Chandra Lal (left) and Richard Porta are two of approximately 80 people who are on the hunt for a new home, as their Fleetwood manufactured home park is being redeveloped to make way for 137 townhomes. (Photos by Amy Reid)

OUR VIEW: The future lives in Surrey, sure, but what of the present?

We must be careful what happens to the city in the name of progress

Increasingly we hear about people losing their homes because a business wants to develop the land they’re on, or landlord greed, or government requires their property for a public project.

We see buildings go up, roads being built.

Progress, it’s called.

As the City of Surrey’s motto has it, the future lives here. Swell. But that’s cold comfort to Surrey’s Roz Bailey, and others like her, who must leave their homes – and in some cases even their city – because they no longer fit in with someone else’s big picture and can no longer makes ends meet in what their city is becoming.

Bailey is among roughly 80 residents of a Fleetwood manufactured home park – some of whom have lived there for 30 years – who must now find another place to live because, ironically, a developer wants to build homes on the land they occupy.

“In the City of Surrey it’s all very well and good to say the future lives here,” she said, “but somehow there’s also the present that lives here, too. There’s a lot angst.”

See also: Dozens of Surrey seniors relocating after city OKs manufactured home park redevelopment

See also: ‘Inevitable’ demise for many manufactured homes in Surrey

There is something to be said about a society that pushes long-time residents out of their homes in the name of progress, and it’s not very nice. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

It is also true that the greatness of a city can be judged by the way it treats its long-time residents, many of them seniors. Buildings and other infrastructure are important, but human beings more so.

We can’t lose sight of that.

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