Darlene Fox and Roy Mercer pose for a photo at their South Surrey 'home'.

Darlene Fox and Roy Mercer pose for a photo at their South Surrey 'home'.

Eviction deadline looms for homeless South Surrey couple

South Surrey's Roy Mercer and Darlene Fox believe plans to develop a neighbouring property are behind an order for them to move on.

This weekend, for the first time in about 10 years, Roy Mercer and Darlene Fox may be more than just homeless.

“We’re going from homelessness to street people again,” Mercer said Wednesday. “Having to sleep on top of each other to stay warm – we know all about it.”

The couple, who call a forested patch of private land in South Surrey home, learned late last month that they would have to move on. Told that the city had received a complaint, they were given until Nov. 1 – this Saturday – to leave.

As of Peace Arch News’ press deadline Wednesday, it remained unclear if the order would be enforced.

But Mercer said he and Fox were trying to prepare for it nonetheless – Mercer even started a full-time job this month, working with heavy equipment in Richmond, but had to give it up after a week due to difficulties with depth perception.

“Boy, was I mad,” he said, adding he will continue part-time work loading trucks.

The couple say they would reject any offer of shelter beds.

This week, officials at Surrey’s Hyland House – a program of Options Community Services that offers emergency shelter and support to the homeless – promised to arrange for a bin “in the next few days” that they can use to clear the myriad items they’ve collected or built over the years.

The balance is to be put in storage.

Mercer and Fox believe that plans to develop the property adjacent to where they have been staying are central in the push to move them along. But they’ve yet to hear specifics about the complaint that triggered the order.

The couple has not relied on income-assistance or any other government help in the past, and said they do not plan to start now. Mercer said looking for a new “home” is complicated by the steps they take just to survive. Everything they need to do – collecting scrap metal and bottles, for example – they do at night, all the while keeping an eye on area businesses.

Mercer worries that crime in the area will increase if he and Fox aren’t around to take care of things.

He said he has the skills for a variety of jobs, he just needs an opportunity to prove himself.

“I’m really good at mechanics – I can fix just about anything,” he said.

Peter Fedos of Hyland House described the couple as “self-sufficient.”

Citing confidentiality, he said he couldn’t get into specifics of their case, but did say that whatever happens, they won’t have to live on the street and changes will be made at a pace they are comfortable with.

“That’s home, and I get why,” Fedos said. “They feel safe there.

“We’ll go as fast as Roy wants to go.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock council say closure of the city’s pier, promenade and parking lots are not under consideration at this time, but have approved other COVID-19 options for the waterfront including stepped-up RCMP patrols that are already part of detachment planning. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock pier, promenade, parking lot closures off the table – for now

Council members warn decision subject to future provincial health orders

It remains to be seen how tourism dollars announced this week will help in White Rock. (Sterling Cunningham file photo)
White Rock officials question if tourism relief will come soon enough

For business, budget ‘feels more like a placeholder,’ says chamber head

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
South Surrey, White Rock MLAs call Tuesday’s provincial budget ‘disappointing’

MLAs Stephanie Cadieux and Trevor Halford say residents are getting less for more

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

Canadian money (Black Press Media files)
Surrey, Burnaby residents to pay $141K for their part in U.S.-based Ponzi, pyramid scheme

B.C. Securities Commission says the two raised about US$15M from more than 1,400 investors

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
BREAKING: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Most Read