SUMMERSIDE – It may be the first sigh of relief residents of Heritage Trailer Park have released in months.
During Monday night’s Summerside City Council Meeting, a new alliance comprised of several community groups, organizations and initiatives announced a fundraising campaign aimed to provide a little bit of relief to residents of the closing mobile home park.
“We’ve all been through so much this is like a breath of fresh air,” said Sue Campbell, a former resident of the park.
“At the beginning of this, we were all lost in space. Now it feels like people are stepping forward and willing to help us,” she added.”
Shortly after the meeting began Don Reid, a representative of the Summerside Lion’s Club, presented to council as the chairman of the Heritage Park Community Response Committee with a goal of $100,000, which will be raised through a series of fundraising events, and ending with a gala dinner in October.
“As it is right now, everyone has been able to find an alternative accommodation. What we’re trying to do now, fundraising, is to help them financially and reimburse them for what they’ve incurred.”
Reid estimates, if the $100,000 goal is reached, the owners of the 21 mobile homes will receive about $4,700 to help with the cost of a move.
Reid is a resident of another mobile home park in the city. He says what the residents of Heritage Park have had to go through certainly hits home.
“It lets you know the reality of where you’re situated.”
Summerside Mayor Bill Martin said the call to action was heard by this first-time alliance of community groups and that the initiative is welcomed.
“The municipality was in a difficult position. We don’t have any jurisdiction over housing. And we also need to be mindful of precedent of what we set is binding of potential future councils and the other mobile home parks in the city.”
He continued, “Now where the real rubber meets the road, not by us because our part is done largely, is with the committee. It’s this service club alliance and I’m excited. I think this will speak volumes not only to the residents of Heritage, but to the community.”
Martin says he isn’t sure the amount of money that will be provided to the campaign by the city but said there would be a number of in-kind services.
He added saying the situation has added precedent to ensure that there are safety measures in place to prevent the same thing happening to other trailer parks in the city and the Island.
“Some of these folks have lived there 40 years, and they can’t move their trailers. Everything they have is tied up in the little piece of real estate surrounded by flowers, gardens an what have you. And it’s tragic. This situation has raised the issue. It’s unfortunate we had to go through this to get there, but at least we’re there.
“We’re not the only municipality with mobile home parks. They’re from tip to tip.”
Pamela Deltor, a soon to be former resident of Heritage Park, says the fundraising campaign is huge relief to her, her mother and other residents of the park.
“Nobody is going to be homeless now.”
Deltor, who stays with her mother as her caregiver in their Heritage Park home continued, “This experience has definitely brought us together and made us this one tight unit.”
And while the funds will be raised and Deltor says she is thankful for the money that will help her and other residents, she says now is the time to call for more legislation.
“One of the things we asked for from day one was that legislators change the laws to protect other park owners. There are seven more parks in the city. And if they close there would be no where to put them.
“It’s never been about the money and asking for cash. It’s about the fact that you can’t do this to other people… If legistlation is changed to protect the 2,000 mobile home owners in this city, that’s the biggest win for me.”
To donate to the GoFundMe go to www.gofundme.com/heritage-trailer-park for more information on the fundraiser, head to the official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Trailer-Park-Fundrasier-Page-298314544058579/.