Lisa Greenwood-Fonyo

Tenants told to leave complex

Up to 30 residents now without a home; city says, ‘We’re not in the business of evicting people.’

Residents of a North Surrey apartment building were given as little as 24 hours to vacate an apartment block in North Surrey last week.

Tenants at Kwantlen Park Manor, located at 12975 106 Ave., say members of Surrey’s bylaw department, Surrey RCMP and a private security firm came to the building early on Thursday, Aug. 4 and told them they needed to be out.

City officials say that claim is not accurate.

“We are aware of this property, but this (incident) is strictly a landlord-tenant issue,” said City of Surrey spokesperson Oliver Lum. “We’re not in the business of evicting people.”

In 2015, the building was condemned due to health concerns, however various suites were still being lived in by low-income tenants, who according to one resident, were pitching in and helping to fix the premises.

The 30-suite apartment complex, located across the street from Royal Kwantlen Park, has been the subject of multiple bylaw violations in the past. In 2012, the landlord at the time, Gurdyal Singh Sahota, was fined $115,000 for ignoring several orders to remove mould in the building and to repair water damage.

According to resident Lisa Greenwood-Fonyo, the 20-30 residents who were living in the building last week were told they needed to go. No official letter was provided.

“We have been working with the owners to offer a low-income housing community project for low-income people, homeless and drug addiction and they agreed as long as we did the necessary repairs,” said Greenwood-Fonyo.

Although all the renovations were completed according to Greenwood-Fonyo, some people began to move in but the occupancy permit had yet to be finalized.

“We were really trying for a community feeling,” she said. “People were doing really well so to drop this bomb on us after we’ve done all this work it was just, holy cow.”

“We we’re told we had five days to move out,” said one resident who didn’t want to give his name. “Where are they going to go with all of their stuff?”

The building remained vacant as of this week.

 

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