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The City of Surrey is prohibiting people from staying in their RV while parked on a city street.

Surrey council voted five-to-four in favour of a bylaw allowing the city to tow vehicles or fine occupants if people are found staying in them from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Some councillors opposed to the bylaw find it a punitive measure against the city’s most vulnerable, namely the homeless.

I find this corporate report is challenging to a community that is just trying to manage,” said Coun. Brenda Locke. “I think there is reference in the report to shelter space being available. Shelter is not housing.”

Locke noted that 25 out of 27 instances are well-managed through the city’s current bylaw. She said it begs the question as to why the bylaw is necessary.

Coun. Stephen Pettigrew also said the bylaw was challenging and that the way it is worded, many vehicles would be caught under the description.

If there is a regular vehicle, say an SUV, and it had a utility trailer behind it, under this bylaw, this would now qualify as that type of large vehicle,” Pettigrew said. He also said a cargo van with a high roof would also be caught in this bylaw.

The motion was passed with Couns. Mandeep Nagra, Laurie Guerra, Allison Patton, Doug Elford and the mayor in favour.