SUMMERSIDE – Summerside city council is asking the provincial government to evaluate current legislation that governs mobile home parks.
At the Monday night council meeting, Coun. Brian McFeely, who currently occupies Ward 3: Green’s Shore – Three Oaks, put forward a resolution urging the provincial government to update legislation to provide mobile home park residents with increased protection and compensation.
Councillors approved the resolution unanimously.
“The city has no legal jurisdiction over [Heritage Trailer Park]. So were trying to find a way to help them,” said McFeely.
Heritage Trailer Park falls under his ward's jurisdiction.
The first step was to ask the owner of the land for a six-month extension. As of yet no extension has been granted and Heritage Trailer Park is set to close this fall.
“Right now, it seems there is no housing available, so we are hopeful that an extension would give them more time.
“We’re trying to do something. I’ve met with some residents, council has met with community groups and we’re trying to narrow down some ideas. Like I said, we are hopeful, but these things take time.”
While residents understand the process of saving the park is long and tenuous, they can’t help but be frustrated by the situation.
“I’m extremely frustrated. This is the third council meeting I’ve been to. And while I’m on board to help other parks, they’re doing nothing for the residents of Heritage Trailer Park,” said park resident Pamela Deltor.
“The clock is ticking, and it feels like they they’re going to let it run out of time.”
Deltor says the situation is dire.
“If we have the councillors talking, community groups talking, provincial representatives talking, and no one is committing to anything where does that leave us.”
Morgan Gaudet, another Heritage Trailer Park resident, says the steps taken by city council are in the right direction.
“It sucks that it probably won’t be in time to help us. But at least for every other person or family moving into a trailer park in the city, they won’t have to worry about what we’re going through.”
Nancy Quinn, a resident of Ward 3 and current and a candidate for the seat in the upcoming fall election, attended the council meeting.
“Regulating mobile trailer parks is currently done at the provincial level and by IRAC. So clearly if there is a change that needs to happen that’s where it is.”
She added, “But this is the exact time that city council, community organizations, provincial government and IRAC should take a look at existing legislatures and forestall other issues.
Prince Edward Island isn’t unique to the situation facing Heritage Trailer Park residents.
In April of this year, British Columbia provincial government changed existing legislation to better safeguard against situations like Heritage Trailer Park.
The Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act now makes it harder for landlords to evict trailer park residents, increases the compensation tenants would receive if their park closes or were forced out, and landlords would have to compensate former tenants who were displaced due to a planned redevelopment that doesn’t proceed.
In addition, landlords would pay additional compensation if a home can’t be relocated and it also waived disposal costs and requires the landlord give a 12-month notice period in order to end a tenancy.
Earlier this month, July 4, the Journal Pioneer reached out to the department of Family and Human Services for comment on the situation facing park residents for a separate follow up story.
“Although it relates to privately owned land and municipal bylaws, the department of Family and Human Services has been in touch with the City if Summerside regarding tenants who have not yet been able to make other arrangements. Those discussions will continue, and government is also taking a look at BC legislation to see whether best practices could be applied here in PEI,” read the statement.
Moving forward, McFeely says council plans to continue to meet with community groups and work to help residents of Heritage Trailer Park.