Frank Bucholtz

AND FRANKLY: Manufactured-home dwellers among hardest hit by densification

Government has no plan in place to help those displaced in drive to densify along transity corridors

The high cost of land and the continued densification of much of the Lower Mainland has caused plenty of dislocation and angst, but perhaps some of those most affected live in manufactured homes. It seems no one is looking out for them.

Two more manufactured home parks in the Newton area have recently been sold for future development, and within the next few years all their residents will be looking for new accommodation. Others have been sold and redeveloped in recent years, notably a large park on Fraser Highway in Fleetwood, where large multi-storey buildings are now under construction.

There will be some mitigation measures to assist residents, but the bottom line is they will be forced out over the next few years.

The words of some of the residents of the Newton parks tells the story.

“It’s super affordable living here, and we don’t want to move, but we’ll have to,” said Diana Brum, who loves at Crispen Bays, a 192-unit park on King George Boulevard. “With the economy the way it is, how are we going to find something else that’s so affordable? Definitely not in Surrey.”

Susan and Larry Foulds moved to Crispen Bays in 2018. They had lived nearby in a home for 35 years, and they were hoping to stay in the park for 20 years.

“There are many people here who are very stressed. You can’t rent anything for $1,100 a month like here, which is actually quite high for a mobile home park, “ said Susan.

“It’s going to be very, very hard for a lot of people.”

A letter to residents from Dawson & Sawyer, the company that bought the two parks, stated “The rezoning will supply large amounts of housing at some of the most affordable rates in the Lower Mainland. The current density of this property is too low to support planned transit improvements. Building for sustainable and higher density communities along important transit corridors is supported by the goals and policies of the federal, provincial and municipal governments.”

Bingo. All three levels of government are actively working to displace people from affordable housing, and have no real plans to provide something to take its place.

No parks are being built for manufactured housing.

Millions are being spent on tiny units to help reduce the number of people who are homeless, but little thought is given to what actually leads to homelessness.

Some people have physical and mental challenges which make finding a home difficult, but many who find themselves without a home simply can’t find anything that is affordable.

This situation is getting worse with rampant inflation, and particularly with the sharp rise in housing prices over the last two years.

Meanwhile, the federal government wants to bring between 430,000 and 450,000 new residents to Canada this year, 2023 and 2024. Most of them come to the urban areas of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, and their arrival puts even more pressure on the housing market. If manufactured home owners (who own their homes, and rent the pads) are this expendable, how many others will get tossed aside like trash in pursuit of goals that will price even more people out of their homes?

Do not hold your breath waiting for answers from politicians.

Frank Bucholtz writes twice a month for Peace Arch News and at frankbucholtz.blogspot.com

City of SurreyColumndevelopment