2017 Calgary mayoral candidates Q&A: What should the city do with the Midfield trailer park?
Global News asked our Calgary viewers and readers to tell us which issues matter most ahead of the municipal election on Oct. 16.
The closure of the Midfield Mobile Home Park was among the top concerns.
We asked all 10 mayoral candidates to answer your questions below, keeping answers to six sentences per issue. Their answers are reprinted here, edited only to meet our Global News editorial standards.
FULL COVERAGE: 2017 Calgary municipal election
What will you do (if anything) for the people of Midfield Park – some of whom are facing homelessness?
Answer from Jason (Jason GoGo) Achtymichuk:
“A promise is a promise! Some of these people got loans based on the city’s promise of relocation and they cannot accept the $10,000 for demolition or moving because the bank owns the mobile homes. The bank is covered by CMHC in the event they declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not an option for some of these people. The promise to relocate must be upheld.”
Answer from Andre Chabot:
“I advocated for the East Hill Estates location and sought to delay the closure of Midfield park until a new facility could be constructed. I also pushed for an accelerated approval of the East Hills area shopping centre so it could support the new mobile home park residents and also increase transit into the area.
Unfortunately, after the 2010 election, newly elected Mayor Nenshi promoted a change in direction to stop the planned construction of East Hills mobile home park. The plan was cancelled by the majority of council and we are in the situation we are in today. It is a horrible situation for all parties involved.
I will continue to encourage developers to build a new mobile home park and work with the current residents to find temporary and permanent solutions for their move.”
Answer from Brent Chisholm:
No response by publication time.
Answer from Emile Gabriel:
“The city has made a promise to those people (written promise), and a promise made is a promise kept. In this regard and in other similar situations, as a leader and a compassionate manager, I am inspired and guided by the words of Mother Teresa, saying that the noblest act of all is helping the poorest of the poor. This is where I start, with the poor and with the helpless, to protect and help.”
Answer from Larry Heather:
“This is a terrible miscarriage of justice and expropriation of people’s largest assets for the mythical density benefits of the MDP. In fact, I believe it is the City at its worst land speculation shell game, in which it gets to obtain cheap and up zone for expensive resale. I would dissolve the Municipal Land Corporation and mandate trailer park zoning in designated areas of the City as an affordable option for housing. It is the City’s overreach that has resulted in the shrinking of the affordable housing stock. They are bent on getting as many people as possible forced into mixed occupancy and public housing.”
Answer from David Lapp:
“What a disaster! Totally unacceptable. These are vulnerable people who should be given the full benefit of their constitutional rights to live where they wish. Now that the irreparable damage has been done, I would advocate that we assist them in getting new free housing and gaining punitive, legal damages from the City — even when I become mayor. This has been a shameful black mark on Calgary’s reputation as a caring city — presided on by the current mayor. This is sickening and has taken us backwards.”
Answer from Naheed Nenshi:
“This is an awful situation that has kept me up many nights over the last seven years. Three years ago I voted against the compensation package offered to Midfield residents as I didn’t think it was fair enough, but council chose to move forward in this manner. The water and sewer infrastructure at Midfield Mobile Home Park is at significant risk of catastrophic failure, making it unsafe for residents to live there. As the pipes are built beneath the mobile home pads, there is no feasible way to fix the problem without removing the homes.
The City is currently working with all of the 20 or so remaining residents (as we have done with the 150 families whom we have assisted in finding new homes) and will continue to ensure all of them have a safe, decent place to live. No one will face homelessness as a result of the closure of Midfield.
Answer from Curtis Olson:
“The City of Calgary and the Calgary Housing Company have failed the residents of Midfield park. As a city, we should be looking towards housing people rather than eliminating housing choices. When the court case resumes on Nov. 22, the outcome should provide a clear direction for moving forward on this issue, but at a minimum, the city should ensure that residents are provided with appropriate compensation and suitable, affordable housing.”
Answer from Bill Smith:
“City hall has an obligation to keep its word. A promise was made to the residents of Midfield park that a solution would be found. They have to do right by these people. It’s hypocritical for city hall to advocate for affordable housing, then treat people like this. A deal is a deal and the city backed out of its deal in 2014 when it cancelled plans to develop a new trailer court at East Hills Estates.”
Answer from Stan (the Man) Waciak:
“Why are they being moved? For someone’s profit.”
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