Signage throughout the city impedes Surrey’s Sign By-Law

Signage throughout the city impedes Surrey’s Sign By-Law

If you’re planning to put up a sign for your business or service somewhere in Surrey, you may want to double-check where you place it.

Photo Credit: Oscar Coisne

Signs on poles are not permitted.

The Surrey Sign By-Law states: “No advertising signs shall be tacked, posted or otherwise affixed to the surface of any structure, tree, pole, hydrant, bridge, or fence owned by the City or utility companies.”

If you drive around anywhere in Surrey, you’ll see all types of signs: Taxes, garage door repairs, money loans, restaurants, long distance calls, touring, day cares, mortgages, real estate, and many more. Councillor Bruce Hayne, from the City of Surrey, states retailer sandwich board signs are becoming ineffective, because many of them are accumulating on the streets. Some signs are also blocking traffic signs.

Woodland Furniture blocking a traffic sign.

In 2014, the by-law was revised to be more comprehensive for others. The City of Surrey tried to get the word out that the by-law had changed and what the expectations were.

The real estate industry probably utilizes public signs the most out of all industries in the city. Hayne says it’s been a hot real estate market for the past couple of years. Outdoor signage is one way for realtors to draw attention to themselves, but it’s become problematic. There are many individuals who are a part of this major industry, but a lot of them are self-employed, and are trying to vie for everyone’s attention. To attract people to their company, realtors may also want to put up direction signs for open houses. This creates escalating sign wars in the industry. Surrey poles and structures are also getting cluttered with these signs, too.

Because most of the signs around Surrey are for real estate, it may be a question for people if The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVB) and The City of Surrey have done anything about it. Councillor Hayne says the FVB was helpful in revising the by-law and is usually compliant with the City’s restrictions with posting signs on poles. There may be a few individuals who aren’t following the rules, but overall, FVB has tried to be cooperative with the signage regulation.

FVB’s Board President, Gopal Sahota, says that they take signage regulation seriously and have taught their members to follow the rules in their business.

“As by-laws that are created and primarily enforced at the municipal level, it is the responsibility of our association to reinforce those rules and ensure that our members are professional in all aspects of their work,” Sahota says.

While increased signage may still be an issue for the City of Surrey, people can download the “Surrey Request” app to register complaints with the city, including ones regarding signs. All they have to do is snap a picture of the sign, geotag where it is, and then the proper department will follow up with the issue. If it’s a bigger sign, the city will send the engineering department to come pick it up. Haynes says if the owner wants the sign back, they’ll have to pay a fine. He hopes discussion surrounding the signage regulations and bylaw will help motivate people to follow the rules.

“If we can achieve compliance just through discussion and education, that’s far more preferable as opposed to handing out fines all the time,” Haynes says. “We need the public to help us.”

If you’d like to download the “Surrey Request” app, you can get it for free on Google Play or the App Store. Visit for more details.

About The Author

Daniella Javier

Daniella Javier is a third-year journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. Since she was 10-years-old, she’s wanted to become a journalist. Writing has always been her greatest passion. Daniella’s favourite part about interviewing is that she gets to meet new people each time. She prides herself on her ability to listen to others and to hear their thoughts and concerns. In her spare time, Daniella loves to travel. One day, she hopes that she can combine her two passions – cruising and writing – and to be able to write for a cruise line. She continues to stand on this motto: “Find a career you love and never work a day in your life.”

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