WATCH: Residents of Thetis Lake Campground in View Royal are worried they’re going to lose their homes and they’re getting ready to ask some tough questions at a View Royal town hall meeting Tuesday night
Don Dobbie bought his mobile home at Thetis Lake Campground nine years ago, but recently he decided it’s time to sell.
“It’s been my first kind of starter house, and you know it was a good opportunity at the time but it was never going to be a forever place from the word go,” said Dobbie.
But when he went to put his place up for sale he started running into problems — a realtor told him he couldn’t list it because the campground’s future was uncertain.
Earlier this year the Town of View Royal approached the campground’s owner, telling him the property is in contravention of town bylaws prohibiting mobile homes.
“You’re not supposed to stay consecutively there for more than 60 days in one year and clearly there are permanent residences there,” said View Royal Mayor David Screech.
Screech said the town has no plan to evict tenants in the campground, which has existed for more than 70 years, but it is discouraging any sales.
“To sell their mobile homes to a new owner that then is not in compliance I think is a very difficult situation and we really would recommend against that,” he said.
For Dobbie, that’s meant a significant drop in the value of his home, which he originally priced at $89,900.
“I’ve just knocked it down to $49,900, so a $40,000 hit,” he said.
“At this point a new owner would likely have to move the house off the land.”
For other tenants, there is growing fear the land is about to be sold, and they’ll be forced out.
“How long have I got and where else can I go? That’s about all I can ask,” said Ian Etheridge who plans on attending a town hall meeting with View Royal town council Tuesday evening.
Emily Seinen has lived at the campground for 34 years. It’s where she raised her three children.
“It’s home, it’s got all our memories here, most of our married life it’s here,” she said.
The tenants said they would like View Royal to adopt a bylaw like Langford’s, which forces fair compensation for evicted mobile home owners.
But the mayor said that’s unlikely.
“It’s difficult for us to adopt the same bylaws as Langford has because they’re not mobile home parks, they’re campgrounds, and that’s a very distinct difference,” said Screech.
He said there is interest in the property from a developer, but so far no rezoning applications have come forward to council.