Sent to: Elaine McMurray (Raging Grannies)
Sent by: Debby Kok
I recently read an article in the July issue of the Kerby News about the "Raging Grannies" and their efforts in the name of social justice. It seems a very unique and interesting way of drawing attention to some serious concerns. I was hoping I might prevail upon your group to consider assisting the 173 families living in Midfield Mobile Home Park in our struggle to remain in our homes.
Midfield Park has been in the news, off and on, for several years, and has become more so in the last few months. I do not know if you are familiar with our situation, but essentially our community of homeowners here ( yes, most of us do own these mobile homes), have become an awkwardly inconvenient nuisance to the City of Calgary administration and Council as we are in the way of the 'Winston Heights Mountview Area Redevelopment Plan' (ARP). This plan is for a new, expensive, multi-use, mid-to-high density, mixed income community property development, and we are not welcome as a part of it.
In 2009, council approved the funds for the"GO FORWARD" strategy to acquire land for the development of a new mobile home park for the Midfield Park residents to relocate. Land was purchased for that express purpose to the tune of $26 million dollars (plus some highly questionable fees). As of 2010, we were still being assured by the City of Calgary Office of Land Servicing & Housing Project Manager, Carol Ann Beswick, that we would "have the opportunity to move to a new mobile home park, which is to be completed by late spring 2012", and "to help assist with moving expenses and associated costs, a financial subsidy will be provided". This was echoed by city council. It didn't happen then, and was extended until the new park "East Hills Estates" could be completed. Granted, this property off 84th street east and south of 16th avenue was a horrible location (wet, marshy, near sour gas wells and the crematorium, no transit service, one unimproved access road in and out and no amenities, facilities or stores anywhere nearby), but it was at least an option. After the 2010 election, the new council, including Mayor Nenshi continued to assure us that the East Hills Estate park was still a "GO FORWARD" strategy. And we were reassured time after time, in various letters from our new councilor (Gian-Carlo Carra) and the Office of Land & Housing project manager (Carol-Ann Beswick), that we would be relocated, guaranteed a pad in East Hills Estates, and would be provided a financial subsidy to assist with costs. Numerous letters reconfirmed these promises, even going so far as to state that the rights to a pad in the new location and the financial moving allowance would be transferable from the current owner to future purchasers of a mobile home in Midfield. Then on May 27th, 2014 residents found eviction notices taped to their doors. Midfield was to be closed in September of 2017, the $26 million dollar purchase was no longer going to be used for East Hills Estates, there would be NO relocation for the community, and no offer for our homes to be bought out at all (though we could qualify for a possible "closure payment" maximum of $10 thousand, an amount that works out to pennies on the dollar against a fair and equitable market value assessment). We were stunned.
Midfield is comprised largely of seniors living on a fixed income/pension. Some are veterans, who are in their 80's and 90's. We have young families looking to get a start by making an affordable purchase in today's real estate market. Many have purchased homes here so they would be able to afford their fast approaching retirement and still eat. There are some low income families as well. The financial burden this callous action imposes is horrendous -- completely beyond the ability of being met, not to mention the emotional impact of forcing a move on people who have lived in this location for as long as 40 years. In a city with a 1% vacancy rate, and NO vacant mobile home park lots,where would we even move to? We are a community -- 173 families, whose lives are being devastated by a city council who doesn't give a damn. To quote the letter I submitted to facebook on June 22/14: "What it all comes down to is this: when compared to land value profits, a community is of little consideration or worth, and the people within it even less, no matter what platitudes are spouted so frequently and with such sincerity at City Hall. "Actions speak louder that words", and city councils actions in this regard speak volumes, none of which is to their credit. So much for city promises."
If you feel you may be able to offer us some advice or assistance in our ongoing fight for fair and honourable treatment, please let me know. If you would like more information about Midfield Mobile Home Park and the people who live here, please visit our website at : midfieldpark.ca You will find links on the Contact Us page for "facebook" and "gopetiton". On the Residents page, there is a video link that expresses what life here means to them. There is also a video on the Midfield in the News page with Jon Lord, examining the difficulties being experienced with the city at that time. I hope you will take a few moments to check them out.
Thank you so much for any help you may offer and for taking the time to read this email.
Posted on August 1, 2014
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