Midfield Mobile Home Park decision set for next month

A decision on how to deal with the remaining people living in the Midfield Mobile Home Park in Calgary has been reserved until Dec. 8.

Judge to rule Dec. 8 on whether the city's eviction notice was valid

Lawyer Mathew Farrell argued the city's reasons for evicting residents of Midfield Mobile Home Park were not legal. (CBC)

A decision on how to deal with the remaining people living in the Midfield Mobile Home Park in Calgary has been reserved until Dec. 8.

Residents of the community on 16th Avenue N.E., just west of Deerfoot Trail, were told in 2014 they would have to be out by September 2017, but a lawyer managed to get a court order delaying that until a hearing could be held Wednesday.

Lawyer Mathew Farrell, who is representing the residents, argues the city's reasons for the eviction go against the Mobile Homes Sites Tenancy Act.

Farrell says under the act, a landlord can only evict someone to repair, replace or improve a utility, or to use the land "for something else," and he says in this case, the city is only planning on removing the utilities.

"The thing that the judge is going to be deciding in this application is whether or not what the city did is wrong," he said.

"And in the event that the judge does decide that what was done was wrong, then there's going to be a whole big procedure in terms of determining how much each person is entitled to in compensation or what other remedies those people might be entitled to."

Possible outcomes

If the judge finds the evictions weren't valid, they can let the remaining tenants stay until the city does issue a valid eviction notice — and provide compensation to those who have already left.

However, if the judge determines they were valid, then the residents will have to leave.

Should that happen, the city has asked the residents be out by Dec. 15 while Farrell is asking they be allowed to stay until Feb. 15 of next year.

The judge could also find the residents' charter rights were violated and they were discriminated against by the city, which would mean they could receive additional compensation.

More than two dozen current and former residents attended the hearing at the Calgary Court Centre.

Marc Dufour was one of several current and former Midfield Mobile Home Park residents who attended a court hearing on Wednesday. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Among them was Marc Dufour.

"My mother and my father bought the place in 1980, she planned on retiring there, it was her home," he said.

"Now that she's 90 ... she's supposed to start over ... We're being treated like trailer trash."

Dufour said he and his mother have found another place to live but it is less than ideal compared to the mobile home park.

"We had to find a basement suite we're paying twice as much for. There's 12 steps my mother, at 90-years-old, has to go up. When we lived in the trailer, there were no steps," he said.

In September, it was estimated between six and 30 residents were still living at the park.  

The city has previously cited the high cost of fixing crumbling water and sewer infrastructure as the reason for closing the park, which was built in the 1960s and turned over the to city in the 1970s.

Calgary Housing Authority took over operations in 2001 and in 2008, a plan was approved by council to build a new park on 85th Street N.E. for the residents.

That was later abandoned and eviction notices handed out in 2014, with the city offering a lump sum of $10,000 per trailer and up to $10,000 each for moving expenses.

With files from Colleen Underwood