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Surrey asking NDP for legislation to fight catalytic converter theft B.C.-wide

Mayor Brenda Locke brought the motion forward Sept. 11 and council voted in support Oct. 16

Surrey council directed city staff on Monday to ask the provincial government to bring forward legislation to “combat” catalytic converter theft throughout B.C.

Mayor Brenda Locke brought the motion forward on Sept. 11 and council voted in support of it on Oct. 16.

The mayor noted there is “currently an absence of robust province-wide regulations to address the problem” and called for a “legislative framework” to deal with it.

In April council tweaked the city’s Scrap Metal Dealer Regulation Bylaw, Business License Bylaw and Surrey Municipal Ticket Information Utilization Bylaw and Surrey Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw in an effort to curb local thefts. Among actions taken were to raise the maximum fines under the scrap metal bylaw to $50,000 from $10,000.

READ ALSO: Surrey urging B.C. strategy to fight catalytic converter theft

Surrey’s plan was conceived in January, when catalytic converter theft was significantly on the rise and made up almost 45 per cent of thefts from autos in this city.

Coun. Doug Elford told council he “personally chased a guy down the street stealing a catalytic converter” from his neighbour. “It can be done easily on bikes, very quick and very painful to the victims so I fully support this motion, but knowing how the Province works it may sort of drag this out and I’m wondering if we have done something or we can do something within our own bylaws to assist, just expedite things.”

Acting city manager Rob Costanzo replied that city bylaws were amended earlier in the year to “address the situation.

“The issue beyond our municipal borders would require the municipalities to enact similar bylaws which could be very difficult given the vast number of municipalities beyond Surrey,” Costanzo said. “So the concern is you can steal a catalytic converter in Surrey and sell it in Langley, for example, so the purpose of this motion would be for the Province to enact its own legislation to ensure it’s aligned with our bylaw that would allow us to more readily move forward and ensure that we can prevent this sort of issue from arising across B.C., not just solely in Surrey.”

Coun. Linda Annis said she’s hearing from “several reputable recyclers” who are “running into difficulties” with Surrey’s bylaw as currently written “because they’re getting massive truckloads of scrap that may have a catalytic converter or two in the mix and they’re losing a lot of business because those trucks are being re-diverted to other jurisdictions.

“I know there’s several major recyclers here in Surrey that are quite concerned about that so the sooner we can encourage the provincial government to get this fixed the better it would be.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

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