SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – What started with strife and heartache has turned into new beginnings for some residents forced from their homes at Heritage Trailer Park in Summerside.
“It’s not quite home yet, but I know that will change once we get settled in,” said Morgan Gaudet, a former resident of the trailer park located just off Water Street.
Gaudet was a vocal resident of the park, calling for fairer treatment and more time when residents received notice earlier this year that one of the city’s mobile home parks was closing.
In mid-May, residents of Heritage Park were given six months to vacate. The park is set to close on Nov. 30. The park is in need of significant infrastructure upgrades that were deemed too expensive by owner Steve Malayny.
“It’s been a hard time. I’m glad it’s over and done with, but the damage is still here. I’ll still be in debt because of this move,” Gaudet said.
Residents quickly learned that moving their homes or finding new places all together would be hard not only logistically, but also financially.
In many cases it cost people anywhere from $7,000-$10,000 to move their home.
“You don’t know anxiety until you see $60,000 worth of house strapped to a flatbed teetering from side to side,” she added.
After urging community members, city councillors and others for help, an alliance was formed by a handful of groups in Summerside, forming the Heritage Park Community Service Club Alliance.
“It was in September that we publicly announced our alliance,” said Don Reid, the chairman of the group, which includes the Kinsman Club of Summerside, Rotary Club of Summerside, St. Eleanors Lions Club, Summerside Lions Club, Y Service Club, Summerside Christian Council, City of Summerside and the province.
“We also announced our plans for multiple fundraising efforts to financially help the residents of Heritage Trailer Park, some of which would be left without a place to go if we couldn’t help in find accommodations.”
There are a couple of residents still in the park and a handful of homes have been left deserted, because they could not be moved due to structural reasons.
The group is hoping to raise about $110,000 for the residents.
Reid says projections show they are raising about $106,000. This estimate comes a handful of weeks before a gala dinner, silent and open auctions organized as one of the fundraising efforts.
A GoFundMe page has been started as another fundraising initiative.
Now Guadet and her roommate, Jen Welsh, are trying to move forward.
“I miss the old park, it was like a family, but I’m really looking forward to getting to settle down and really make this place ours, because we never had the chance at Heritage,” said Welsh.
“I hope it acts as a lesson, so this never has to happen to anyone else," Gaudet added. "I hope legislation is put in place before someone else faces this.”
Pamela Detlor’s mother lived in Heritage Trailer Park for more than 40 years. Now her mini home is on a plot of land in Linkletter, which Detlor bought.
While she wishes more was done to help the residents of the park while they fought for more time, she said any help was welcome.
“We’re out on our new lot. We’ve got some repairs that need to be done, but we’re thankful we had a place to go,” she said. “We’re extremely grateful for their fundraising. Every little bit will help. It’s been a long six months and my mom and I are looking forward to some down time.”
For more information on the Heritage Park Community Service Club Alliance go to the Facebook page by clicking here.