British Columbia

Dozens of seniors forced out of their Surrey, B.C., manufactured home park

A developer plans to build 137 townhouses on Fraser Highway near 158 Street, which means dozens of seniors who currently live on the site will have to leave.

Residents of Green Tree Estates in Fleetwood have to be out of their homes by the end of 2019

Bob Potter, 87, has lived at Green Tree Estates in Surrey for nearly a decade. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Bob Potter likes to joke that the 1926 Model T Ford in his driveway is the only thing he owns that's older than him.

Potter, 87, has lived at Green Tree Estates on Fraser Highway in the Fleetwood area of Surrey for nearly a decade.

"I expected it to be the last house I ever owned," he said.

"Things change and you gotta go with them."

The manufactured home park that Potter and dozens of other seniors call home will soon be replaced with townhouses.

A developer has bought out all of the homeowners in the park and everyone has to be out by the end of next year.

Potter's neighbour, Richard Porta, says he can't afford to stay in Metro Vancouver, so he'll likely move to Chase, B.C.

Porta says he'll likely have to give up his guitar repair business when he leaves.

"In the Greater Vancouver area, I have access to a lot of secondhand guitars," he said.

"In Chase, that will be greatly reduced."

Bob Potter stands next to the classic car he rebuilt. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)


Property owner Ted Dawson told council at Monday's meeting that he's doing everything he can to help residents find new places to live.

"Every single resident has chosen to enter into a legal and binding agreement with the applicant for the purchase of their manufactured home," he said.

"We're going to have spent over $11 million on tenant relocation."

Councillor Vera LeFranc says the city is trying to strike a delicate balance between increasing housing density along transit corridors and protecting affordable housing stock.

She says it recently added new rules to protect mobile home park residents.

"It's really, really important that those residents get treated with dignity and respect," she said.

"I'd say Surrey's rules are the gold standard in the region."

Roz Bailey says she'll miss the birds, trees and quiet of Green Tree Estates after she leaves. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

Time to go

Longtime Green Tree resident Roz Bailey — who previously served as president of the Surrey Manufactured Homeowners Association — plans to move to Vancouver Island.

She has family in the area but she fears many of her neighbours won't have anyone to look out for them when they leave.

"My neighbours are the best ever," she said.

"It's nice to have familiar things around you."

Potter doesn't know where he's going to go yet, but he says he's not going to lose any sleep.

"I'm going to enjoy life," he said.

"Worrying about anything is a waste of time. My mother told me that when I was a kid."

If you are interested in housing affordability, check out CBC's new podcast, SOLD! Host Stephen Quinn explores how foreign investment in real estate divides community, class and culture. Find it at CBC Podcasts or Apple Podcasts.