Trailer park flooded with problems

WHALLEY – At this point when the entrance to Park Mobile Court is flooded in five feet of storm water, residents scarcely bat an eye.

It’s been happening at this Surrey trailer park since the first tenants set up their manufactured homes on the property just off King George Boulevard and 96th Avenue about 20 years ago.

“It’s been happening since 1996 and the culvert’s got to be fixed,” said Roger Foster, whose home is located at ground zero of the flood. “What else can I say? It’s neglect on the landlord’s behalf and the city knows all about it. You know, they just put their hands up.”

Quibble Creek and Cable Creek both collect storm water that runs into the trailer park during a rainfall, leading to a small culvert that bottlenecks the volume before it reaches Bear Creek. That bottleneck usually means the bottom of Foster’s home is a raging river of runoff debris and dirty water.

The water has damaged his newly renovated deck and is rotting the wooden frame under his house. Foster said to properly fix the problem his trailer and two others would need to be relocated and he doesn’t think anybody will pay to make that happen.

Foster said he’s spoken to the landlord

numerous times and is always promised something will be done.

“Oh I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it. Since 1996 I’ve been hearing that.”

The park is owned by Skore Holdings, a company owned by Gurmukh Gill, who serves as a landlord. Residents have been trying to get him to widen the culvert to prevent flooding for years.

Last year, Carrie Baron, drainage and environment manager with Surrey’s engineering department, told the Now the city has had problems with Gill since he bought the park in 1995. Nobody from the city was immediately available for comment about the most recent flooding.

Gill could not be reached for comment. In an August 2007 article in the Now, the Whalley site was rife with drug dealers and prostitutes. It took a complaint filed by 17 tenants with the support of the Residential Tenancy Branch to order Gill to repair the infrastructure and do something about the illegal activity.

In response, Gill ordered eviction notices to those who filed complaints.

Sue Hammell, BC NDP MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, said she was at the trailer park on Sunday and described the water flow as “shocking” and “unbelievable.”

“It was high and when you went behind the mobile home where the water flowed

into the municipal culvert then followed to the road it was like a raging waterfall,” she said.

Hammell said the city has been aware of the problem but has not found the “tools or the will” to ensure the work gets done. The city has reportedly sent work orders to the landowner but nothing ever gets done.

She said the owner needs to maintain the property to safety standards but if he refuses to do that then the city needs to impose penalties.

“It seems to me that they need to take action. There’s been no consequence. I mean, that to me is the issue.”

Foster suggested the city won’t get involved because the creeks are fish-bearing and would require approval from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But he resents being ignored nonetheless.

“We’re all taxpaying citizens and we deserve the rights and regulations that are done and approved by the city. And our landlord to who we pay a pad rent here, you know I expect to be treated like a human being.”

Foster said the flooding is dangerous for a host of reasons, not least of which being children playing outside.

“If it rains out and it’s flooded out you can drown. The power lines can come down and electrocute you.”

At this point, Foster said he hopes somebody can buy out his trailer so he can get set up in a new one. He sounds skeptical that will ever happen.

“But I’m not going away until the problem goes away.”

amacnair@thenownewspaper.com With files from Jacob Zinn