Sent to: Naheed Nenshi, Joel Armitage
Sent by: Nikita Scringer
Hello Joel and Mayor Nenshi,
As a resident of the Midfield Mobile home park, I have stood by for the last month and let a number of my neighbors in the community speak out on how we are being treated as second class citizens.
I am fully aware of the stigma that a trailer park receives, and who wouldn't be. There are TV shows created to mock the lifestyle, and that influence what the general public thinks about them.
However, as a young 25 year old resident who was hesitant to move to the park for that very reason, I have to tell you that the stigma is all wrong. Lets face it, there is "trash" in every community. Its the people that make a place, not the place itself.
Midfield Mobile Park is a community in itself. I was born and raised in Calgary, lived in many communities, but never have I felt so part of a community before moving to Midfield. People are friendly, and you need not worry about going on vacation as your neighbor will keep a watchful eye on your house. As you drive around the park in the summer, you see flower pots everywhere, children actually playing outside instead of glued to the TV, and elderly residents out walking their dogs along the convenient dog park path. I am a newer resident, but am still amazed to hear stories of people living in the park for over 35 years. What also amazes me is the fact that we pay over $500 rent to have the park "maintained", however I do not see the maintenance first hand. Empty lots have been left to over grow with weeds. Snow plows maybe come twice over the long Calgary Winters. Large trees are uprooting and damaging yards, however we are told we cant remove them. Why cant this money be put to better use?
On the Calgary Housing Website it states that you have a program titled "Civic Engagement through Coordinated Support" , with a focus of onsite community development, however I have never seen such events held in the park. We have ample empty lot spaces that could be used for community gardens, but instead they are not kept and look "trashy". How could I blame anyone driving through the park for thinking its trailer trash when the landlord has no vested interest in maintaining the property.
Now, after years of back and forth with the city, residents are told we have to be out in 3 yrs. The city is offering counseling services, and up to $20,000.00 for eligible residents for moving costs and a parting gift. My question is did the city consider the cost of having a contractor move the trailers, if they can even be moved? I can assure you the cost is more than $10,000.00. Does the city consider that many of these trailers have mortgages tied to young start up families, or older working couples who can finally renovate and build their dream home. With no vacancy at any other city park, what are these people to do. Many (I would say about 70-75%) of the parks demographic is seniors. Empathize with me for a minute and imagine your grandma, who has lived in her house for 40 years. You have spent much time there visiting and making memories. Then, as she is in her fragile years of life, the city is telling her she must uproot with no place to go. She is on a fixed pension, a widow, and lives well below her means already. She is unable to pack up her house, as the bones in her body are deteriorating. She has so much stuff in her house than she knows what to do with. Her and her neighbor have been friends for over 20 years. They play cards, maybe drink tea together. The thought of uncertainty is weighing heavily on the both of them and affecting sleep and overall help. Now would you not want to do everything in your power to help your grandmother? 12 hours of counselling service simply does not cut it.
I understand the failing infrastructure is supposedly the biggest concern with the land that the mobile park is built on. I also know that there are many communities in Calgary who suffer the same. Is fixing the infrastructure in these communities a concern. No of course not, they aren't sitting on a piece of land that the city wants to get its hands on to make more tax money. And yes, I already know that in these other communities the pipes are under the roads, therefore making it easier to fix. But I don't see any urgency to fix these areas!!!
This letter was meant to express the feelings of a concerned tenant, but also to put forward some creative solutions. The Calgary Housing Mission Statement says "Calgary Housing Company serves the community by being best in:
- Delivering safe and affordable housing solutions to meet the needs of Calgarians not served by the market place,
- Advocating and coordinating support services,
- Fostering community inclusion and pride of home, and
- Creating an environment that fosters opportunity for residents to reach their full potential."
I think that there is a way for the city to acquire the land, but for the residents to stay in a home which many of them thought would be their last move in life. I would love the opportunity to share my ideas with you on the phone or in person. Seeing as how you are the President of CHC, I thought it may be something that you would take into consideration.
On a final note, one of the best things about being 25 is that I still have drive in me and the gusto to fight for my rights. Please note I plan on starting a petition on Change.Org, rallying all of my networks in Calgary and creating as much awareness on what you are doing to my family as possible.
I look forward to your response
Posted on September 24, 2014
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