Tenants of a Whalley trailer park say they are tired of waiting on their landlord to properly drain several creeks on the property that are prone to flooding.
Cory Schimpf, who has lived at Park Mobile Court on King George Boulevard near 96th Avenue for 14 years, said he's gotten minimal response from landlord Gurmukh Gill in regard to fixing the drainage of the creek behind his home over the last six months. The park's three creeks run into Bear Creek, but if they're clogged, they pose a risk of water damage to homeowners.
"We've had trailers flooding in here, trailers falling into the creek side," said Schimpf. "We've had major floods in this whole trailer park and whose responsibility is it when it comes down to it? Nobody wants to take any responsibility."
In late November, following weeks of rain, Schimpf personally unclogged the culvert of the creek behind his home before it overflowed.
And with the recent downpour across the Lower Mainland, the creek at the front of the property filled up, causing the creeks that run into it to subsequently rise to risky levels.
In late 2012, under the impression that one of the three creeks belonged to the City of Surrey, Schimpf contacted the city's environmental department for their assistance. However, since all three creeks are on private property, it's not the city's duty to ensure the creeks are properly maintained.
"The only time we go in is if there are floods or fires, trying to make sure people are safe," said Carrie Baron, drainage and environment manager in the city's engineering department. "We can't go in and do modifications to his site."
"They're putting the onus on the park owner," said Schimpf. "The park owner is reluctant on putting the money out that he needs to put out to maintain the proper standards."
In November, Schimpf said the landlord was was in India and was hard to reach.
Noemi Masi, a tenant who helps the landlord with onsite duties, said Tuesday that Gill was still out of the country.
Masi said Gill is aware of the flooding issues and said she would call him to do something about the residents' concerns.
Baron added that the city has had problems dealing with Gill in the past, ever since he bought the park in 1995. In the summer of 2008, residents experienced health issues after raw sewage leaked from the park's sewer system and collected under one trailer, forcing its tenants out temporarily.
"We've approached the landlord before about getting us right-of-ways, having trailers in proper spots," said Baron. "He's not interested in it. He knows it's his responsibility."
Schimpf is concerned for the well-being of his family and neighbours if the creeks aren't properly maintained. He said floodwaters from previous backups have already damaged the bases of numerous trees that are now leaning.
One resident said four trees have fallen on her property in two years, with two of them damaging sheds behind her home.
"It's a high risk for everyone that lives here," said Schimpf. "Nobody should have to live in fear like this."
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