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Court orders Surrey man to undo extensive home renovations made without permits

A file photo shows a statue inside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C. A file photo shows a statue inside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C.

A Surrey man who repeatedly ignored orders to stop unpermitted construction work on his property is facing yet another one.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey B. Gomery issued his decision in the case of Amrik Singh and Dhami Enterprises Ltd. on June 24, but it wasn't published online until this week

In the decision, Gomery gave Singh 90 days to demolish all of the unpermitted structures that he had constructed on the property, remove all of the unpermitted fill he had added to the land, and plant 16 trees to replace those he cut down without permits.


The illegal construction began shortly after Singh purchased the property on 82A Avenue in late July 2021, according to the decision. The work involved the expansion of both the main house and a shed on the property, "extensive landscaping," drywalling, electrical work and plumbing, according to Gomery's decision.

"He has deposited materials on the banks of Enver Creek, some of which has fallen into the creek," the judge added.

Singh did not seek or receive permits for any of the work, according to the decision.

By Aug. 5, 2021, the city had begun posting stop-work orders on the property, which Gomery noted "were taken down, probably by Mr. Singh or someone acting on his behalf, soon after they were posted."

City bylaw officers continued to note evidence of construction at the site, and in September 2021, the city applied for and received a temporary injunction from B.C. Supreme Court, prohibiting Singh and his agents or employees from conducting any more work on the site or occupying any structure on the property.

Work continued, however, according to Gomery's decision. On Nov. 17, a city official observed "arrangements" being made to pour concrete at the property.

"He spoke with Mr. Singh and reminded him that he was not allowed to do any work," Gomery wrote in the decision.

"Mr. Singh said that he would not. Later that day Mr. Lalari (a city official) attended and saw that concrete was being poured and spread by workers. Mr. Singh was present. Mr. MacLeod (the first official) arrived and saw that fresh concrete had been poured since his attendance that morning."

Singh was arrested for breaching the court order. His wife and child were also in the house and were escorted from the property, according to Gomery's decision.

"It was plain that they had been living there," the judge wrote. "There was food in the refrigerator and bed linens on the beds."

Singh was released from police custody with conditions, including that he abide by the terms of the injunction.

City officials continued to see signs that the home was occupied through spring 2022, as the city brought another court case against Singh seeking to make the injunction permanent and order him to undo the unpermitted work.


In his defence, Singh argued that he "never intended to violate" the city's bylaws or building codes, and that he was willing to resolve the matter out of court, according to the decision.

Gomery wrote that he did not accept the homeowner's assertion that he didn't intend to violate city bylaws, noting that Singh was "repeatedly made aware" of the rules and the injunction, but persisted in doing the work anyway.

"He deliberately chose not to comply with his obligations, probably in the hope that he could get away with non compliance by presenting the City with a fait accompli or possibly because he simply could not conceive that his actions would have consequences," the judge wrote.

Singh also argued that he was just continuing work on the property that had been started by the previous owner.

Gomery found that argument similarly dubious. He noted that a photograph of the property taken by a neighbour on July 21, 2021, showed that work had not yet begun.

"It makes no sense that the former owner would have undertaken substantial costly work in the five days before Mr. Singh acquired the property on July 27," the judge wrote. "What would it benefit the former owner?"

Gomery also noted that evidence arising during the hearing showed that Singh was still living in the home, despite this being illegal because the home has no occupancy permit, as well as a direct violation of the court's previous order.


Though the city initially asked Gomery to order Singh to apply for demolition, soil-removal and tree permits before completing the work of undoing the illegal construction, the judge found this approach to be lacking.

"In view of the history of this matter, I would anticipate substantial difficulties in monitoring compliance with such an order," Gomery wrote.

Instead, the judge settled on the order giving Singh 90 days to undo his illegal work. Gomery also awarded the city its court costs, and said he would have awarded special costs if the city had requested them.

"I want to say one more thing," the judge concluded. "Mr. Singh, you must leave the house. You must leave the house. You have been ordered not to occupy it. It is a contempt of court to be there. The city could have taken a much more aggressive position with you. Had it asked me for an order finding you in contempt of court, I would have had no choice but to find you in contempt, and the consequences would have been very serious." Top Stories

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