Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city has no plans to redevelop the land at Midfield Mobile Home Park when it’s shut down in three years.
Calgary’s mayor was responding to residents who are angry about the city’s decision to close the northeast trailer park by 2017 rather than invest millions to fix deteriorating 40-year-old water and sewer lines.
“We had to make the decision on what to do, and how to be fair to those residents completely independent of any decision on the future of the land,” the mayor told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.
“Council and I have been very clear on that point, that this cannot be clouded by any decisions about what happens. Will the land be developed some day? Yeah. Will that happen anytime soon? No.”
Rudy Prediger, president of the Midfield Mobile Home Cooperative, said on the Calgary Eyeopener a day earlier that he suspects council has simply been waiting for the most profitable time to sell the land to developers.
Prediger also accused city officials of excluding residents from meetings about the park’s future.
'They want all the power'
“They don’t want to recognize our co-operative because they want all the power,” he said.
“If they did that to 400 or 500 people in the city here there’d be a war, but we’re just trailer trash as far as they’re concerned.”
The city is offering a lump sum payment of up to $10,000 to cover the cost of moving a trailer and individualized help from housing consultants.
But Prediger said that’s inadequate.
“Well, everybody’s upset. I spent three-quarters of an hour with a lady, she’s 87-years-old and she was crying all the while,” he said.
“You know, she can’t afford to move it. They’re saying there’s an allowance of $10,000. Well $10,000 wouldn’t move mine to the gate.”
The Calgary Housing Company has managed the park since 2001.
According to Nenshi, the way in which the park was originally constructed makes fixing it too challenging at this point.
“The challenge is the infrastructure is really failing. And the way the people who built that park, before the city ended up with it, built it was such that the pipes are directly under the mobile homes,” Nenshi said.