I started a new segment in the lead-up to the civic election in Calgary to make sure we don’t miss out on any important issues. Already, it is beginning to look like the proposal for a new arena – to build, or not to build – is likely to be the dominant issue, but there is a lot more besides that.
My beef is with the ongoing shabby treatment of the residents of Midfield Park, who face eviction on Sept. 30.
I have referred to these residents as the most disenfranchised citizens of Calgary. That’s because this area has been moved from Ward 9 to Ward 7 in an electoral boundary redraw, and neither of the incumbents (Gian Carlo-Carra nor Druh Farrell) are prepared to take a stand for them.
The city promised – in writing, multiple times – that they wouldn’t close Midfield Park until they had opened a new park at East Hills Estates. They broke that promise in 2014 when they decided to shelve the East Hills proposal, but then told residents not to worry because there would be several new private mobile home parks built by 2017 that they could move to.
Then the city dragged its feet and didn’t approve any of the proposals that developers came forward with – the soonest will be built 18 months from now. Too late to do any good for the residents of Midfield. I’ve spoken to residents who feel broken and betrayed, and many are financially devastated. Remaining residents have been described as holdouts but the truth is the city has given them no options.
LISTEN: Midfield Mobile Home Park residents, Calan Lovstrom and Laine Sloan on trying to move
The city offered $10,000 to move, but there is nowhere to move to. There are no vacancies in any of the Calgary mobile home parks, or they have waiting lists, or they don’t allow double-wides, or homes older than 10 years. Alternatively, the city says it will give residents a $10,000 payout if they bulldoze their home, but if the homeowner has a mortgage they aren’t able to do that either – the bank won’t let them. That’s why they are being
Alternatively, the city says it will give residents a $10,000 payout if they bulldoze their home, but if the homeowner has a mortgage they aren’t able to do that either – the bank won’t let them. That’s why they are being counselled to declare bankruptcy. Once they do, the bank can get paid out on its CMHC insured mortgage and the $10,000 can go to the bankruptcy trustee. Thank heavens the banks won’t be out any money. Meanwhile, the homeowners are left with nothing.
Whether it is the inability to approve the construction of mobile home parks, the inability to come to terms on a new arena, the inability to agree to a long-term lease on the planetarium (resulting in Contemporary Calgary walking away from its plan to turn it into an art gallery), this current council is having a difficult time seeing anything through to the finish line.
Big or small, when it comes to things that aggravate voters, this election has it all.
Eric phoned in to complain about the city not following its own bylaws in parking lots: concrete stall markers are only supposed to be four inches high, but they are routinely built at twice the height, causing thousands of dollars in damage to vehicles’ undercarriages.
LISTEN: Eric Proppe on wheel stops, then callers and texters on other “beefs”
Jason texted to complain about the lack of public washrooms in downtown Calgary, and how he was almost reduced to tears (and embarrassment) after three private retailers refused to let him use their facilities. A simple solution to that would be to open Telus Convention Centre during daytime hours to accommodate the foot traffic along Stephen Avenue Mall.
LISTEN: Peter McCaffrey, director of Research, at the Manning Foundation, on Green Line LRT. Listeners also weigh in on different election issues.
Is there an issue you think should matter in this election? Let me know by calling into the show after 12:00 pm. We’ll take your calls every day leading up to the election. Or you can drop me a line at email@example.com and tell me, what’s your beef?