Manufactured home owners rally for stronger rights at Surrey city hall Monday

SURREY — A Surrey group is inviting manufactured homeowners to join them as they rally for better treatment at city hall Monday night.

The Surrey Manufactured Home Owners Association (SMHOA) are calling for protection and stronger rights for those living in mobile and manufactured homes as Park Mobile, a trailer park at 9525 King George Blvd., is up for redevelopment.

The application will go to first and second reading at council Monday night.

“People have used their life savings to buy a home – now they are being forced out with nowhere to go and without adequate compensation – this is wrong,” said SMHOA CEO Kandas Hufsmith.

The group says more than 100 residents will be affected, some who have lived in the park for nearly 50 years.

WestStone Group, the company behind the redevelopment, proposes to build a $250 million senior’s facility. All told, there would be 422 senior’s units at various levels of care as well as a medical research centre and offices.

Click here to read more about the proposal.

Bob Dominick, VP of WestStone Group, said the company has “zero intention” of making anyone homeless.

He said he finds statements that people will be left homeless “very disturbing” and the company will “work way outside of the tenant relocation program to ensure that everyone is relocated.”

“We’re not demons, we’re not developers trying to build luxury condominiums. We’re trying to put something into the health care system in Surrey that caters to the needs of the community,” he said Monday before the rally, noting Fraser Health projections show an increase in Surrey’s senior population of 70 per cent over the next decade.

“The byproduct of that, of course, is having to care for the people we’re relocating. Many are just going without any question at all, but many will need help. We’re a very caring, concerned company. We’re not an evil developer.”

The SMHOA, formed in the ‘60s, says there are approximately 1,529 manufactured homes in the city. Pad rentals range from $350 to $950, the group says, with an average annual increase of four to five per cent. This is squeezing out some renters, especially seniors, they say, as they can’t afford the ever-increasing cost.

This is why they are furious to see another trailer park be seemingly destined to see the wrecking ball.

They are calling on the City of Surrey to increase compensation for tenants when parks are redeveloped, address zoning issues and to create a standards of maintenance bylaw specifically for manufactured and mobile home park owners.

Read the Now’s Thursday edition for a more in-depth look at this issue.