Letter to the Editor: Owner of Port Ed trailer park at fault

My name is Paul Lagace and I am a housing advocate, who lives in Kitimat, BC

The following is an open letter to Victoria Beattie, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, Skeena MP Nathan Cullen and Premier Christy Clark.

Editor:

My name is Paul Lagace and I am a housing advocate, who lives in Kitimat, BC. In truth – I guess I don’t know Victoria Beattie as well as I thought I did – as I had no idea that she “lives and owns in Prince Rupert.” However, I do know her through the 79 e-mails that she has sent since me since the spring of 2016. And I also know that she has filed 22 monetary orders, totalling over $165,493.50, against the former residents of her Port Edward trailer park (20 cases are still yet to be heard).

I would like to talk about Victoria Beattie’s statement, that “you [Jennifer Rice and Nathan Cullen] are single-handedly responsible for a failing economy and depopulation of Northwest B.C.”

I know that arbitrator Maddia of the residential tenancy branch, when he allowed Victoria Beattie to close the Port Edward trailer park on Dec. 12, 2014, that the tenants had only been paying pad-rent to Victoria Beattie’s company, Stonecliff Properties Ltd. since Jan. 1, 2014 (presumably when they bought Kurpil’s Trailer Park). In that decision, arbitrator Maddia concluded that, “there is no evidence before that the Landlord does not intend, in good faith, to convert the park to a green space or that the Landlord has a dishonest purpose or ulterior motive.”

I know that Victoria Beattie hired lawyer Michael Gemmiti (who came up with the ‘green  space’ argument), and who states on his website, “Thus, while it is not easy for a landlord to close a MHP that is losing money, there are options for a creative landlord.” I also know that Big Dan’s Move It Services of Prince Rupert, charged Victoria Beattie, who in turn charged the tenants, for $37,194.68, for less than 30 hours of work, to assist North Central Bailiff’s of Prince George, in executing nine ‘Writs of Possession.’

I know that one tenant did establish “a monetary claim of $2,684.50, which is comprised of $2,584.50 [which is equivalent to 12 months’ pad-rent] as compensation for being required to vacate” his trailer (that which he owned), under the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act. I also know that his home is still standing at the trailer park, as this senior has nowhere to move it to, nor has the means to do so, and that as a result he has lost his entire life savings.

Victoria Beattie, I admit and recognize that under the law, you have done no wrong here. This is of course presuming that you indeed, have no ulterior motives for this parcel of land that is known as the former Port Edward trailer park, nor do you have any intentions to redevelop it. However, if redevelopment is in your plans (which I am not saying it is) then I assure you, you will be held accountable for the words that you swore to arbitrator Maddia, under oath.

Victoria Beattie, you stated in your letter that “you [Jennifer Rice and Nathan Cullen] are single-handedly responsible for a failing economy and depopulation of Northwest B.C.” Now – I do know that those 22 folks that you have hearings against have been scattered as a result of your various evictions (which you had the right to evict). I would also reckon that those households represent about 60 folks, and that Port Edward has in-turn lost about 60 of its community members. Again – if this all about ‘green space’ then it is you, Victoria Beattie, who is the one contributing to this green space effect / depopulation of Northwest B.C., not Jennifer Rice and Nathan Cullen (at least in this case). Again – you have been given the right to do so – but, I also believe that one needs to ‘be careful of the stones that you throw.’

I also know that Jennifer Rice and Nathan Cullen’s NDP government, supports MLA Harry Bains calling for changes to provincial legislation that would require landlords to provide evicted tenants with up to $30,000 to cover moving costs if a manufactured home park is being redeveloped (or closed and then later redeveloped?), or buy the homes at market value if they’re impossible to move.

Christy Clark – the question is – will you support this bill when your government returns to the B.C. Legislature in the New Year? … This is their fourth attempt at it … I would like to further point out that the majority of these folks at the former Port Edward trailer park are seniors. And as Mr. Bains has recently stated (speaking of this issue in the Vancouver Sun), “These are our seniors. They built this province and their country. Many of them fought for us,” he said. “They deserve a peaceful retirement.”

Paul Lagace

Kitimat