COLUMN: Surrey needs solution for RV park residents

A development proposal in South Surrey brings up many important questions requiring answers, writes Frank Bucholtz.

A development proposal in South Surrey brings up a larger question – how best to preserve affordable housing in an era when skyrocketing house prices and a limited stock of rental housing are making it harder to make monthly mortgage or rent payments.

Lark Projects Ltd., a longtime and respected Surrey developer, is in the process of having the Seacrest Motel and RV Park at 864 160 St. rezoned for a 22-lot detached residential development.

The proposal was first floated by Lark 10 years ago, but was turned down by Surrey council in 2007.

The Seacrest property contains 11 manufactured homes and also has 35 RV sites – many of which are occupied by people on a year-round basis. It also has a 12-unit motel.

The people occupying the RV sites have been given a month to vacate the property. The notice was given on Aug. 31, so they need to be out by the end of September. RV owners are on month-to-month contracts to occupy their spaces at Seacrest. Lark has promised to give RV owners a month’s rent back, if they move out this month.

The situation facing manufactured homeowners is a little more complex. Kirk Fisher, vice-president of Lark, said it hopes to reach an agreement with all 11 manufactured home owners before the rezoning proposal bylaw goes to second reading at council. It has reached an agreement with six so far.

Owners of manufactured homes often cannot find another place where they can move their homes to. There are a limited number of manufactured-home parks in the Lower Mainland, and a number of them have been closed over the past 20 years and the properties put to other uses.

While they have better protection from a sudden eviction than they used to, there are many complications involving manufactured homes. In Surrey’s case, a set procedure for vacating manufactured home parks is outlined in a bylaw, which Lark is complying with.

Surrey Manufactured Home Owners Association’s website lists 21 parks where it has members. Most are located in South Surrey, Fleetwood and Newton. The largest one, Breakaway Bay on 160 Street in South Surrey, has 345 manufactured-home spaces.

For many people, this is the only type of accommodation they can easily afford. The cost of buying a unit is quite low, and owners then pay a monthly rental for the space they occupy and other services. There are significant social benefits to living in such parks, and most people who live in them wouldn’t live anywhere else. There is a strong sense of community.

In the past, people have said such forms of housing are particularly needed in South Surrey, where apartments, townhouses and detached homes are more expensive than in other parts of the city.

The RV owners who must vacate Seacrest may be in even more challenging circumstances.

They have chosen to live in units meant for short-term stays, and it may prove difficult to find another place for the long-term. The fact that there are so many at this one small park indicates the depth of the housing challenges facing many residents.

The Seacrest proposal probably makes sense, given the size of the property and the age of the motel. It is surrounded by detached homes and such a development would fit right into the neighbourhood.

However, Surrey council and planners need to give much more thought to where those who live in manufactured homes and RVs can go when such a park closes. Existing manufactured-home parks, particularly large ones, need to be kept intact so that people enjoying this type of housing can continue to do so.

The alternative would be both chaotic and expensive, and for some, it could mean homelessness.

Frank Bucholtz writes Wednesdays for Peace Arch News. frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Proposed Marine Drive zone aims to make use of small lots ‘more efficient’

CR-3A zone discussed during White Rock’s first virtual public information meeting

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read

l -->