Decision to shut down Midfield Park ‘driven by concern over image;’ Calgary facing civil lawsuit
New court documents were filed by residents of Midfield Mobile Home Park in a civil action against the City of Calgary.
The documents filed on Friday claim the city “deliberately destroyed the equity of the residents’ homes and violated their Charter rights.”
Residents were notified three years ago that they had to vacate the city owned park by the end of September 2017.
Now, there are only a few remaining residents left, including 82-year-old Rudy Prediger, who has lived there for 47 years.
“If this was over in Mount Royal or any other place, even in Renfrew, you wouldn’t get away with what they are doing here,” Prediger said.
The lawyer representing Midfield residents, Mathew Farrell with the Guardian Law Group, says they (residents) were targeted because the city deliberately neglected the infrastructure in the trailer park and then said it had to be shut down because it was neglected.
“That differential treatment is really hurting them or denying them a benefit that everybody else enjoys and that’s unconstitutional,” Farrell said.
The legal argument is that the City of Calgary’s move to close the mobile home park violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“We have a group of people who have been denied access to the proper repair of their basic infrastructure services, something that no other community in the city is subjected to, which results in them losing their homes and then not even being paid fair value for their homes when they are destroyed,” Farrell said. “And you were doing it on the basis that these are people who live in mobile homes.”
The original plan was to relocate Midfield residents to a city owned parcel of land on the east end of the city but that idea was scrapped in 2014. In the end, residents were offered $10,000 plus moving expenses. Farrell says it comes down to the city’s planning vision not including mobile home parks.
“The evidence that we have suggests that the real reason they (the city) didn’t want to do this is because eliminating this mobile home park means one less mobile home park,” Farrell said.
The suit is seeking compensation for both a breach of Charter rights as well as a breach of the Mobile Home Site Tenancies Act. The plantiffs said they are also hoping their notices to move out will be declared invalid.
“The notices could be declared invalid and the city would be sent back to square one where they were on September 15, 2016,” Farrell said.
As for Prediger, he doesn’t care about the compensation. He just wants to stay in his home.
“Leave us alone. Period. I don’t want their damn money. The minute the city starts handing you money you’re giving something up because you’re saying they are right,” Prediger said.
None of the civil lawsuit’s claims have been proven in court.
The case will go before a judge on Nov. 22.
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