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Trailer park closure disrupting lives

Morgan Gaudet is still reeling from the news of the closure of Heritage Trailer Park. She is currently trying to secure a plot of land to relocate her 14-year-old mobile home.
Morgan Gaudet is still reeling from the news of the closure of Heritage Trailer Park. She is currently trying to secure a plot of land to relocate her 14-year-old mobile home. - Millicent McKay

Residents wait in limbo while city council debates acquiring property

SUMMERSIDE – After nearly two months, residents of Heritage Trailer Park in Summerside are still reeling as they try to sell or relocate their mini homes before the park’s closure in November.

“We’re all pretty much in the same state. We’re angry, we’re sad and we’re frustrated,” said Morgan Gaudet.

Gaudet moved into the park in January. She said she had been looking at two different mobile homes, one in Heritage Park and the other in Woodridge Place.

“I guess I chose wrong,” she said.

She put all of her savings in to her home and is trying to find the money to pay a company to move it and pay for a lot to put it on.

“Other couples in the park are having to take the best reasonable offer, and often they aren’t reasonable. The couple across the street sold theirs for $500 and then got $700 for their oil tank.”

And while Summerside city councillors continue to debate stepping in and saving the park, Gaudet is worried they won’t come to a decision before the park’s closure.

“Their first discussion was about stepping up and helping us gain six more months. But the sign that was recently put up that says the park closes in November makes it pretty clear we’re not getting more time.”

She added, “But we all appreciate that they are looking into it and trying to find a solution.”

Residents of Heritage Trailer Park are not the only Canadian residents to go through situations like this.

In 2013 a Surrey, B.C., trailer park was urging local government to enact stricter laws that would better protect tenants of manufactured-home parks.

In April of this year, the B.C. government changed its Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act to make it harder for landlords to evict trailer park residents. It also increases the compensation tenants would receive if their park closed or were forced out, and landlords would have to compensate former tenants who were displaced due to a planned redevelopment that didn’t proceed.

In addition, landlords would pay additional compensation if a home can’t be relocated and it also waived disposal costs and required the landlord to give a 12-month notice period in order to end a tenancy.

A representative from P.E.I.’s Department of Family and Human Services released a statement this week saying the provincial government is aware of the current situation with the Heritage Trailer Park.

“Although it relates to privately owned land and municipal bylaws, the department of Family and Human Services has been in touch with the city of 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 B.C. legislation to see whether best practices could be applied here in P.E.I.”

Pamela Deltor, another Heritage Park resident, has put all of her money toward buying an acre lot off Linkletter Road in order to relocate her mother’s 45-year-old trailer.

“Now I’m putting everything else that needs to get done on credit cards and a line of credit.”

She added, “It’s been a really stressful time. There’s been hemming and hawing from council and backlash from the community… But really, we want to work to protect the other seven trailer parks in the city. If they don’t think this will happen to them, they’re wrong.”

Deltor’s mother is in her 70s and Deltor is her caretaker. She says her mother has lived in the park for 42 years.

“She’s devastated.”

Millicent.mckay@journalpioneer.com

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