control Bylaw, that “prohibits noise that disturbs the neighbourhood,” and warns that “Every person who is found in contravention or in violations of the By-law is liable to penalties. Fines can be imposed from $100 to $2000 for each offence. Each day that a violation exists is considered a separate offence.”

As for the construction drilling?

Rob Costanzo, Surrey’s general manager of Corporate Services, sent an email to Porta on Sept. 29 acknowledging that a bylaw officer contacted Porta on Sept. 23 to follow up on his complaints. “As I understand, the office explained to you that there was nothing that can be done regarding the construction noise given that it is occurring during regular business hours within the permitted times for construction activity and that this is a major construction site in which noise will occur (given that construction activity is occurring),” Costanzo wrote to Porta.

“To this end,” Costanzo continued, “the City permits construction to occur generally between the hours of 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, including statutory holidays, and no construction is permitted on Sundays. From my understanding, the property owner is in compliance with these provisions.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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