Summerside council considering new options for mobile home park

Summerside city council heard a new plan Tuesday night to help the residents of a mobile home park slated for closure.

Summerside mobile home park has 21 tenants

Residents of Heritage Park were told in May they had six months to leave the property. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Summerside city council heard a new plan Tuesday night to help the residents of a mobile home park slated for closure.

The park's owner, Heritage Park Mobile Home Sites, told tenants in May the park would be closing and they would need to leave by November, giving the six months notice required by law.

They have the residents at heart, that's why they're doing it.- Coun . Tyler Desroches

At a meeting last month, council voted in favour of requesting the landowner give tenants an additional six months to vacate after voting against the idea of expropriating the land.

Coun. Gordie Whitlock presented a notice of motion at last night's committee of council meeting recommending council continue to ask for the six month eviction extension.

The city is looking at several different options to try and help residents of the mobile home park. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

He also asked council to begin negotiations with the landowner to purchase the property.

Whitlock says the motion brought forward yesterday was "softened quite a bit."

"At the last council meeting the emotions were running pretty high. We had talked about basically forcing the owner to sell through expropriation and obviously everybody's had a chance to think about that including myself," Whitlock said.

"Now what we're trying to do is simply to strike a deal with the owners of the trailer park to extend the six month period of eviction ... and then second of all enter into good faith negotiations with the owners to see if they are interested in selling the property to the city."

Exploring options

Whitlock said city staff have met with the park's owner regarding the extension and sale, as well as getting an appraisal done.

"We need to decide whether or not we're interested in purchasing the land," he said.

"And if we do obviously, it would be for affordable housing at some point in the future but in the present state it would allow the remaining homeowners to remain in their home." 

'It's just so unfair, cause these folks have nothing, there's no legislation and no help,' says Coun. Gordie Whitlock. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Councillor Tyler Desroches says he's glad to see the committee has softened their approach but would like council to consider other options before approving the plan.

"They have the residents at heart, that's why they're doing it," he said.

In this case it's just so unfair, cause these folks have nothing, there's no legislation and no help.- Coun . Gordie Whitlock

Desroches said he has had residents express concerns with the idea the city would buy the park.

"It's where does it stop? You're getting into an aspect that is not really city protocol but morally we should be doing something," he said.

"It's a slippery slope. Everybody feels for the residents that are out there, that have lived there for 40 years some of them, and they're having their life pulled out from under them."

'Just so unfair'

Desroches says he hopes with more debate, a solution that is palatable to everyone can be found.

"It's good to see the changes made and myself I'd like to see it tweaked a little more, the motion, and when it comes to the floor in two weeks time hopefully we can come to common grounds and figure something out for them," he said.

Coun. Tyler Desroches says many residents have come to him with concerns about the idea for the city to buy the park. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Whitlock says he is hoping a solution can be worked out that helps residents but is fair to the owners as well.

"I'm not against private owners developing their lands as they see fit, I have no issue with that obviously, it's a free country. But in this case it's just so unfair, cause these folks have nothing, there's no legislation and no help."

The motion will be officially presented to council at its next meeting on July 16th where councillors will vote to approve or deny the plan. 

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With files from Brittany Spencer