A majority of Seacrest Motel and RV Park residents that were going head-to-head with a developer over plans to redevelop the park have decided to take a settlement package and relocate from the property.
Peace Arch News talked to several residents last Wednesday – some of whom have decided to soon relocate from the property – as a crew started to demolish the 12-room motel situated on the lot; none wanted to be identified publicly.
Of the 17 RV owners living on rental pads last fall, only four have refused to sign settlement packages as of this week, according to Lark Projects Ltd.
Lark wants to redevelop the 864 160 St. property into 22 single-family lots. Currently, there are 35 recreational vehicle (RV) sites, 11 manufactured-home sites and the remains of the 12-room motel.
Last year, on Aug. 31, Lark gave RV residents one-month notice to vacate the property.
The following month, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner told the residents to stay put and wait for a judgment by the Residential Tenancy Branch, and the RV residents put together a committee that would fight the developer over the definition of ‘manufactured home.’
Under the provincial government’s Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act, owners of manufactured homes who pay pad rent to the property owner must receive 12-months notice of their final moving date. The residents must also be paid the equivalent of 12 months rent.
A majority of the RV residents said they believed they qualified for the same treatment given to the manufactured-home owners.
Of the RV residents that initially decided to go through the RTB process, approximately 13 have decided to take a settlement from Lark and leave the property.
“A lot of the people settled because they didn’t want to risk going to the RTB,” said one resident, who made the decision to stay and go through the RTB process.
“All of our evidence supports it and supports a win.”
Kirk Fisher, vice-president of Lark, said the company will pay 12 months rent and help cover moving costs of RV residents if they voluntarily move.
“Not because we think we’re going to lose, we think we’re going to completely win. We just think that’s fair. People have lived there a long time and we want to be able to cover their costs to relocate.”
However, if the RTB ruling sides with Lark, “we don’t have to pay anything to anybody. They just leave.”
Fisher said the next RTB meeting is scheduled for Feb. 9.