Roughly 25 people held a rally outside Surrey City Hall on Monday evening to protest the proposed redevelopment of Park Mobile on King George Boulevard into a 12-storey multi-use facility as well as two independent living homes for seniors.
Residents in mobile park own their homes but pay rent for the land they sit on. Many of the protesters say the park is home to low-income and seniors, and if the city lets the developer go through with its plans, many will lose their homes and have nowhere to go.
Christine Bublitz and Paul McDermott have been living here in their manufactured home for the past 15 years. It's the perfect spot for the two roommates and their five animals, including Bublitz's guide dog.
'It's a pet friendly park, it's accessible to everything," says McDermott. "I can get to work to Vancouver and Burnaby and it's affordable."
For this pair, relocation would mean a mobile park in Chilliwack that allows for animals. The move would be challenging for Bublitz, who is blind.
'It would mean learning everything over again," she says.
'You have to write off your life and start all over again'
WestStone Group, the company that owns the land, says it will do what it can to help residents and has come up with a relocation plan. It says it will follow provincial rules and give residents 12 months notice of relocation as well as a year's worth of rent for the land.
Vice-president Bob Dominick says the company is committed to help each resident either relocate their home or buy them out.
"Part of the relocation assistance plan involves meeting with each family and accessing their needs," he says. "Everyone's needs are different and we'll try to meet all of them."
But that's not good enough for Bublitz and McDermott, who say a move for them would be devastating. They want the city to step in and deny WestStone's plans.
"You're starting from scratch and basically you have to write off your life and start all over again," says McDermott.
City council has passed the first step of approving developer's plans. It will hold a public hearing in the fall. It's also asked staff to update an existing bylaw on the provisions a company has to meet if it wants to develop on mobile park land, including rules around relocation for the existing tenants.