CALGARY – Calgary’s soon-to-be-closed Midfield Mobile Home Park got a celebrity mention from the Trailer Park Boys’ Bubbles on Monday, in a tweet urging the mayor to “stop destroying homes and lives in Midfield Park.” But Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Bubbles’ support won’t change the closure.
Nenshi responded to the tweet Wednesday, saying he’s not sure how much the Canadian character—whose real name is Mike Smith—knows about the city’s decision.
“I’m not certain that Mr. Bubbles is really well-educated on the policy around this decision, but as always, I appreciate his opinion,” Nenshi told reporters Wednesday morning.
Controversial city-owned Midfield park was slated to close in 2017 due to outdated infrastructure; the announcement was made last May after over a decade of uncertainty over its future.
Since then an online petition was set up to honour a 2012 promise to move the residents to a new mobile home park or “at the very least pay the Midfield homeowners a full replacement value buy-out.” The petition had 1,262 supports as of Wednesday afternoon, and was also tweeted out by Bubbles April 10.
Park resident Cindy MacDonald set up social media accounts for the park and circulated the petition. She said her reaction to Smith’s tweet was “teary-eyed shock and awe that he took the time to respond.”
“The good people of Midfield young and old alike are very grateful to Mike Smith (Bubbles) for his support, we are seeing smiles, twinkling eyes and hearing laughter that hasn’t been heard or seen much since the end of May last year,” MacDonald wrote in an email to Global News. “The stress of possibly losing homes we own is hard on us all and harder still for those who owe mortgages.”
MacDonald said the residents own their homes and rent the land they sit on, and suggested there are questions the city has yet to answer.
“We have paid lot rent and taxes for decades but it was never used for Midfield’s infrastructure upkeep, our infrastructure (if failing) could have been replaced many times over with that income – but it wasn’t -why?”
Nenshi said it was a tough decision for council but said he believes the city has been “very fair.” He said under landlord legislation, only 90 days’ notice was necessary but the city gave three years. He said the city isn’t required to give any compensation, but it’s giving $10,000 in cash compensation and $10,000 for moving.
It’s a decision that even Bubbles can’t change.
“There really is no ability to go back on this because unfortunately the infrastructure is failing and the infrastructure in that neighbourhood is built unlike other infrastructure in the city, in that the pipes are directly under the houses and the only way to get at the pipes is to move or jack up the houses,” he said.
“So you really can’t fix that for the whole community without getting rid of the community in the first place. …We do need to make sure there are affordable options for people to move to and that’s something we continue to work on.”
© 2015 Shaw Media