Midfield mobile homeowners hoping Syrian refugees might help mitigate losses

Some mobile home owners at Calgary’s Midfield park are hoping Syrian refugees could be the ticket to getting fair market value for their homes when the city shuts the park down late 2017, says an owner.

Northeast mobile home community closing next year with some owners taking a big loss with city’s current offer

Some residents of Midfield mobile home community are hoping a proposal to house Syrian refugees will help mitigate their losses when the city closes the park next year. (CBC)

Some mobile homeowners at Calgary's Midfield park are hoping Syrian refugees could be the ticket to getting fair market value for their homes when the city shuts the park down late 2017, says an owner.

Keith Cole says a group of five owners have given the city a proposal that could be win-win.

"We are proposing to have members of the Midfield park here, the ones that want to sell their homes, they could sell it for fair market value [to the city] as opposed to the $10,000 that they are graciously being offered, and [then] using those homes for some Syrian refugee families." Cole told CBC News.

Keith Cole

"The location is central. There are stores, schools, hospitals, services, all easy access."

The city informed park residents it intended to close the property at 954 16th Ave. N.E. due to aging infrastructure in May 2014.

Mobile home owners have been offered a lump sum payment of $10,000 and up to $10,000 to cover the cost of moving the trailer.

Cole says having refugee families move in to some of the vacated properties would be a good solution for everyone involved, but he recognizes it's a short term fix to a larger problem.

He's hoping the city will consider the proposal, which has also been sent to all homeowners with email access, through handouts and social media.

"Let's be fair about this. You have decided that it is closing after saying that it was going to be moved," Cole said.

"Morally, I think if they were to pay fair market value for the homes that are here, that would go a long way … the majority are probably in the realm of $50,000 to $150,000 and $10,000, I don't think that is a fair offer."

A city spokesperson said the park closing is a done deal.

"Council made a decision to close Midfield. The Midfield closure program package was given to residents in 2014. The terms of this package are approved by council, and a number of people have already accepted this package and moved on from Midfield."

Still, Cole says he and other owners hope the city will reconsider.

"Shortchanged to say the least," Cole said of the $10,000 offer.

"I call it goodwill, others call it a slap in the face."

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