Nowhere to go

Her­itage Park res­i­dents an­gered by clo­sure of mo­bile home park

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY

There’s a sense of shock and heart­break among the com­mu­nity of Her­itage Park in Sum­mer­side.

“I’ve been in this neigh­bour­hood for 30 years. Up the road there’s a woman who’s been here for more than 40. We’re los­ing our home, our fam­ily,” said Brenda Gal­lant, one of the res­i­dents of the mo­bile-home/ trailer park.

Last week tenants of the park re­ceived a no­tice let­ter from the park’s owner, Steve Malayny, ad­vis­ing land renters of plans to close the park re­quir­ing all tenants to have their homes out of the area by Nov. 30.

“Our trailer won’t be able to be moved be­cause it has a flat room on it. We haven’t been able to find a park that’s will­ing

to take us be­cause of that. This place was sup­posed to be our re­tire­ment. Now we’ve got no

place to go.” Malayny has owned the park since 2000. Cur­rently there are 22 mini-homes in the area. Cur­rently, the city’s by­law only al­lows mo­bile homes to be placed in des­ig­nated parks and not on other res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties. Even though there are eight parks in the city, most of them have a wait­ing list for new tenants.

Mor­gan Gaudet moved into Her­itage Park in Jan­uary after months of sav­ing up to buy her mo­bile home.

“I wish I had been told or warned be­fore buy­ing my home. It would have saved me a lot of time and has­sle.” Gaudet’s mo­bile home is 14-years-old, young in com­par­i­son to some oth­ers in the park. “I don’t know what I’m go­ing to do or where I’m go­ing to go. I’ve been ad­vised by my bank that I can try to sell it early, but I’d have to take about a $20,000 loss be­cause it will need to be moved out of the park.

“And if I were to keep it, I can’t bor­row any more money to buy a plot of land and then in­stall it, so ei­ther way I’m go­ing to pay for a house I don’t even have.

“It’s been the most ex­pen­sive five months in my life,” she said.

Some res­i­dents be­lieve many of the homes won’t sur­vive a haul.

Sue Camp­bell, 73, has been liv­ing in the park for six years. She still owes $22,000 be­fore her mo­bile home is paid off.

“It’s all I’ve got,” she said sti­fling tears.

“The thing is we can’t stop this. And we see his point and we un­der­stand his right to close the park, but six months isn’t enough.”

Gaudet agreed.

“It’s cer­tainly a big dis­ap­point­ment. I’m mad­der for the se­niors that live here than I am for my­self. Most of their liveli­hood has been put in th­ese homes.”

Derek Key, a lawyer with Key Mur­ray Law, spoke on be­half of his client, say­ing Malayny is aware of de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in­fra­struc­ture in the park, in­clud­ing, sewer lines, wa­ter lines and elec­tri­cal sys­tems. “Ul­ti­mately, he was faced with the de­ci­sion to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture re­place­ment, which is pri­vate in a mini­home park, and if he was pre­pared to make that kind of in­vest­ment. Ul­ti­mately he was not.”

After care­ful as­sess­ment, he made the de­ci­sion that it prob­a­bly was not a wise in­vest­ment, said Key.

“He’s given ev­ery­one pretty near seven months no­tice to find an­other lo­ca­tion or make other ar­range­ments, be­cause he will have to shut down the in­fra­struc­ture given its cur­rent con­di­tion.”

There are 11 va­cant spots in the park.

While tenants like Gaudet and Gal­lant are scram­bling to make ar­range­ments, some have filled out pa­per­work and sub­mit­ted it to Is­land Reg­u­la­tory Ap­peals Com­mis­sion, hop­ing they will get a rul­ing that will pro­vide them with more time.

City of Sum­mer­side CAO, Bob Ash­ley, says city coun­cil and staff are aware of, and con­cerned about the up­com­ing clo­sure of the Her­itage Park Mo­bile Home site. “We have started in­ter­nal dis­cus­sions to as­sess the im­pact on mo­bile home own­ers and the city, the op­por­tu­ni­ties and con­straints of pos­si­ble ex­pan­sions of pre-ex­ist­ing sites, zon­ing, and any other re­al­iz­able op­tions which may emerge as we ex­am­ine of this sit­u­a­tion.”

MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Es­ther Lavi­o­lette, left, 82, with daugh­ter Brenda Gal­lant. Both are res­i­dents of Her­itage Park in Sum­mer­side. Lavi­o­lette and Gal­lant are fac­ing a six-month time­frame of try­ing to find a new place to live after re­ceiv­ing a let­ter stat­ing the owner...

MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Mor­gan Gaudet, 22, bought her mini-home in Her­itage Park in Jan­uary. An ex­pen­sive five months later, she is fac­ing tak­ing a $20,000 loss to sell the trailer or make other ar­range­ments be­fore the park closes.

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