Mobile home park in Summerside closing, leaving residents with few options
'We brought up all our families and everything here and now we don't have a place to go'
Morgan Gaudet remembers as a child playing in the mobile home park in Summerside, P.E.I., where she now lives.
"It's sentimental because I spent a lot of time here in my childhood," Gaudet said. "So I thought if I was going to buy a home I might as well look locally in Summerside and whenever I saw this place here I fell in love with it."
Everyone is just floored and upset and worried and it's just a financial burden.— Tanya Winchester
Gaudet saved up and took possession of a mobile home in January.
Now, working two jobs to help pay for the mortgage, she will have to find a new site for her 14-year-old mobile home after receiving a letter May 10 from the park's owner, Heritage Park Mobile Home Sites, that it plans to close down the park.
'Risking losing everything'
The owner gave the 21 tenants, mostly mobile home owners, the six months' notice required by law.
"It's devastating," Gaudet said.
"The people here are some of the sweetest people that you could ever meet. They have been here longer than I have been alive and now half of them are risking losing everything that they've had over the last two, three decades. Their homes, where they have raised their families, where they are raising their grandchildren," she said.
'It's my home'
Brenda Gallant has lived in the park for almost 30 years.
"It's hard, we brought up all our families and everything here and now we don't have a place to go," Gallant said.
She's been trying to find a spot for her mobile home but she said because of its age and condition, she has not been able to find a park to move to.
"It might not be much to somebody but it's my home and I worked hard for that home and now it is gone," Gallant said.
The letter that advised the tenants was signed by owner Steven Malayny.
It states infrastructure deterioration as the main reason behind the park's closure.
Speaking on his client's behalf, lawyer Derek Key with Key Murray Law said that Malayny was clear when he purchased the park in January 2000 that he was not planning to keep it open as a mobile home park. Key pointed to the 11 vacant spots in the park.
"It is one of those unfortunate circumstances where there is no winners," said Key.
"Either there is going to be a significant capital expenditure ... to maintain it as a mini-home park or something else has to be done and I think after a dozen years of thinking about it Steve has made the decision that it is probably time to move on to something else."
Expensive to relocate
There are currently eight mobile home parks in the city of Summerside, but after calling around, some Heritage Park tenants have heard there are wait lists.
Some tenants also said they have been quoted between $5,000 and $9,000 by movers to relocate their homes.
The city of Summerside has a bylaw that will only allow mobile homes to be placed in mobile home parks and not on other residential properties. The other option for tenants would be to purchase land outside the city.
Some of the residents said they are appealing to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
"We understand that it is his park and if he decides to close it, it is his decision," said park resident Tanya Winchester.
"I am just hoping that the residents here can get an extension, some more time ... Everyone is just floored and upset and worried and it's just a financial burden that has been strung on everybody and six months just seems so quick."